eMusic Review 0
Not since singing cowboy Gene Autry lassoed a batch of holiday songs did a collection make such an impact on the caroling canon. The Wall of Sound mastermind — now locked away behind a different kind of wall — corralled his stable of singers and musicians to produce 1963's breakthrough Christmas album, with a dozen tunes gleaming with the Phil Spector sparkle.
Included here are three originated by Autry: "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," delightfully delivered by the Crystals, with 16-year-old Lala Brooks singing lead; "Frosty the Snowman," courtesy of the Ronettes, featuring Spector's future wife, Ronnie, on exuberant lead vocals; and "Here Comes Santa Claus," one of two tracks by the album's sole male vocalist, Bobby Sheen, of Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, featuring the Blossoms on harmonies.
Blossoms vocalist Darlene Love transformed into Queen of Christmas, thanks to her memorable set (and as witnessed every year during her yuletide visit to the Letterman show). Her dramatic solo turns, particularly on the Brill Building composition (written by Spector, Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry) "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," are spectacular. Ronnie Spector has also kept the tradition alive, performing annual holiday shows and releasing a new collection of Christmas… read more »