The cover is almost cooler than the material, but this is a nice enough various-artists collection. The liner notes describe these Coral artists as "some of the most celebrated personalities in show business," so there. My favorite tracks are Dorothy Collins' Mister Santa, which is a holiday version of Mister Sandman, and Teresa Brewer's version of Jingle Bell Rock. Though it's the usual cheap Coral vinyl (though better than, say, Parade or Tops), it's in fine shape, so the sound is clean. The Christmas Song continues to be a standard I have no feeling for. I even mildly dislike it, but the writer-singer's own version here is kind of refreshing in its directness--compared to other versions, I mean. And Torme was certainly a smooth crooner. If it has to be on this comp, then let it be Torme doing it. And, dear Lord, The Littlest Angel can't content itself with simply being bad, it has to rip off The Little Drummer Boy so blatantly as to almost be that number. Not the tune, of course--I mean the so-called lyrics (by Hal David's brother Mack). I realize Christmas pop songs are supposed to be cliche fests, but there's no excuse for this thing, as much as I love its Classic Hollywood version of Heaven. Can we be sure Frank Capra didn't have a hand in this?
The Lennon-ah Sister-ah's Merry Merry Christmas doesn't hold a holiday candle to the Ruby Wright version, though it's okay. Nothing against the Sisters. They were bland as can be, but that was a Welk requirement. The singing was never a highlight of his show. The incredible band, and Myron Floren's astonishingly fast Tico Tico--the non-singers had to be at the top of their game. The singers were so-so. Band great, singers okay. Singers okay, band great. I seem to be stuck on that single thought. What's happening? Is my Serotonin on strike?
Did I mention the band was great, but the...? Yeah, I guess I did. In a parallel universe, there's a version of this (on the Laroc label) featuring a bland cover and fabulous tracks.
CLICK HERE TO HEAR: Merry Christmas from Coral Records (1958)
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town--The McGuire Sisters
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus--Teresa Brewer
White Christmas--The Ames Brothers
Mister Santa--Dorothy Collins
Merry Merry Christmas--The Lennon Sisters
The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)--Mel Torme
Jingle Bell Rock--Teresa Brewer
The Littlest Angel--The McGuire Sisters
Santo Natale--Johnny Desmond
Winter Wonderland--The Ames Brothers
Christmas Carols--Part 1 (Adapted and Arr. by George Cates)--The Lawrence Welk Choir
Christmas Carols--Part 2--Same
Merry Christmas from Coral Records (Coral CRL 57355; 1958)