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5.0 out of 5 stars Oldies from the fifties with a few from the forties, 26 Nov 2011
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: It's Christmas: The Absolutely Essential 3CD Collection (Audio CD)
This mainly easy listening triple CD of Christmas music features 60 tracks that contain very few surprises to anybody who is familiar with the music of the era. Indeed, because these songs have stood the test of time so well, most will be familiar to people who don't normally listen to such old music. I had most of the tracks already somewhere in my collection already, but I still love this collection as it brings so many tracks from the era together in one convenient package.

While the music is mainly easy listening, it contains some other musical styles to add diversity, though some of these tracks could be classed as easy listening. Rock'n'roll is represented by Bobby Helms (Jingle bell rock), two songs of the three songs here by Brenda Lee (Rocking around the Christmas tree, I`m gonna lasso Santa Claus) and Chuck Berry (Run Rudolph run). Country is represented by Eddy Arnold (Will Santa Claus come to Shanty town?), Ernest Tubb (Blue Christmas), Gene Autry (Rudolph the red nosed reindeer) and Hank Snow (Reindeer boogie).

Jazz is represented by Ella Fitzgerald (Santa Claus got stuck in my chimney), Lionel Hampton with Sammy Parker (Boogie-woogie Santa Claus), Louis Armstrong (Cool Yule, Zat you Santa Claus), Woody Herman (Let it snow let it snow let it snow), Louis Jordan (May every day be Christmas). Children's music is represented by the third Brenda Lee song (Christy Christmas) and the Chipmunks (Chipmunk song - Christmas don't be late). Elvis Presley is represented by a blues song (Santa Claus is back in town) and a gospel song (I believe), but for songs that are more typical of his Christmas music, look elsewhere; I recommend Christmas Peace.

Elsewhere, easy listening abounds with Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte, Peggy Lee, Kay Starr, Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Perry Como and Dean Martin all represented, some of them two or three times. The very few surprises I mentioned at the beginning of the review include the two Frankie Laine tracks and Glenn Miller's Cradle song, which I may have heard before but I don't remember hearing them. Another surprise is the absence of any solo tracks by the original queens of Christmas music, the Andrews sisters, but they join forces here with Bing Crosby, the original king of Christmas music on two of the six Christmas duets they recorded together (The toys gave a party for Poppa Santa Claus, Merry Kalikimaka), though the sisters are only co-credited here on one of the tracks. Bing is represented by two solo tracks including White Christmas.

So this may be a fairly predictable compilation in some ways, but it is no less enjoyable for that. As a budget compilation, it offers excellent value to anybody who enjoys Christmas music of the mid-20th century.
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