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Phil Spector does a "Wall of Sound" Christmas album,
By A Customer
This review is from: A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (Audio CD)
I was never enamored with the results when Phil Spector tried the "Wall of Sound" approach with the Beatles on "Let It Be," but that failure was the exception that proves the rule. In 1963 Spector actually decided to use his approach to produce one of the great Christmas albums of all time. The goal was to have a holiday album that would stack up against both other Christmas albums and the pop albums produced by his quartet of artists: Darlene Love, the Ronettes, the Crystals, and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans. The artists split up the first dozen tracks on "A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector," with everybody joining together for "Silent Night" as the album's grand finale.
Darlene Love was never really a success as a solo artist, although she did the lead vocals on "She's a Rebel." But she gets to make or break this album by singing the opening track, "White Christmas," and making it clear the song can work if not being crooned by Der Bingle. "Marshmallow World" is fun but a trifle, while her "Winter Wonderland" may be the best track on the album, with "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" a soulful plea not to be separated for the holidays. No wonder Love got the most tracks on the album. The Ronettes were sisters Veronica (Ronnie) and Estelle Bennett and their cousin Nedra Talley rock a bit more than usual with their version of "Frosty the Snowman" and keep the spirit going with "Sleigh Ride" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus."
The change of pace offering on the album would definitely be Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans doing "The Bells of St. Mary," although "Here Comes Santa Claus" is certainly more in keeping with the rest of the record. This was Spector's studio group and compared to the rest of the album you can understand why they only got two tracks. The best effort by the Crystals is obviously "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," which surely was the model for the better known rocking version by the Boss. Their version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" does not work nearly as well (it is one of those songs where you would swear it is really one of Spector's Top 10 hits with different words, which simply shows the producer was creating the effect he wanted here). "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" is in the same mode, but there is a sense in which the "Wall of Sound" is just effective.
Spector comes out to wish everybody the very merriest of Christmases and happiest of New Years for "Silent Night," which is a reminder of when music groups used to talk directly to their fans on records. That seems a bit strange now, but what stands out more is how the simple musical arrangement at the end is such a complete change of pace from the rest of the album, so that "A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector" ends on a much quieter note. But up to that point this is certainly one of the high energy Christmas albums of all time and if you need a burst of musical energy to get you through decorating, cooking, or whatever, this one fits the bill.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Dec 2009, 20:03:07 GMT
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Dec 2011, 20:58:28 GMT
Please... Can we stick to discussing the MUSIC? That's what this site is for - Reviewing products, and commenting on those reviews, keeping on-topic if at all possible. If you want to talk about Phil Spector's crimes, please find another site to do that.
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