Elvis with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
2017 - Legacy Recordings. In his career, Elvis Presley recorded two Christmas albums; Elvis’ Christmas Album (1957) and Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas (1971). Later in 1976, he released a compilation album called Blue Christmas and in 1970 released a budget album called Elvis’ Christmas Album. According to Billboard, it is Elvis who holds the record for the best selling Christmas album of all time. To mark the 60th anniversary of the release of Elvis’ Christmas Album, Legacy Recordings releases this collection of thirteen of Elvis’ most iconic Christmas songs. Producers Nick Patrick and Don Reedman take thirteen of what they believe were Elvis’ most favorite Christmas carols and mix the originals with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to create this new album. This album includes “Santa Claus Is Back In Town,” “White Christmas,” “Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane),” “Merry Christmas Baby,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me),” “Silver Bells,” “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel,” and “Silent Night.” Also included on this album is Elvis’ iconic “Blue Christmas;” in which the producers made an error with. When Elvis was first approached to record “Blue Christmas” during a recording session in 1957, he did not want to record the song as he did not like it. The soprano singer on the album, Millie Kirkham recalls that Elvis stated “Let’s just get this over with.” He also told everyone in the studio to come up with some bizarre arrangements so the record label would not release the song. The musicians agreed and created the addition of the comical “oohs” within the song. However, the record label loved it and went on to release “Blue Christmas” which became Elvis’ most popular Christmas song. So for the producers to include “Blue Christmas” on this album is purely a marketing ploy. As for the mixture of the orchestra to Elvis’ original recordings; it almost sounds a bit much, especially to my trained ears. The original recordings were pristine and perfect, even in today’s standards. Personally, I would have loved to seen a box set that contains re-masters of the original Christmas albums then this. For the naked, untrained, ears may consider this collection beautiful. Then again, why mess with a master entertainer like Elvis Presley? This one is totally up to you as we would rather enjoy the original recordings. $$ - $$$
(This review was printed in the November / December 2017 issue of Strictly Country.)
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