various artists,
The Merriest Christmas Album
(Dynamic, 2005)

Christmas today is a multimedia experience, with holiday songs constantly available in infinite variety through CD libraries, webcasts, iPods and the broad range of the FM dial, with many stations playing nothing but carols for the entire month of December. When I was a kid it was a different story. With the exception of a few scratchy LPs in my parents' collection, we relied mostly on a few local AM radio stations for musical Christmas fix. And generally, that was enough -- particularly when considering that we, in those days, were never hit with a barrage of cheesy novelty songs.

The Merriest Christmas Album, a three-disc collection released in 2005, takes me right back to those days. These are the classics, the familiar Christmas carols as sung by the artists we knew back then. There are 75 tracks, and you'll get the idea if I list a few:

"Home for the Holidays," Perry Como; "Count Your Blessings," Rosemary Clooney; "White Christmas," Bing Crosby; "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting; "Here Comes Santa Claus," Doris Day; "Adeste Fidelis," Mario Lanza; "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," Dean Martin; "Ring Those Christmas Bells," Peggy Lee; "The Christmas Song," Nat King Cole; "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem," Frank Sinatra; "Santa Baby," Eartha Kitt; "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," Spike Jones; "Christmas Day," Eddie Fisher; "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," Judy Garland; "Merry Christmas Polka," Andrews Sisters; "Christmas Cards," Petula Clark; "Swinging Them Jingle Bells," Fats Waller; and so much more.

What more can I say? This album brings back so many memories of Christmas with the songs and the singers who made them memorable.

by Tom Knapp
23 December 2006

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