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A Fine Album—Not To Be Confused with Another
on September 30, 2017
I am delighted to have purchased this album for my Christmas collection last year and will happily play it in the coming holiday season. Please note, however, that this is NOT the classic Bing Crosby Album, "Merry Christmas" (lately retitled "White Christmas," in honor of its third, most famous track). Apart from the widely variant dates of release, you can immediately spot the 1940s album in many ways: the illustration of Crosby wearing a mistletoe bowtie, against a solid white background; the inclusion of the Andrews Sisters in several tracks (such as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"), the arrangements by John Scott Trotter, and—most obviously—the different song selections.
"Christmas Classics," issued over ten years later, contains an almost entirely different set of tracks, many of which had not been written at the time of Der Bingle's most famous Christmas outing (such as "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"). The one carryover, "White Christmas," has been tastefully rearranged here by the great Nelson Riddle. A decade later Crosby's always melliluous baritone had become even more resonant in age. Owing to success with his ageless version of "White Christmas," Crosby issued many Christmas albums across the years, but I think "Christmas Classics" is one of the best in terms of variety of sacred and secular songs ("O Holy Night" and "Frosty the Snowman"), lovely arrangements backing the singer, and quality of audio reproduction. "Merry Christmas" will probably live forever, and probably should. "Christmas Classics" is a different listening experience from the same accomplished performer, and well worth an economical investment.