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Chicago Ultimate Christmas Collection


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Audio CD, October 22, 2012
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$99.99 $29.95

Editorial Reviews

Chicago are combining two of their most beloved Christmas records to create Chicago: The Ultimate Christmas Collection. With 34 songs on two CDs, the title provides fans with a comprehensive colletion of holiday favorites at an attractive price. What's It Gonna Be Santa features the radio staple Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! O Christmas Three features special guests Dolly Parton, America, Steve Cropper, and BeBe Winans, and was produced by veteran producer Phil Ramone, one of the most respected and prolific music producers in the recording industry (Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Elton John, Paul McCartney). O Christmas Three features original Chicago members Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow and Walt Parazaider. The band is joined by Dolly Parton on Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmas Time, America on I Saw Three Ships, BeBe Winans on Merry Christmas Darling, and celebrated guitarist Steve Cropper on Rockin' And Rollin' On Christmas Day, a new song co-written by Loughnane

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 22, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B009EC9NXK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,970 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Darrin Matteson on December 7, 2012
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If you already have Chicago's 2 other Christmas CDs, you can skip this one. However, if you don't, you can't beat the value for the dollar on this set. 2 CDs, 34 songs for under $14 (after tax and shipping)! I don't know of any greater value for solid Christmas music.

I'm not a fan now, nor have I ever been a fan of the songs with the children's choir. The only children's choirs most of us tolerate are ones that include children we know directly or are somehow related to. Otherwise they generally come across sounding a bit shrill and high-pitched (obviously lacking the bass and baritone vocals necessary to give balance). Also someone should have told Robert Lamm that "Feliz Navidad" is supposed to be an upbeat happy and fun song. He sings it like a funeral dirge and completely kills any enjoyment I might otherwise get from that song. The 2 children's choir songs plus "Feliz Navidad" funeral dirge pull this set from a 5 down to a 4 star release.

Also, I am a big Bill Champlin fan. While I was quite disappointed by his departure from the band in August 2009, time has shown that the split was in the best interests of both the band and Champlin himself at the time. While, I doubt I'll ever grow accustomed to hearing Lou Pardini singing the material I grew up hearing Champlin (or Kath, on the original studio recordings) sing, I have to concede Mr. Pardini sounds quite good on the Christmas material he lends his vocals to on this collection. I quite enjoyed his vocals on "I'll Be Home For Christmas"-- and being such a fan of Champlin, I was likely being quite a tough critic before I even popped "O Christmas Three" into the CD player.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By CHRISTOPHER BELL on November 19, 2012
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They just repackaged the two previous Christmas CD's. No remastering, no additional liner notes, NADA !! If you already have these CD's save your money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By joseph eugene funk on February 9, 2013
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Chicago bouncy's through all your Christmas favorites with their wonderfully tight horn and rhythm section. Full-throttled production-a great value. Turn it up!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By richard weese on December 14, 2012
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34 Great X-mas songs done the CHICAGO WAY! 5 STARS ALL THE WAY,LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW,THE BEST.THANKS CHICAGO
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Saxman on January 12, 2014
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On this compilation of two Christmas CDs, Chicago tries to get back to the sound that originally made them famous. Unfortunately, there is no Terry Kath on guitar and vocals or James William Guercio producing, so what we have is Robert Lamm sounding bored/comatose. Jason Scheff still screams trying to sound like Cetera and Bill Champlin over-sings on the "What's It Gonna Be Santa" CD with his over the top soulman act. His replacement on "Oh Christmas Tree," Lou Pardini, sounds like Champlin with more restraint, say the Champlin of Chicago 16-18, yes the Foster years. Knock Foster all you want, but he produced hit singles and albums for the band, which is what they asked of him. He also kept Champlin's vocal excesses in check. In addition, he recorded Scheff in keys he could sing in without screaming to hit the notes.

Trumpeter Lee Loughnane sings a bunch of songs, proving that at this stage, he's a great trumpet player. The brass kick like the old days, all to the good, but then Donnie Dacus soundalike and current guitarist Keith Howland sings two songs. Why?

This is better than a lot of veteran rock bands attempting Christmas albums, but not enough to recommend it completely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on December 12, 2013
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I have Ultimate Collection, a double CD of Chicago's other musuc, but only recently discovered that they had recorded Christmas music, all of it included here. They recorded CHICAGO XXV (25) - THE CHRISTMAS ALBUM in 1998, and recorded further tracks in 2003 for a re-issue Christmas: What's It Gonna Be Santa. That re-issue had 20 tracks and has been re-issued again as the first CD here. Chicago recorded a further Christmas album Chicago XXXIII -O Christmas Three in 2011, avoiding any songs they'd recorded before, but including guests on some tracks. It was re-issued as the second CD here.

Dedicated Chicago fans are divided as to the merits of these albums, but I can only speak for myself. I recognize that the overall sound of the second CD is different form the first, and this is inevitable given continuing line-up changes. However, the one thing that both CDs have in common is that while they almost exclusively contain songs that everybody is familiar with, Chicago have customized them (their words) to make them sound more like their own music. The different arrangements take some getting used to, but the more I play them, the more I like them.
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