I love Christmas music, often pulling it out to listen to mid-year. And you'll never catch me listening to anything but Christmas music from Thanksgiving to Christmas. That's why I'm a little ashamed to admit to only just now getting this classic collection.
What I've been missing all these years is a truly wonderful CD. Bing has a rich, strong voice that is pleasing to listen to. The arrangements feel dated, but that's part of the charm. It feels like an old friend from the very first listen.
My only real complaint (and a minor one at that) is the pacing of the album. The first six tracks are all slower numbers. They do include a great version of "Silent Night," and Bing's classic recording of "White Christmas," so I do enjoy listening to them. Still, by "I'll be Home for Christmas," I'm ready for an upbeat track.
Fortunately, the second half doesn't disappoint in that regard. "Jingle Bells" and "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," both sung with the Andrews Sisters, kick things up a notch or two. Both are fairly familiar arrangements with just enough newness to set them apart from the other versions you already have.
The CD ends with the songs I was unfamiliar with. "Christmas in Killarney" is a fanciful description of the holiday in Ireland, while "Mele Kalikimaka" wishes us a Merry Christmas from Hawaii. Both songs sound a little like the land they represent and are a fun way to end the CD.
The recordings here are old, as shown by the occasional scratchy background noise, especially noticeable on "Adeste Fideles." But it doesn't affect my enjoyment one bit. My only regret is not getting this great CD sooner.