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Ultra-Lounge: Christmas Cocktails, Part One

4.6 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 3, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Nutcracker Suite Les Brown; The Christmas Song Nat King Cole; I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm Dean Martin; Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo Billy May; Winter Wonderland Peggy Lee; Christmas Kisses Ray Anthony; What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Nancy Wilson, and more!

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A perfect martini-and-mistletoe combo, Christmas Cocktails will gaily seduce you with its bevy of nostalgic and occasionally campy holiday fare. Vocal vixens Peggy Lee, Julie London (her "I'd Like You for Christmas" will melt the ice cubes in your fridge), Kay Starr, and Nancy Wilson join forces with perennial crooners such as Lou Rawls, Dean Martin, and the immortal Nat "King" Cole, along with a handful of instrumental big-band numbers and odd, at times cheese-ball-shaped jazz organ pieces from Jimmy McGriff and the flammable Eddie Dundstedter, among others. But the essential item that makes plunking down your pelts for this very chi-chi set is none other than Billy May's lovably kitschy workout called "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo." It's a scream. The package comes complete with its own cocktail minimanual and the recipes for Hot Toddys and Hot Tom and Jerrys. Garishly retro and naughtily nostalgic, this kind of slinky Christmas gift should probably be illegal in many prudish states. --Martin Keller
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 3, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000002UFL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,399 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 19, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Love, love, love this CD! If you're a Christmas nut like me who listens to holiday music all year, this is for you! There were a few songs I didn't care for, but mostly this is a great CD. I've always liked Latinesque big band arrangements of holiday tunes, and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo" hits the spot like no other. The powerful brass, the chugging rhythm, and those giggling marimbas all combine wonderfully. And love those slurping saxophones! My favorite part is when the whole band breaks into a slow, blaring "Jingle Bells." (And does anyone else think the guy talking every now and then on this track sounds oddly like Manny the Uncanny? ) Peggy Lee's breezy, unflappably cool "Winter Wonderland," bongoes and all, is the coolest Christmas song ever. And this recording of it was the first place I heard the alternate "snowman" verse. Noe, "Christmas Trumpets" doesn't agree with me at all. I think it sounds like a cheesy '70s game show theme waaay to much. (See a below review.) The baritone sax at the start of "Christmas Is" sets the tone for the whole song. Lou Rawls deeply soulful voice guides you on a jazzy trip, and you'll love every step. "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town/White Christmas" I could go either way on. I'm not terribly fond of them, but some may be. I do enjoy Julie London's sexy "I'd Like You for Christmas." Melancholy and teasing at the same time, the way she just breathes out the words will makes you want to scream "You can have me!" "Holiday on Skis" is a beautifully wintry piece played by guitarist Al Caiola (who can be heard on many other U-L CDs).Read more ›
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This CD makes me laugh out loud.

That's saying something. Christmas is often a stressful time.

I love the CD, I love the concept, I love the packaging, I love the liner notes.

I suppose if I lived in the "swinging" era of night clubs, pointy bras, martinis, and ashtrays on every table, I would find it all a big drag; I don't smoke, don't drink, and I'm a feminist.

But, at this safe distance, the swinging, Rat Pack era is an archaelogical trove of great fun.

And, heck, these people really knew their way around a song. Even as I'm laughing at the anachronisms in the CD, I'm enjoying the heck out of some really good music. Kay Starr, Nancy Wilson, Nat King Cole -- these folks had pipes, and the bands are tight.

I think that if this CD can't shake someone out of his holiday blues, then hospitalization might be the only route.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD features Christmas music from the 50s and 60s that would have been considered to be "adult pop" at the time. That is to say, pop music for adults, instead of teenagers. There is some great music on this CD, and some not-so-great music, but it's all a lot of fun. The three bonus tracks are "I Brought You Violets" by the Continental; "Toys For Tots" by Peggy Lee, Nat "King" Cole and Nancy Wilson; and "Jingle Bells" by Billy May. I would recommend this CD to anyone who is interested in "adult pop" of the 50s and 60s.
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Format: Audio CD
Those with a taste for an "old-fashioned" Christmas collection, though one with the campy kick that a retro Christmas CD really should have, can do no better than Part 1 of a now-3 disc series of loungey holiday confections from the Capitol music vaults. The jingle-jangle instrumentals from the likes of Billy May and the Jackie Gleason Orchestra are pleasant if overlong, but the vocal selections are unbeatable. Nancy Wilson's buttery crooning on perhaps the most romantic holiday song ("What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?") is delicious, as are Peggy Lee's "Winter Wonderland" and Dean Martin's "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm". These discs are all worth owning, even if there's a too-soft chestnut or two amongst the treasures, and the swingin' 60's artwork is terrific.
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Format: Audio CD
OH MY GOSH do I love this CD. I just got it yesterday and I've listened to it 4 times already. I've even played some songs over the phone for some friends. They all want it now too. Since radio stations are playing Christmas music 24/7 now-a-days, you hear the same ol' stuff. I can tell you that you haven't heard these yet (with one exception: Nat King Cole). It's very refreshing to hear something new. Plus if you're into lounge music, jazz, vintage music, swing music, or anything older, this is for you. I love swing and these songs are done with a REAL swing band. I'm thinking about having a martini Christmas tree decorating party this weekend now. Now I just have to get Volume 2 and I'm all set!
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I'm organizing my Christmas CD collection, so I listened to this from beginning to end. We throw a party every year so I'll keep this CD. It's is a real mixed-bag for me (I suppose like many CDs that have various artists). Overall, it's probably a good CD during a party (duh!) when there's lots of noise and people are just hearing bits and pieces of the songs, so I gave it 3 instead of 2 stars. It's not a good CD to sit down and listen to from beginning to end... in my humble opinion ;-).

A few songs I loved: Winter Wonderland by Peggy Lee, Christmas Is by Lou Rawls, I'd Like You for Christmas by Julie London, Cha-Cha All the Way, and Nat King Cole singing Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire - better than Mel's version if you ask me! But there were far more clunkers: Jingle Bells by the Hollyridge Strings, Rudolph by Billy May, and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town by Jimmy McGriff.

The last three songs are not even listed on the liner notes. And it's no wonder ... they stink!
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