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Format: Audio CD|Change
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This compilation is dominated on the first CD by the Four Aces, a vocal group who occupy the first 17 tracks, and on the second CD by the Three Suns, an instrumental group who occupy the first 18 tracks. /both groups were brilliant at what they did, mostly but not entirely sticking to the songs that we now regard as Christmas classics. Away from Christmas music, the Four Aces topped The First US Top 100 November 12th 1955, being #1 at the time with their version of Love is a many-splendoured thing. I enjoy listening to the Christmas music by the Four Aces and the Three Tuns, but the remainder of each CD has plenty of great music too.

The first CD continues with two tracks each by Fran Allison, Eddy Howard, Mindy Carson and Guy Lombardo with Kenny Gardner, all of them worth a listen. I already owned music by Mindy Carson and Guy Lombardo, and was not surprised at the high standard they set here. I knew nothing about Fran Allison or Eddy Howard, but I like what's here, particularly Dearest Santa (Eddy Howard), which sounds like it ought to be a country song but it isn't. It's one of those tear-jerkers about a child in poor circumstances; in this case he has no family but would like one to spend Christmas with.

The first CD ends with seven tracks by either or both of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, which are well up to the standard I expect from this duo, but these tracksre NOT the ones featured on their Christmas Is Always. If you have that album, you may want this album too, even if only for their tracks here.

After the Three Suns have finished on the second CD, we are treated to two tracks by Dorothy Olson, one by the Merrill Staton Choir and two each by Johnny Desmond and Jill Corey. Jill's first track (The first Christmas gift) may be the pick of them, but it's hard to choose because they are all so good. Apart from the final track, the remainder of the second CD is occupied by Freddie Martin and his Orchestra, usually with a vocalist. I don't remember hearing his music before, but it sounds great.

Sadly, the final track is a huge disappointment - not enough to knock a star off the rating as there are 66 great tracks here and it's easy to skip this one. Season's greetings is advertizing, plain and simple, performed by Margaret Whiting and an uncredired man, who talk and play clips (but not long enough to enjoy). Jasmine say it has been in the vaults unheard for sixty years. It should have stayed there. I love Margaret Whiting'smusic, have reviewed some of it and will review more, which I expect to be of her normal excellent quality. This track isn't excellent - quite the opposite.

Buy this compilation for the first 66 excellent Christmas recordings amd forget the last track.
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on 13 February 2014
While I did understand when buying it that this CD is more of a collection of albums than a compilation, I was still a bit disappointed with the quality of some of the songs. The title of this CD is disillusioning: 'Rare Holiday Gems' seems to suggest that only the best songs from the respective rare holiday albums were included, but no process of elimination seems to have occurred. It is true that there certainly are a few 'gems' on this CD, but there is also a high number of, in my opinion, only average songs. A great purchase if you want these specific, rare full albums, but for someone looking for just a nice Christmas CD, this might not be the one for you.
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on 11 January 2014
A great selection of christmas gems and hits- Its very nostalgic and wonderful to hear all these tunes. Some Ive not heard, but was a fanastic album.
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