Legacy Recordings' NEW Christmas Vinyl LPs 2020!
Legacy Recordings rings in Yuletide 2020 with BRAND NEW 12" Vinyl Pressings of 10 Classic Holiday Music Collections, available Friday, October 2nd, 2020.
Their Seasonal Album Series includes the very first wide release of Elvis Presley's The Classic Christmas Album Compilation and first vinyl releases also of Andy Williams' Personal Christmas Collection, Gene Autry's Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and a few other Christmas Favorites too!
The Legacy 2020 Christmas Classic 12" Vinyl Album series also this year brings us new vinyl editions of Alabama's Christmas, Dean Martin's The Christmas Album (on red vinyl), Johnny Mathis' Merry Christmas, Kenny G's Miracles: A Holiday Album, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton's Once Upon A Christmas, Perry Como's Season's Greetings, and Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You.
As our dear friends at Sony Legacy Recordings have once more kindly sent us ALL of these quite wondrous new 12" Vinyl Christmas Albums for review, as always, we shall review them all accordingly.
Up first is Elvis Presley - The Classic Christmas (RCA/Legacy, 2020).
A freshly assembled 18 song Elvis holiday collection, Elvis Presley's The Classic Christmas Album brings together essential yuletide performances from Elvis' Christmas Album (1957) and Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971) alongside Presley's 1966 single, 'If Every Day Was Like Christmas' (also on the 1970 RCA/Camden reissue of Elvis' Christmas Album).
1. 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
2. 'Blue Christmas' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
3. 'Winter Wonderland' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
4. 'The First Noel' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
5. 'The Wonderful World of Christmas' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
6. 'Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
7. 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
8. 'Merry Christmas Baby' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
1. 'I'll Be Home On Christmas Day' (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas)
2. 'If Every Day Was Like Christmas' (Single, 1966; Elvis' Christmas Album, 1970 RCA/Camden)
3. 'White Christmas' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
4. 'Silent Night' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
5. 'Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
6. 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
7. 'Santa Claus Is Back In Town' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
8. 'Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)' (Elvis' Christmas Album)
There's a nice mixture of modern day songs and traditional holiday music here on this new collection. Tracks such as 'Santa Claus Is Back In Town' have a terrific early rock and roll beat that actually also manages to give the song a mellow, relaxed, yet joyful mood bounce to it from Elvis, and along with his backup chorus perfectly harmonizing, well, this Christmas is audibly going to be a great one in this household now!
Elvis' version of 'White Christmas' is one of the very best I've ever heard and is matched by other cuts such as 'Blue Christmas' and Silent Night,' of course. 'I'll Be Home for on Christmas' is one of my all-time favorite holiday songs (in general), and Elvis handles these lyrics like the pro he was and always will be!
Of course, Elvis shines on the traditional numbers here, too. 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' is quite tender and moving, and one where Elvis never lets go of a single superfluous note. Elvis fans should consider this a must-have for their collections as this makes an outstanding addition to anyone's holiday music collection.
Elvis' Christmas Album topped the Billboard 200 for four weeks in 1957 and 1958 and remained a constant chart fixture for years, selling more than three million copies in its original configuration.
A reissue on RCA's Camden label was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America, becoming Elvis' single bestselling album and the bestselling holiday album of all time.
Having sold more than one billion records worldwide, Elvis Presley is the top-selling solo artist of all time. His previous Christmas releases have cumulatively sold more than 22 million copies in the United States alone.
Next we have Alabama - Christmas (RCA Nashville, 1985).
One of country music's biggest acts of the 1980s, Alabama made their first foray into Christmas music with a set of 10 original songs combining the spirit of the season with the crowd-pleasing sound that made them a staple on the Southern music scene.
Available now on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1985, Alabama's Christmas includes the hit single 'Christmas In Dixie,' the beautiful ballad 'Tennessee Christmas' and the jolly 'Thistlehair The Christmas Bear.'
1. 'Santa Claus (I Still Believe In You)'
2. 'Joseph and Mary's Boy'
3. 'Happy Holidays'
4. 'Christmas Memories'
5. 'Tonight Is Christmas'
1. 'Thistlehair The Christmas Bear'
2. 'Tennessee Christmas'
3. 'A Candle in the Window'
4. 'Homecoming Christmas'
5. 'Christmas in Dixie'
In truth, Alabama's music (in general) takes me back many years each time I listen to them and this quite wondrous vinyl album, chock full of beautiful Christmas tracks, means my nostalgia moments are now tinged with snow and pine trees!
For many of us here in the South, 'Christmas in Dixie' is the perfect embodiment of everything we love about the holiday. For it signals the season is really here.
'Tennessee Christmas' is another. They paint the picture of people gathering together to share love and laughter. Even if you’re not in Tennessee or in the South, you can be in your heart when you listen to Alabama sing.
I can also recall that a Hallmark movie special once used the stand out song here (for me, personally) 'Christmas Memories,' and rightly so, as it is a rich and joyous song to behold, that's for sure.
That said, there are many others on here that will quickly become your own persona favorites, and maybe even bring back memories of your own, such as 'Santa Claus (I Still Believe In You),' 'Homecoming Christmas,' and the uber cute 'Thistlehair The Christmas Bear' (complete with their prerequisite smooth harmonies and emotional feelings, one and all.
In closing, there's admittedly nothing fancy here in the vocals or the arrangements, but there is plenty of love and warmth and all of the things that those who celebrate the holiday want Christmas to be, wherever you are.
This is perfect music for sitting by the fire, sipping eggnog or wrapping presents by the light of the tree.
Then we get Andy Williams - Personal Christmas Collection (Columbia/Legacy, 1994).
A holiday gift to fans from one of the season's most popular performers, Andy Williams' Personal Christmas Collection showcases the crooner's heartfelt interpretations of perennial favorites, drawn from three seasonal collections - The Andy Williams Christmas Album (1963), Merry Christmas (1965) and Christmas Present (1974) - released during Williams' phenomenal run on Columbia Records.
1. 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year'
2. 'My Favorite Things'
3. 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)'
4. 'The Bells Of St. Mary's'
5. 'Christmas Present'
6. 'Winter Wonderland'
7. 'The First Noël '
8. 'O Come All Ye Faithful'
1. 'Sleigh Ride'
2. 'Silver Bells'
3. 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing'
4. 'Christmas Bells'
5. 'Silent Night'
6. 'White Christmas'
7. 'Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season [Medley]'
Somehow, without the fatherly image of Bing Crosby, or the svelte croon of Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett, or even the reverent innocence of Perry Como, Andy Williams managed to make a holiday institution!
This collection of Christmas songs is full of standards normally identified with other artists, but armed with an average tenor and lots of exuberance, Andy Williams made them his own.
Indeed, his 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year' is the most exhilarating version of the song there is, and even his 'White Christmas' and 'O Holy Night' are more than just passable.
If you remember The Andy Williams Show and his music you will love this album of Christmas favorites for it brings back wonderful memories of a handsome Williams and Christmas traditions when it was all about family togetherness and appreciation of the simpleness of that era of time.
Simply put, this is not only Williams's best Christmas collection, this is one that should be in every holiday music collection!
Released for the first time on vinyl, Personal Christmas Collection features standards and classics including 'Happy Holidays/The Holiday Season,' 'My Favorite Things' and 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,' Andy's signature holiday classic and perennial Top 10 Christmas radio favorite since 1963.
Williams' definitive recording of the song debuted at #8 on Billboard's newly-christened Holiday 100 in 2011, reappearing on the chart every year since.
In December 2016, Andy's original version began a series of annual chart runs on the Hot 100, breaking into the Top 10 in December 2018. In January 2020, 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year' hit #7, becoming Andy Williams' highest charting hit in the 21st century.
Next up is Dean Martin - The Dean Martin Christmas Album (Reprise, 1966).
Dean Martin was so cool, he didn't need to listen to the music he made for pleasure — with one exception, according to his son Ricci: 1966's The Dean Martin Christmas Album.
The fourth of five albums Dean released that year (and his only holiday album recorded for friend Frank Sinatra's Reprise label), the collection is a sophisticated Christmas party with Dean Martin as host and entertainer delivering the sounds of the season - from 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' and 'Marshmallow World' to 'Silver Bells' and 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' - with his inimitable vocal flair.
1. 'White Christmas'
2. 'Jingle Bells'
3. 'I'll Be Home for Christmas'
4. 'Blue Christmas'
5. 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!'
1. 'A Marshmallow World'
2. 'Silver Bells'
3. 'Winter Wonderland'
4. 'The Things We Did Last Summer'
5. 'Silent Night'
As I'm sure we are all aware of now (at least, those of us at a certain age), you don't know what you've got until it's gone. That's Dean Martin. Better known as one of the Rat Pack, Dean hit his mark with acting and then with singing, and that wonderful voice of his.
Mood music for romance, Dean turned his voice on the ever popular and mandatory Christmas album. The one song from this album that always haunted me, was 'Marshmallow World' where Dean's warm pipes could thaw the coldest heart during the coldest season of the year!
Dean's schtick was a romantic lovable lush, one who was in complete control. That kind of ease painted many of his songs and even here he dives in, head first, to embrace himself with the ambiance of Christmas for other stand out cuts such as bountiful bounce of 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow,' and timeless classics (done in his own way, of course) such as both 'Silver Bells' and 'Winter Wonderland.'
I think we can all agree that Dean Martin left us too soon, but here on this Christmas album, he filled it chock full with holiday favorites, orchestrated and sung lovingly for the season!
Now, for the first time in nearly 50 years, The Dean Martin Christmas Album is back, on 12" RED vinyl, to keep your holiday spirits bright, Dino style.
Then we are given Gene Autry - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Other Christmas Classics (Columbia/Legacy, 2003).
Loved as "The Singing Cowboy," star of screen and radio since the early 1930s, crooner/songwriter/musician/actor/rodeo performer Gene Autry changed the sound of popular Christmas music twice during his incredible career: once in 1947 with his original composition 'Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane),' and again two years later for his chart-topping rendition of 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.'
1. 'Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)'
2. 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'
3. 'He's a Chubby Little Fellow'
4. 'Santa, Santa, Santa'
5. 'If It Doesn't Snow On Christmas Day'
6. 'When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter'
7. 'Frosty the Snowman'
8. 'The Night Before Christmas Song'
1. 'The Night Before Christmas (In Texas, That Is)'
2. 'Where Did My Snowman Go?'
3. 'I Wish My Mom Would Marry Santa Claus'
4. 'Sleigh Bells'
5. 'Round, Round the Christmas Tree'
6. 'Merry Christmas Waltz'
7. 'Everyone's a Child at Christmas'
8. 'You Can See Old Santa Claus (When You Find Him In Your Heart)'
9. 'Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town'
10. 'Up On The House Top (Ho Ho Ho)'
Simply put, and without a shadow of a doubt, Gene Autry's Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Other Christmas Classics is one of the most sweetest Christmas albums there has ever been!
These songs were recorded in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and include some songs that I absolutely guarantee you have never heard before, such as the Autry originals 'He's a Chubby Little Fellow' and 'I Wish My Mom Would Marry Santa Claus.'
Oh, and there's also a duet with Rosemary Clooney on 'The Night Before Christmas (In Texas, That Is).' For my money, Gene Autry was before my time, but clearly he was a fine Cowboy entertainer for the TV and music masses. All these Christmas-themed songs are themselves oh-so sweet and innocent, and more importantly, fun for kids of all ages.
Get this album and warm your hearts with songs of yesteryear.
Now, for the first time on vinyl, this collection offers 18 original holiday classics, including 'Up On The House Top,' 'Frosty The Snowman,' and many more!
Next up is Johnny Mathis - Merry Christmas (Columbia, 1958).
The sound of Christmas is never complete without the incomparable voice of Johnny Mathis. Originally released in 1958, Merry Christmas paired secular holiday music with some of the most beloved carols of the season interpreted by Johnny Mathis with the rich accompaniment of Percy Faith and His Orchestra.
1. 'Winter Wonderland'
2. 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)'
3. 'Sleigh Ride'
4. 'Blue Christmas'
5. 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' (with Percy Faith & His Orchestra)
6. 'White Christmas' (with Percy Faith & His Orchestra)
1. 'O Holy Night' (with Percy Faith & His Orchestra)
2. 'What Child Is This?' (with Percy Faith & His Orchestra)
3. 'The First Noel'
4. 'Silver Bells'
5. 'It Came Upon the Midnight Clear'
6. 'Silent Night, Holy Night' (with Percy Faith & His Orchestra)
For the record, all pun intended, I have always loved this Johnny Mathis Christmas Album and even put it quite close to being on the best of all-time!
Indeed, I was quite captivated by it upon its original release and over the years it has been a standard for everyone in my family come the Holidays.
Couple this with Nat Cole's Christmas Album, Bing Crosby, and a few others, and you have an old-fashioned Americana fireside Christmas audio treat for all to enjoy.
Mathis's lovely take on these Holiday classics include standout versions of 'Blue Christmas,' 'Sleigh Ride', and a quite heart-rendering 'O Holy Night' (with Percy Faith & His Orchestra).
In closing, if you're a collector of classic Christmas albums, this is a must have from the golden age of the late '50s.
The album showcases heartfelt performances of 'I'll Be Home For Christmas,' 'The First Noel,' 'O Holy Night' and, of course, Johnny's definitive take on 'Sleigh Ride.'
Next up is Kenny G - Miracles: The Holiday Album (Arista, 1994).
One of the best-selling instrumental artists of all time, Kenny G made holiday spirits bright with his first collection of Christmas songs, 1994's Miracles: The Holiday Album.
Now, finally widely available on vinyl for the first time, these unforgettable versions of 'Winter Wonderland,' 'Greensleeves,' 'Little Drummer Boy' and more spotlight Kenny G's signature contemporary smooth sax styling, which continue to dazzle audiences new and old every Christmas season.
1. 'Winter Wonderland'
2. 'White Christmas'
3. 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'
4. 'Silent Night'
2. 'Little Drummer Boy'
3. 'The Chanukah Song'
4. 'Silver Bells'
5. 'Away In A Manger'
6. 'Brahms Lullaby'
This it yet another album that truly means it’s Christmas time every time I hear it! It has been played in my family’s home for at least 25 years or more and it's most definitely one of the all time great instrumental holiday albums ever released, that's for darn sure!
The clarity of his music is something to be reckoned with and with its lovely blend of contemporary and classic Christmas songs, Miracles will ensure you and yours have an audiolicious Holiday period this Christmas!
So, if you're looking for something festive, but sophisticated, you won't be any more happier then when you purchase this album. It's perfect as background for parties, tree trimming, relaxing on the sofa with a drink in front of a fire, and everything else associated with the festive Holiday period.
Then comes Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton - Once Upon a Christmas (RCA, 1984).
Two of the undisputed icons of country music, Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton joined forces in 1984 for Once Upon a Christmas, an album sparkling with holiday magic that Billboard saw "...emerging as a seasonal blockbuster."
The record features striking originals like 'The Greatest Gift Of All,' 'A Christmas To Remember' and 'I Believe In Santa Claus,' plus classic Christmas music from 'White Christmas' to 'Silent Night.'
1. 'I Believe In Santa Claus'
2. 'Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride'
3. 'With Bells On'
4. 'Christmas Without You'
5. 'White Christmas'
1. 'A Christmas to Remember'
2. 'Hard Candy Christmas'
3. 'The Greatest Gift of All'
4. 'Once Upon a Christmas'
The excellent 'I Believe In Santa Claus' kicks things off nicely, and is chock full of a very bouncy, jolly and harmonious vibe to put you instantly in the Christmas spirit mood!
The medley of both classics 'Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride' is great too, and carries you on to 'With Bells On', which is another real foot-tapper that you can't help singing along to!
'Christmas Without You' is next up, a bit of a tear-jerker this, without being a ballad, per say, it still has that effect on your soul and the first side rounds out with the bouncy pop song, 'Christmas To Remember.'
The second side only features four tracks, but the beautiful 'A Christmas to Remember' bleeds nicely into Dolly's 'Hard Candy Christmas', before my favorite track here, the slow-paced 'The Greatest Gift of All' is brought forth (with the album closing on the tinglingly perfect 'Once Upon a Christmas')
As noted, and as a bonus for fans, Once Upon a Christmas includes Dolly's 1982 Top 10 Country hit single, 'Hard Candy Christmas,' a song written by Carol Hall for the musical smash movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
We next get Perry Como - Season's Greetings From Perry Como (RCA Victor, 1959).
Originally released in 1959, Season's Greetings from Perry Como was Perry's first major full-length album of Christmas music, a warm and cozy evocation of home and hearth at yuletide.
Mr. C pours the holiday spirit into his relaxed and comfortable renditions of 'Winter Wonderland,' 'White Christmas,' 'The Christmas Song,' 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,' 'O Holy Night' and other Christmas tunes including a re-recording of his own 1954 hit, '(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays' and an album-closing song-suite telling the story of the first Christmas.
1. '(There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays'
2. 'Winter Wonderland'
3. 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'
4. 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)'
5. 'Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town'
6. 'White Christmas'
1. 'Here We Come A-Caroling; We Wish You A Merry Christmas'
2. 'God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'
3. 'O Holy Night (Cantique De Noël)'
4. 'The Story Of The First Christmas'
(O Little Town Of Bethlehem; Come, Come, Come To The Manger;
We Three Kings Of Orient Are; Silent Night)'
Season's Greetings from Perry Como, originally released in 1959, was Perry Como's sixth RCA Victor 12-inch long-play album and the fourth recorded in stereophonic sound, as well as his first major full-length Christmas album.
They don’t make ‘em like that anymore. I can’t help but think of that old adage whenever I think of Perry Como. The singer was one in a line of great crooners, many of them Italian-Americans. Frank Sinatra, dean of them all and forever the Chairman of the Board, was well-known for his swagger.
Perry Como, though, is perhaps best-known for his quiet gentility. I’ve often thought that Como is less well-known to young people today than many of his contemporaries because of the sheer lack of irony in his music.
Yet as the recordings on this wonderful new vinyl album demonstrate, his technique was timeless, and he respected the song above all else, which explains why he popularized so many Christmas songs still covered today.
Indeed, this Holiday album is warm and relaxed, featuring lush renditions of 'Winter Wonderland,' 'The Christmas Song',' 'O Holy Night' and seven other Christmas tunes, and Como is accompanied on the tracks by Mitchell Ayres' orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers.
Perry is accompanied on the album by Mitchell Ayres' orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers and this is the first vinyl pressing of Season's Greetings From Perry Como in more than 35 years.
Lastly we get the fantastic Various Artists - A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (Philles, 1963).
The album that set the standard for contemporary Christmas music, Phil Spector's holiday masterpiece, A Christmas Gift For You is an album for all seasons, an essential cornerstone of pop music history.
Producer Phil Spector went into the studio with artists including The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans to perform definitive and transformative versions of holiday classics like 'Sleigh Ride,' 'Frosty The Snowman' and 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' in addition to the original version of 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).'
1. 'White Christmas' - Darlene Love
2. 'Frosty The Snowman' - The Ronettes
3. 'The Bells Of St Mary’s' - Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans
4. 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' - The Crystals
5. 'Sleigh Ride' - The Ronettes
6. 'Marshmallow World' - Darlene Love
1. 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' - The Ronettes
2. 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer' - The Crystals
3. 'Winter Wonderland' - Darlene Love
4. 'Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers' - The Crystals
5. 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' - Darlene Love
6. 'Here Comes Santa Claus' - Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans
7. 'Silent Night' - Phil Spector and Artists
Telling it like it is, Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift for You is a compilation of arguably some of the best studio sessions in music history!
Recorded over just a few weeks in 1963 in Los Angeles, the album had the misfortune of being released on the very same day that Oswald assassinated JFK.
It was then re-released in the early '70s and started to garner the attention it deserved. Furthermore, Rolling Stone magazine recently ranked it as the 142nd greatest album of all-time regardless of genre.
This features the great Darlene Love at her very best back in the day and thus, on this exciting 1963 album, producer Spector and his band of soultown singers laid down an amazing number of some of the most famous, and rockin' Christmas songs of all time.
He has some great artists on here, including the Crystals, Bobby Sox and the Blue Jeans, Ronettes, Love, and they still sound so good, that it's hard to believe these tracks are almost the same age as me now!
These songs and their high-energy sparkling arrangements capture a special time in American pop music. Indeed, it was the last year before the Beatles broke over the world and changed things dramatically!
The famous 'Wall of Sound' is extraordinary and fits a 1960s record perfectly, it still holds up and dwarfs contemporary Christmas music.
With every track recorded, mastered and produced in Spector's revolutionary "Wall of Sound" production at its peak, this 12" vinyl edition A Christmas Gift For You has been pressed in its historic original mono mix, the perfect Christmas present for the vinyl music lovers in your life.