Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas Music: Bing Crosby

Bing's MERRY CHRISTMAS album, linked above, is my "desert island" Christmas album, along with THE GLORIOUS SOUND OF CHRISTMAS (scroll down for yesterday's post). Even seeing the cover, with Bing smiling in his Santa hat, conjures up happy Christmas memories.

The album is balanced between a half-dozen slower-paced, mostly religious songs (this was the first side of the LP version) and a batch of jauntier songs from "Side 2." Bing is joined on three of the songs by the Andrews Sisters, and my favorite track, "Silver Bells," is a duet with Carole Richards. (Richards dubbed for some non-singing actresses in the '50s, including Cyd Charisse in BRIGADOON and SILK STOCKINGS.)

The two-CD set THE VOICE OF CHRISTMAS contains all of Bing's Christmas recordings for Decca, including the songs from MERRY CHRISTMAS. It's very enjoyable and a must for a Christmas music or Bing enthusiast, but doesn't have quite the same overall effect as the familiar lineup of songs from MERRY CHRISTMAS.

The songs on CHRISTMAS WITH BING CROSBY have been released under other album titles -- it's also known as BING CROSBY'S CHRISTMAS CLASSICS -- but whatever the title, it's a worthwhile purchase. My favorite track is "Do You Hear What I Hear?" which gets a lot of radio play at this time of year. My children are partial to the somewhat silly "Christmas Dinner Country Style" which sounds like it might possibly have been a skit in one of Crosby's Christmas shows.


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