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Customer Review

In chronological order, this album comprises the eight Christmas songs that Elvis recorded in 1957, the one he recorded in 1966 and eleven tracks that he recorded in 1971. I'm not absolutely sure if this is every Christmas song that Elvis ever recorded, but if there was much missing I'd know about it. The eight 1957 tracks were made into a twelve-track album by the addition of four gospel songs recorded at around the same time but which aren`t included here; while those tracks wouldn't be out of place on a Christmas album, they are easily obtained elsewhere, especially on compilations of Elvis' gospel music. Indeed, when this particular Christmas compilation was first released, I remember it being available as part of a double album, with the other part being a compilation of Elvis' gospel songs. I didn't buy it then because I already had a double CD of Elvis' gospel music and had the 1957 and 1966 tracks, together with one of the 1971 tracks, elsewhere. However, I eventually bought this compilation, some time after it appeared as a single CD, to get the other ten tracks.

The 1957 tracks mainly comprised Christmas classics, though not everybody appreciated Elvis' interpretation of some of them. If those critics were shocked then, they got an even bigger shock when they heard the Phil Spector Christmas album six years later. At this distance in time, those 1957 recordings don't sound all that radical but they still sound distinctive. At least one original song (Santa Claus is back in town) was included, while another (Santa bring my baby back to me) sounds as if it could have been an original, but I don't think it is. I believe the solitary 1966 track (If every day was like Christmas) is also original.

The 1971 tracks offer a more adventurous selection, with just four well-worn classics (O come all ye faithful, First Noel, Winter wonderland, Silver bells), plus Merry Christmas baby (a classic, but not so well-worn) and a lot of tracks that may be original, but are in any case rarely recorded by other singers (On a snowy Christmas night, Wonderful world of Christmas, It won't seem like Christmas without you, I'll be home on Christmas Day, If I get home on Christmas Day, Holly leaves and Christmas trees). Some of the obscure songs are brilliant and deserve to be better known.

This is a great Christmas album that has plenty of familiar classic songs (about half the songs here overall) but also a fair number of obscurities, all delivered superbly by Elvis Presley.
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