My Retro CHRISTMAS Essentials
without these timeless CDs:
This used to be available in Starbucks each year;
it's the perfect piano background music for
a jazzy Christmas cocktail party with old friends,
& reunions with high school & college classmates.
And for chilling out and cuddling after
endless nights of drinking and dining,
nothing comes close to this smoky, wistful album,
Old Blue Eyes' best collection of carols:
But the granddaddy of all Christmas albums,
the soundtrack of my childhood Decembers with my family,
from the much-awaited yearly events in C.O.D. Cubao
to the Ortigas displays in front of Unimart,
always heard in Manila on my Dad's cassette player,
and in Pampanga on my Lola & Lola's LP records,
to this day,
hearing just a single note of any song from
this classic Ray Conniff collection
instantly brings me back to those days when I still
believed that Santa Claus would bring me my toys!
The original LP liner notes from 1962:
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
is a sparkling, rhythmic, irresistible holiday greeting
from Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers.
As in his previous, immensely successful Christmas album,
Christmas With Conniff,
Ray has gained special inspiration
from the seasonal character of the program
he has arranged for his singers.
In his new collection,
Ray has grouped most of the songs into medleys
which tell a musical story about this holiday of holidays.
Christmas chimes introduce
an exuberant address to Jolly Old St. Nicholas,
and a request to "give little Billy a drum this year"
blends into a tender songs about The Little Drummer Boy
whose only gift for the baby Jesus was to play on his drum for Him.
The next medley starts
with a soft, interesting rhythmic background to O Holy Night
followed by a slightly brighter We Three Kings of Orient Are,
and concludes with a real happy get-together
of the twenty-five Ray Conniff singers
as they Deck the Hall With Boughs of Holly.
Then, in a stirring finale of bells, rhythm and song,
the men and girls "tell all the world Jesus is King" in
Ring Christmas Bells.
Side Two begins with a clever blending of
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Count Your Blessings
and the first personal greeting from the chorus
as they sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
The Twelve Days of Christmas has a rhythm sound
that is one of the album's particular delights,
and the chorus takes full advantage
of the unusual alternating 4/4-3/4 beat,
as they swing along through this old traditional
Christmas story of the gifts "my true love sent to me."
In Ray's own words the final medley is
"a masterpiece of performance by the singers."
It builds from a slow,
slightly Spanish-flavored rhythm on The First Noel
to an exciting, infectious crescendo of rhythm and songs
as the chorus finishes this great album
with a stirring Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
and one last, final, sincere greeting:
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
and A HAPPY NEW YEAR!