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Various Artists

Ski Jump: 31 Ice Cubes For Your Apr├Ęs Ski Party

Review by Gary Hill

As you can probably gather, this is a collection of songs held together via a loose thematic thread of being winter-related. There is a very wide range of styles here, although all are retro. That's both a strength and a weakness. It's a good thing because it means there are probably songs here that will please just about everyone. On the other hand, I think that it's likely that pretty much everyone will find things they don't really care for, either. Still, it's a fun release with a nice cross-section. Since it's Bear Family you know it's a quality product, and in this case that quality includes a great extensive booklet in the digi-pack.

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Track by Track Review
Benny Goodman & His Orchestra with Peggy Lee & Art Lund - Winter Weather
There is a show-tune jazz concept to this song. It's a fun romp.
Nat 'King' Cole & The Singing Pussy Cats - Frosty The Snowman
This classic gets a playful telling here. The "Chipmunks" styled vocals are a little much, but it's fun.
Spade Cooley & His Dance Band - Snow Deer Stomp
A bouncy romp, there is a bit of a down-home "aw shucks" feeling to this. It's heavily orchestrated and polished, though.
Erhard Bauschke & sein Tanzorchester - Schlittenpferde (Sleigh Horses)
A fast-paced, galloping tune, this has a real theatrical feeling to it.
Toni Sailer - Immer wenn es schneit
A bouncy number with lyrics in German (I believe), this has that musical theater kind of vibe to it. It's fun.
Frederic Curzon & The New Concert Orchestra - Ski Jump
This is an entertaining instrumental romp that lives somewhere between jazz, classical and musical theater. 
Cliff Bruner - Snowflakes
Here get a down-home styled number. I'm not all that crazy about this one. I do like the piano showcase section.
Tex Williams - The Winter Song
Another country-based tune, I love the pedal steel guitar on this. The electric guitar work is tasty, too. This is such a fun number. In fact, it's one of my favorites on this disc.
Sarah Vaughan - Snowbound
A lush symphonic arrangement brings this in. The vocals come in over this motif. It would be easy to say that this instrumental textures are a little over-done, but somehow it works well for this torch-styled vocal delivery.
Frederic Curzon & The New Concert Orchestra - Bob Sleigh
A playful orchestral number, this has some musical theater concepts. it's a lot of fun.        
The Del Vikings - Snowbound
A jazzy sort of groove, this tune is a lot of fun.
The Belmonts - Wintertime
A doo wop rock and roller, this is another winner.
The Omegas (feat. Earl Sinks) - Froze
Rock and roll and jazz meet on this tune. This has a bit of an over-done arrangement for my tastes, but it works well enough to overcome it.
Faron Young - Snowball
There is a rockabilly concept here. The cut does have some jazzy grooves at play at times, too.  
The Kim Sisters - Roses In The Snow
This is a ballad that has a little bit of an over-the-top string arrangement.
The Kingston Trio - The White Snows Of Winter
Now, this one is a little too precious for my tastes. The vocals are strong, but it's just a little sickening sweet. That's too bad because the acoustic guitar works well, too.
Bob Luman - The Great Snowman
There is a spoken introduction on this. The cut works out from there to a rockabilly ballad turned folk music motif. While this is somewhat entertaining, it's not my kind of thing.    
Marty Robbins - Footprints In The Snow
This bouncy rockabilly styled number is a lot of fun. I'd consider this one of the highlights here.
Bobby Chandler & The Escorts - Winter Time
There is a cool, gritty jazzy bluesy vibe to this number. It's a slow moving, balladic type thing, but it's also packed full of cool. This is another standout.
Cold North Wind - Lonnie Dee
Country music with a bit of a rockabilly angle to it makes up the concept here. This works reasonably well, but isn't really a standout for me.
The Cheers - Some Night In Alaska
A jazzy romp, this feels like musical theater. It's not really my kind of thing, but it does have some charms.
Bobby Christian & His Orchestra - Midnight Sun
This orchestral instrumental is classy. In fact, I'd consider it one of the most serious and effective tracks here.
Hank Snow - Snowbird
Here we get some down-home country music. This one doesn't really work all that well for me.
Lightnin' Slim - Winter Time Blues
Now, this is one of the highlights here. It's a driving old-school guitar blues romp. The harmonica is a great touch, and the whole tune just works so well.
Albert Collins - Frosty
Here is another standout. In fact, this killer guitar blues instrumental romp might be my favorite track of the album. The horns add to the mix, but it's the guitar work that really sells this thing.
Steve & Eydie - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Okay, let's get this out of the way - yes, the lyrics are cringey. That said, the couple singing this are married, so it seems more playful than predatory in this instance. This is a jazzy kind of orchestral arranged piece that's a lot of fun. I dig the powered up jazz romping on the closing instrumental section a lot.
Jim Reeves - The Blizzard
Acoustic guitar based country music is on the menu here. The sounds of wind (fitting with the lyrics) are heard on this. I like some of the guitar intricacies, but this song doesn't really do it for me beyond that. The lyrics are actually very sad, but the music doesn't seem to fit that, either.
The Skyliners - Blossoms In The Snow
A slow moving, old-time balladic cut, this has a lot of jazz elements at play. It's another that's not all that effective for me.
Carl Smith - Snowdeer
This rockabilly guitar showcase is a lot of fun. I like this instrumental a lot. It's energetic and entertaining.
Georgia Gibbs - Looks Like A Cold Cold Winter
A musical theater-type concept is on the menu here with this balladic jazz arrangement. It's a solid tune that seems to land somewhere in the middle of the road here.
Hank Williams & His Guitar - Faded Love And Winter Roses
A down-home acoustic country piece, this definitely doesn't do it for me. If it's more your kind of thing, though, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
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