Off Topic Messages

Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:50 pm

We rightfully suggest on here that Presley's first Christmas album is the best ever made, and I certainly think is in the top three or four. One album that seems to get overlooked, however, is Perry Como's wonderfully traditional Season's Greetings from 1959. The album has ten tracks in total, all of which are traditional Christmas fare.

The first side of the LP finds Como tackling half a dozen secular songs, from Home for the Holidays through to Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. Como's rendition of The Christmas Song is exquisite and the highlight of the first side. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town benefits from Como's rendition of the rarely heard verse - which is nearly as good a piece of material as the chorus itself, and it's a shame it is so rarely heard.

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The second side sees Como turning to carols rather than Christmas songs. The medley of Here We Come A-Caroling and We Wish You A Merry Christmas sets the tone and leads nicely into God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, which features a Salvation Army-style arrangement that builds in intensity until reaching its rousing conclusion. The medley of Here We Come A-Caroling below is seemingy the unedited track - on the original LP only the a capella version is heard (which finishes around 1.35 on the video), a good decision in my opinion.

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Como's rendition of Oh Holy Night is simply the best ever committed to record by a non-classical singer; powerful and yet wonderfully warm.

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The album ends with The Story of the First Christmas, an extended track in which Como tells the story of the first Christmas, with his narration broken up by short snatches of four carols. I'm sure I'm not the only one who loved this ten-minute track as a kid. This was a studio recording of a routine that Como had performed on TV on a number of occasions during the early 1950s.

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The beauty of this album is totally lost when split up amongst Como's other Christmas recordings on compilations. No other album summons up images of a traditional Christmas like Como's 1959 albums. His warm, full vocals are beautifully nuanced throughout, whether gently swinging his way through some of the Christmas songs or singing a capella arrangements of carols with the Ray Charles Singers (no, not that Ray Charles). The arrangements by Joe Lipman, Jack Andrews and Ray Charles are brilliantly realised, and the album was one of the earliest in RCA's Living Stereo series - the sound is gorgeous. We forget how great a vocalist Perry Como was, and how effortless his singing was - this album is one of the best reminders.

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:30 am

This is the only Perry Como Christmas album I own! It was played during Christmas while I was growing up along with the Elvis and Bing Crosby holiday albums. Now my husband has this on CD as well as 3 different vinyl versions. One is the mono the other is the stereo copy and the third is a later pressing with the nipper logo small and not in a oblong box at the top of the cover. The stereo copy has a black bar at the top of the cover with the catalog in it. Never knew about these different varations. It is a classic in every sense andd the later Perry Como Christmas reissues and redos that I have heard do not compare! I never see the CD in stores anymore and don't know if it is still in print, but I'm glad I got a copy when it first came out. I'm glad to see that there are other people who like this album! It is indeed underrated and is a classic from Mr.C who indeed was a top selling artist at the time of this release.

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:40 am

sgoodyear62 wrote:This is the only Perry Como Christmas album I own! It was played during Christmas while I was growing up along with the Elvis and Bing Crosby holiday albums. Now my husband has this on CD as well as 3 different vinyl versions. One is the mono the other is the stereo copy and the third is a later pressing with the nipper logo small and not in a oblong box at the top of the cover. The stereo copy has a black bar at the top of the cover with the catalog in it. Never knew about these different varations. It is a classic in every sense andd the later Perry Como Christmas reissues and redos that I have heard do not compare! I never see the CD in stores anymore and don't know if it is still in print, but I'm glad I got a copy when it first came out. I'm glad to see that there are other people who like this album! It is indeed underrated and is a classic from Mr.C who indeed was a top selling artist at the time of this release.


It is sadly out of print in its original form. I picked it up secondhand recently quite cheaply.

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:35 am

I used to watch his Christmas Specials whenever they aired. Watched 'em all. (And those of others, btw.) Anyway, while I don't have this album, this is the sort of material on the Specials. And they conjured up a wonderful fantasy of a Christmas which probably never existed, but which is in everyone's minds in December. And people strive to create it. Unlike a lot of people, I see nothing wrong with that: it's a yearning for a better, warmer world. So, this music holds good memories, even though I didn't listen on an album.

I never cared if it was sentimental; I wanted it sentimental. It was Christmas, and all bets were off. I still like every old "tradition": I miss the Norelco shaver hurtling down the ski hill. All of that! And Perry Como is a part of that.

:smt114

rjm

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:43 am

I have a reel to reel of this gem and it gets played every year in the Hi Fi den.

A GREAT album by a terribly under-appreciated performer.

Thank you for this post.

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:36 am

I´m not familiar with this Como Christmas album. When it comes to Christmas albums I put Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatras albums way up there, yes, even before EP.
Last edited by Scarre on Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:41 pm

Scarre wrote:I´m not familiar with this Como Christmas album. When it comes to Christmas albums I put Dean Martin, Bing Croby and Frank Sinatras albums way up there, yes, even before EP.


I always knew the Dean Martin effort through the compilation album of him and Nat King Cole - a bizarre choice by Music for Pleasure which worked wonderfully well. I only recently heard the Reprise Dean Martin Christmas album which is also very good.

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:50 pm

I remember my parents owning this Perry Como Christmas album from 1959... I've always liked his version of There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays... the Christmas season hasn't begun until I hear that song and Andy Williams' It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:55 pm

rjm wrote: I miss the Norelco shaver hurtling down the ski hill.

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Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:15 am

poormadpeter wrote:
Scarre wrote:I´m not familiar with this Como Christmas album. When it comes to Christmas albums I put Dean Martin, Bing Croby and Frank Sinatras albums way up there, yes, even before EP.


I always knew the Dean Martin effort through the compilation album of him and Nat King Cole - a bizarre choice by Music for Pleasure which worked wonderfully well. I only recently heard the Reprise Dean Martin Christmas album which is also very good.


Yes, forgot to mention Nat King Cole, can hardly believe that. He belongs way up there too...

Re: Seasons Greetings from Perry Como

Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:26 pm

Scarre wrote:Yes, forgot to mention Nat King Cole, can hardly believe that. He belongs way up there too...

Absolutely!