MERRY CHRISTMAS - Bing Crosby
TRACK LISTING: Silent Night, Adeste Fideles, White Christmas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Faith of Our Fathers, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Silver Bells, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Christmas in Killarney, Mele Kalikimaka
IMPRESSIONS: Maybe the number one venerable Christmas warhorse, this collection of Bing Crosby's Christmas 78's probably signifies Christmas more than any other. Bing stumbles the most with his overly dour and deadly heavy version of "Faith of Our Fathers"; however his equally serious renditions of "Silent Night" and "Adeste Fideles" come across with a great deal of warmth. Bing is more at home with the lighter material like "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and his pairings with the Andrews Sisters are so classic that Barry Manilow did a note for note recreation of "Jingle Bells" with girl group Expose and Frank Sinatra did a similar "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" with Cyndi Lauper. The "ethnic" Christmas novelty songs "Christmas In Killarney" and "Mele Kalikimaka" are both great fun as well. And all this, of course, is wrapped around the biggest selling Christmas single of all time; even though this version is NOT Bing's original recording it IS the better one. Bing's Christmas album is also the perfect soundtrack to play while you're giving your children a Christmas beating.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Silent Night, Adeste Fideles, White Christmas, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Jingle Bells, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Silver Bells, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Christmas In Killarney, Mele Kalikimaka
GUEST ARTISTS: The Andrews Sisters (vocals on "Jingle Bells", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Mele Kalikimaka"), Carol Richards (vocals on "Silver Bells"), The Ken Darby Singers (vocals on "Silent Night"), The John Scott Trotter Orchestra (on "Silent Night", "Faith of Our Fathers" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas")
FACT SHEET: The original version of Bing Crosby's "MERRY CHRISTMAS" album was released by Decca Records in 1945; it was a collection of individual 78 rpm records collected together in a sleeved album. In 1949, after the introduction of the LP, Decca released "MERRY CHRISTMAS" as a 10 inch LP containing 8 songs. In 1950, the album was then released as a 45 rpm box set. Finally, the complete album as we now know it was released as a proper 12 inch LP in 1955 and the current cover featuring Bing in his Santa cap. In 1986, the album was issued on compact disc by MCA Records (Decca's parent company) and in 1992 Universal Music Group (MCA's successor) changed the name of the album to "WHITE CHRISTMAS" and that is the version available today. The PROPER title for the album though is "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and no Johnny-come-lately record label is going to change that in my mind; especially since the current version has much worse sound quality than the earlier 80s MCA cd; this probably owes to the fact that the original 1940s acetates and glass masters and the 1950s tapes were probably destroyed in the 2008 fire on the Universal Studios lot. "Adeste Fideles", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Faith of Our Fathers" were recorded on June 8, 1942. "Jingle Bells" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" were recorded on September 29, 1943. "I'll Be Home For Christmas" was recorded October 1, 1943. "Silent Night" and "White Christmas" were recorded March 19, 1947. "Mele Kalikimaka" was recorded September 7, 1950 and "Silver Bells" was recorded September 8, 1950. "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" and "Christmas in Killarney" were recorded on October 1, 1951.