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The Ultimate Collection - Motown Christmas [2 CD]

4.2 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

2009 two CD holiday collection that features classic Motown renditions of seasonal favorites, from just about every great Motown artist, from Smokey Robinson to Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5 to The Supremes, Marvin Gaye to Johnny Gill, the Temptations to Boyz II Men. Includes more than a dozen rare 'Season's Greetings' messages from Michael Jackson, Smokey, the Temptations, Jr. Walker, The Commodores, and others. Bonus tracks are two beautifully rendered 'stripped' mixes of 'Silent Night' and 'A Child Is Waiting'.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 13, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Motown Records
  • ASIN: B002OULHRY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,212 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John L. Hughes, Jr. on December 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
THE ULTIMATE MOTOWN CHRISTMAS COLLECTION is essentially a reissue of 1973's double (vinyl) album A MOTOWN CHRISTMAS with key cuts from 2001's A MOTOWN CHRISTMAS, VOL. 2, and the out-of-print collections CHRISTMAS CHEERS FROM MOTOWN (1989), and CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY (1993)thrown in for good measure.

The best part about this collection of course, is discovering such rare Motown nuggets as "Xmas Twist" by The Twistin' Kings (a/k/a The Funk Brothers), Kim Weston's soulful "Wish You A Merry Christmas", and "Winter Wonderland" by the Funk Brothers. It's always nice to hear classic Motown from the non-superstar acts.

However, some weak cuts rear their ugly head here and there just like any collection. Diana Ross' tame version of "This Christmas" won't make you forget about Donny Hathaway, while "Christmas Cheer" by 80s Motown boy band The Boys is just a little too cutesy for its own good. The Stevie Wonder cuts feature marvelous singing over soggy orchestral dreck except for "Someday At Christmas" and "What Christmas Means To Me" (Imagine if Stevie recorded a Christmas album during his 70s peak. Now THAT would have been a Christmas album to end all Christmas albums).

The season's greetings radio bits by various classic Motown artists sprinkled through the collection are entertaining and historical, especially Jr. Walker and that sizzling sax solo.

THE ULTIMATE MOTOWN CHRISTMAS COLLECTION is a perfect album for an old school Christmas party.
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Format: Audio CD
This holiday two CD set is jam packed with wonderful songs and short rarities of "season's greetings" tracks from some of the most talented artists that ever recorded at Motown. Motown fans can rejoice that this is readily available or they can download just the tracks that they want to enjoy right NOW! The quality of the sound is excellent and the artwork is really nicely done.

The Jackson 5 start things off with their famous "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town;" Michael is nicely in the spotlight and he never misses a note. I miss him but it's comforting to hear him sing. Stevie Wonder's "What Christmas Means to Me" has a fine beat and the percussion couldn't have been better! The drums and brass sound great and Stevie sings this upbeat tune with all his heart and soul. I love it! The Temptations also do a great job on "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer;" and other gems would have to include Stevie Wonder's gorgeous "Ave Maria" and "Joy to the World" as performed by The Supremes. The Funk Brothers do "Winter Wonderland;" and they don't exactly sound too shabby either!

"Someday at Christmas" never fails to move me with its beauty and grace; it's very poignant and absolutely beautiful. It's easily one of my very favorite holiday tunes. The Supremes sing "White Christmas" very well and that added piano arrangement is very pretty. The percussion adds to the musical arrangement but The Supremes were going to make "White Christmas" their hit no matter what the musicians played! Johnny Gill's "Give Love on Christmas Day" is another major highlight; Johnny's sophisticated phrasing impresses me and that's grand. The first CD ends well with The Temptations doing a superb job on "Silent Night."

The second CD continues the excellent holiday music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the 70s, Motown released a double album titled A Motown Christmas. It had a purple cover and featured 24 songs by five of Motown's top acts, Stevie, the Supremes, the Tempts, the Miracles and the Jackson Five. This double CD has all of those and more. Marvin, the Tops, Boys II Men, Johnny Gill, Kim Weston and the Funk Brothers, to name just a few. A total of 51 tracks with songs recorded from the 60s through the 90s. Four decades of Motown holiday soul.

Of the 51 tracks, 16 are brief snippets by Motown's finest wishing us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. These last less than 10 seconds each. That leaves 35 tracks of music, 11 more than the 70s double album. Most of the songs from that album made it here. Anything recorded after the 70s is new on this compilation. Marvin contributes Purple Snowflakes, I Want to Come Home for Christmas and Christmas in the City (an instrumental), the Four Tops sing Christmas Here With You and Merry Christmas Baby, Smokey and the Tempts team up for The Christmas Song, Diana sings This Christmas as a solo artist, Boys II Men do Let it Snow, Johnny Gill does Give Love on Christmas Day.

A couple of more rare tracks. Kim Weston sings Wish You a Merry Christmas, The Boys do Christmas Cheer, the Twistin' Kings do Xmas Twist and the Funk Brothers (Motown's in-house musicians) do a great instrumental version of Winter Wonderland.

Finally, several of the obscure tracks by artists who didn't release a Christmas album are here. Of course, you can never please everybody. I would've liked to have a couple of more Four Tops tracks. Their versions of Away in a Manger and Twas The Night before Christmas are fantastic. I also would've preferred to hear the entended version of the Tempts' Silent Night instead of the shorter version included here. But these are minor quibbles. Overall, a fantastic collection of holiday music that will please any Motown fan. A five-star job well done.
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I would say that 2/3 of the songs on this album are great - classic, wonderful Motown... but about 1/3 were duds. I also found the 16 inserted "Christmas / Holiday Greetings" by the singers to be a waste of space that interrupts the flow of the musical selections. It's very annoying to listen to.
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