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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Nat King Cole

The Christmas Song Hybrid SACD

Review by Gary Hill

When you talk classic holiday music, you really can’t ignore Nat King Cole. His smooth vocal delivery really works so well on everything, but he’s so well known for holiday music. This classic set has been reissued in a special limited edition numbered audio-fidelity CD. If you like Christmas music, this comes highly recommended. It’s an exceptional release.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Christmas Song

This is arguably the most classic Christmas song of all time. It’s symphonic and jazzy. Cole delivers such a great vocal performance.

Deck the Hall
This is a short and energetic rendition of another holiday classic.
Adeste Fideles
A powerful and quite pretty rendition, this is classy stuff.
O Tannenbaum
The arrangement here is quite symphonic. This is a very pretty piece and this rendition works quite well.
O, Little Town of Bethlehem
Low in energy, this is lush, though. It’s not my favorite thing here, but it is fairly effective.
I Saw Three Ships
With a full choir, this is more of a fun song than a serious one.
O Holy Night
The lush arrangement on this piece works really well.
Hark, The Herald Angels Sing
The choir and orchestra really bring a lot to this. Of course, Cole’s vocals drive it home.
A Cradle in Bethlehem

With a more stripped back, but purely symphonic arrangement, this one isn’t one of my favorit4es.

Away in a Manger
With much the same arrangement as the previous cut, this is another that doesn’t work that well for me.
Joy to the World
Still quite symphonic, this is more energized and powerful.
The First Noel
Another stripped back piece, this is mildly effective.
Caroling, Caroling

This really does call to mind caroling along the streets. It’s energetic and fun.

Silent Night
A mellower arrangement is heard here. It fits this song quite well, really.
 
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