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Various Artists

Have Yourself Another Swingin' Little Christmas: More Fingerpoppin' Tunes for Your Holiday Season (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

You can always count on Bear Family for quality products. This new record is a fine example of that. I love the red vinyl record, and this includes a post card, too. The selection of music here is really fairly diverse with a real focus on entertaining retro holiday music. This album will be a fine addition to many families' holiday celebrations going forward.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Side A
               
Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians with The Glee Club - Jingle Bells
I love the orchestral arrangement on this song. This seems to be a particularly up-tempo version of the song, but it drops to a slower mode later. I'm not completely enamored with the vocals on this, but they work reasonably well. They take it out into a conga-inspired jam later in the piece. Then we get an almost opera approach for a female vocal section. There is a piano solo treatment for a time, and then it works out to an unusual fast jazzy arrangement from there. They keep shifting and changing this as they go alone. They really turn it into quite an extensive and varied ride. At almost seven-minutes of music, this is the epic of the album.
Ramsey Lewis Trio - Winter Wonderland
This instrumental take on the holiday classic is jazzy and fun. It has plenty of energy and style.   
Nat King Cole - Mrs. Santa Claus
You just can't beat Nat King Cole. This jazzy tune is playful and entertaining.
Andy Williams - Christmas Is A Feeling In Your Heart
This is a ballad. The lead vocals are strong. The arrangement is a little too syrupy for my tastes, but it's fitting with the era.
Peggy Lee - Ring Those Christmas Bells
Another that's a bit too precious for my tastes, this still works well.
Johnny Desmond - Sleigh Ride
This gets some symphonic elements in the instrumental mix. The vocal arrangement really sells the track, though.
Side B
                 
The DeCastro Sisters - Snowbound For Christmas

A mellow, holiday love song, this has a symphonic arrangement.

Vic Damone - It's A Marshmallow World
A bouncy jazzy romp, this is a fun tune.
Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely - Christmas Candy
This playful number seems like something that's designed for the whole family. It has some country music in the mix, but overall it's just a fun contemporary pop piece of the era.
The McGuire Sisters - Be A Santa
A bouncy and fun romp, this is another fine addition to the set.
Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters - Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas)
This is the version of this song that many of us know from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." I dig the jazzy arrangement on this. This song is permanently tied to that movie in my mind, but that's not a bad thing.
The Coolbreezers with Al White & His Band - Hello Mr. New Year
This is a grooving jazz cut that works so well.
Tennessee Ernie Ford - Jingle-O The Brownie
Another entertaining piece, this is one that seems more purely family oriented. Tennessee Ernie Ford's vocals don't seem as low as I expect.
Leroy Anderson & His 'Pops' Concert Orchestra - A Christmas Festival

This is an instrumental piece that has plenty of bombast. It also includes lots of Christmas music. It's a fitting way to end the album.

 
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