Here it is, one of the best Christmas albums ever compiled onto a single disc. Of the 30-plus compilations of the same generic title released over the decades, Christmas Classics is one of the very few that actually warrants its billing, challenging Rhino's well-rounded 1990 comp and Capitol's perennial Bing Crosby collection for the distinction of being the outright best "Christmas Classics" disc ever put on the market as of its 2004 release. And yes, this one just may indeed be the best, a 16-track scouring of the Capitol catalog of the '40s, '50s, and '60s. As such, it's comprised of the style of traditional pop championed by the label during those golden years. There's a masterfully sequenced mix of vocal pop (Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, the Nat King Cole Trio), vocal jazz (June Christy, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald), and instrumental jazz-pop (Les Brown & His Band of Renown, Ferrante & Teicher, Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians). Every song here is a highlight, whether it's the timelessness of Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song," the sheer beauty of Nancy Wilson's "The Christmas Waltz," or the torchy longing of Julie Christie's "I'd Like You for Christmas." If these songs don't put you in the holiday mood, nothing will! And even if traditional pop isn't your bag, this music still has a certain antiquated appeal today in the 21st century that seems totally appropriate for such a traditional time as the holidays, when antiquity is most alluring. In addition to compiling a darn near perfect Christmas collection of Capitol's finest holiday recordings, the label furthermore took the time to design appealing packaging for the disc, making it all the more first-rate as far as this sort of collection goes.
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