Well I remember looking at this album cover as a child and thinking that this bald and bearded man just had to be Santa Claus. And well he might be; with that gentle and ever so slightly husky voice, Burl Ives sings familiar and novel Christmas songs with a charm bringing to mind a kindly grandpa singing softly to the toddlers on his knee. His rendition of the classic "Jingle Bells" evokes the pure spirit of the song: care- free abandon and joyful celebration. The unique
"Santa Mouse" will charm the small children, and may have the adults humming the contagious tune as well. The warmth and sincerity of the entire album are particularly evident in Ives' almost fumbled reminiscence of "Oh, What a Lucky Boy Am I", and whether it be nostalgia or the innocence of the recitation, "Happy Birthday, Jesus" still occasionally brings a secret tear to my eye. Where the more formal tracks ( O, Holy Night, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear) show up Ives' less than perfect sining voice, the songs are unfailingly carried by the earnest and gentle manner of this very genuine artist. A very worthwhile addition to the Christmas collection of any family who believes in the simple charm of Christmas.