Chances are, most of us are more than familiar with this classic Christmas album. Frank Sinatra’s A Jolly Christmas was first released in 1957. It was his first full-length Christmas album, and arguably remains his best. From the J-I-N-G-L-E of the first track, to the iconic opening phrase, “Frosted window panes…” this is sentimental holiday music that still qualifies as classic pop in any era. It proves that in the right context, nostalgia can get better as it ages. Gordon Jenkin’s weepy orchestral arrangements are, well, kind of timeless. A Jolly Christmas stands above other Sinatra Christmas collections because all of the tunes are seamless in their ability to reflect the American Christmas spirit. Those who still long for a good mix of both sacred and secular Christmas tunes should continue to spin this disc every year after Thanksgiving.
A Jolly Christmas has once again been remastered for the 2011 Christmas season. The 1954 Irving Berlin version of “White Christmas” and a version of “The Christmas Waltz” from that same year are included as bonus tracks. Audiophiles should take note that this album was also reissued on vinyl in 2010 for the first time in forty years. Those who have already grown tired of hearing Mariah Carey and Amy Grant belting out holiday tunes in their local Target store would do themselves a favor by coming back to this timeless recording as a much needed palate cleanser.
// Notes from the Road
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