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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Various Artists

The Coolest Christmas

Review by Gary Hill

This disc, as many various artists compilations, is a mixed bag. Some of the cuts here are very good, while others are forgettable, and many fall somewhere in between. However, for this reviewer, just the David Bowie/Bing Crosby cut alone makes it worth the price of admission.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
David Bowie & Bing Crosby- Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
Beginning with a wonderful humorous and light hearted dialog, this cut is the whole reason I bought this CD, and it is worth it. Although the Little Drummer Boy version here is rather sedate, these two voices work incredibly well together and make this song a great piece.

The Alarm-Happy Christmas (War is Over)
A cover of the classic John Lennon holiday number, this is a solid mellow rock cut with some great vocal arrangements. It’s message of peace is still poignant today. The chorale type vocal segment seems a little hokey, though.

Roy Orbison-Pretty Paper
A mellow rock and roll holiday classic from Orbison, this one is a bit weak by my standards, but still entertaining.

Clancy Brothers-Jingle Bells (Buala Bas)
  A riotous Irish Christmas song, this one is fun and humorous, but not really to my taste.

The Ventures-Sleigh Ride
Feeling just like every classic Ventures surf cut, this tune combines lots of Xmas themes into a fun jam. It is definitely one of the stand out pieces on the CD.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers-Rock and Roll Christmas
Starting with saxophone doing “Joy to the World”, this piece jumps into a great rocking melody in true Thorogood fashion.

Eartha Kitt-Santa Baby
  With a great seductive tone, this is a fun, if dated, track.

Brenda Lee-Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
  If ‘50’s rock is your thing, this is a great Xmas cut. If not, it’s still not bad, and features a nice sax solo.

The Beach Boys-Little Saint Nick
I have never been a big Beach Boys fan, so this cut doesn’t do much for me. That said, it is what it is - the classic Beach Boys sound on a Xmas number.

Cocteau Twins-Frosty the Snowman
 With a great, fairly modern sound, this take on the classic is a definite winner and good fun. The vocals on this recording are particularly strong.
The Temptations-Christmas Everyday
This is a pretty standard Tempt’s fare, way deep vocals and all.
Dean Martin-Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  A classic crooner Christmas cut, this one is a good fun romp through the wet stuff.

Elmo N Patsy-Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Everyone has heard this one, and it is stupid, stupid, stupid. My advice is to either program by the cut or hit “skip”.

Guy Lombardo-Auld Lang Syne
  Well, not really a Christmas piece, but, hey, it is a classic and you need to have it in your collection for New Years Eve.

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