A Holly Jolly Kids Christmas
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2007, Volume 14, #11
Written by John Metzger
Wed November 21, 2007, 06:55 AM CST
Although it begins and ends with classic holiday cuts by Burl Ives (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the tune that gives the set its title, respectively), there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to the organization of A Holly Jolly Kids Christmas. It merely is a compilation of secular Yuletide carols that are geared specifically to those who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. Nevertheless, its charms are readily apparent because the mood that its contents immediately establish is born of simpler, more innocent times. Even on a balmy November day, as the ghosts and goblins of Halloween slowly but surely are being replaced with turkeys and cornucopias, it’s impossible to hear these songs and not immediately think of wintry winds, falling snow, the smell of pine, and endless good cheer.
This is precisely the reason why so many of these tunes — Bobby Helm’s Jingle Bell Rock, Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and Ives’ A Holly Jolly Christmas, among them — begin emanating from storefronts in early fall. The versions of the songs that are featured on A Holly Jolly Kids Christmas are so enduring, and they are so ingrained in the public’s consciousness that no matter how commercialized the holiday season has become, they immediately erase the stress of shopping and replace it with the warm glow of the Christmas season. Even Raul Malo’s brand new rendition of Marshmallow World — a song that had been covered previously by Lee as well as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin — fits perfectly within the scope of the endeavor.
Considering its 30-minute length, there’s no doubt that A Holly Jolly Kids Christmas would have benefited from the inclusion of a few more timeless selections. Then again, there’s no point in tempting fate by filling the album with material that might not retain its luster. No matter how many times they have been featured in films or played on the radio, every song on A Holly Jolly Kids Christmas — from the Jackson 5’s I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus to Jimmy Durante’s Frosty the Snowman and from The Chipmunks’ The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) to Ella Fitzgerald’s Jingle Bells — is as durable as the toys that Santa once packed into his sleigh. ½
Of Further Interest...
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box