A Sinatra Christmas
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A Sinatra Christmas
SOUNDS FAMILIAR By Baby A. Gil
The Philippine Star 12/20/2004
The Christmas Collection by Frank Sinatra can be easily dismissed as just another compilation of old recordings. We have heard all those songs before, even those he sings with his children like I Wouldnít Trade Christmas and the Hollywood version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Many of us have gone through various copies of them on vinyl, cassette tapes, CDs and maybe even on those old oh-so fragile 78 RPMs. Still, it is a Sinatra album and he is one singer we can listen to for hours and hours whether he sings Christmas tunes or not.
It turns out that it is more than another compilation. The album includes a very special rendition of Silent Night, which must be one of the last recordings that Sinatra ever did. His daughter Nancy was working on a Christmas album that would benefit a childrenís hospital so she asked her dad to do a song. Sinatra had not recorded for three years and was not feeling well but he didnít say no. This track practically leaps at you when you come to the end of the album. The initial reaction upon hearing the faltering vocals is, this canít be Sinatra. But later you realize that although he sounds sick and frail, the singing is as always heartfelt and the phrasing, impeccable. Silent Night alone is already worth the price of the CD.
There are 18 cuts in the album, which is more than what other Sinatra Christmas albums have. Strangely, it starts out in a ring-a-ding-ding mood with Iíve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm but gets sadder and sadder until you get to Silent Night. The songs are even more touching in this melancholy mood, more so these days because of recent events towards the end of the year wherein many of us lost their loved ones. The Christmas celebrations are about memories and we had quite a harvest of sad ones this year.
There are many reasons to be cheerful about in between though, like finding those duets with Bing Crosby in tracks they made together for a Christmas special in 1964. They sing We Wish You the Merriest, Go Tell It on the Mountain, The Christmas Song and of course White Christmas. Sinatra cuts a very assertive Santa Claus is Coming to Town and his I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day has this buoyant feel.
I was also glad to find that The Christmas Waltz, which Sinatra does beautifully is in the line-up. Composed by Jules Styne and arranged by Nelson Riddle, this must be his signature Christmas song. Gene Autry has Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Bing Crosby has his White Christmas, Mahalia Jackson has Silent Night and Michael Jackson has Give Love on Christmas Day. Sinatra has a most expressive rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which must be one of the saddest songs ever written but it has always belonged to Judy Garland. So I think it should be The Christmas Song which gives my spirits a joyful lilt each time I hear it played. We can really use a massive dose of that at this time.
Posted by: Nancy | Dec 20, 2004 4:46 PM | Comments(9)