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I love Christmas, it's my favourite holiday, it seems to bring out the best in many people and is always a time when my family come close together. Growing up I always had lovely Christmas's which I guess I why I love it so much now, I've carried on many of the traditions from my childhood and love the same things now that I did then this includes the Christmas songs of Johnny Mathis.
Johnny Mathis is an American singer, born in Texas in 1935, his gentle vocals are most often lent to romantic ballads and have been used for soundtracks in films including Lizzie, his Christmas songs have always been popular for film soundtracks and include the Home Alone Movies. He has won and been nominated for many awards during his long career which include Grammys, a star on the Hollywood walk of fame and a lifetime achievement award from the Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. He has been in the industry for 52 years now and has a fan following as large as ever.
Now I'm not what you'd call your typical Johnny Mathis fan and it is really only his Christmas music that I listen to regularly "The Best Of Christmas" is undoubtedly my favourite of not only his albums but all Christmas albums available. It has a wonderful mix of more traditional carols but also "modern" Christmas songs including "When a child is born" which is probably the best known of his Christmas tracks. Johnny has quite an unusual voice and sings with almost a twang but each track is sang with such warmth and passion, just hearing the first few bars of the first track is enough to make me feel warmer on a cold winter evening and it is the perfect accompaniment for any Christmas activity whether it be decorating your tree, wrapping gifts and writing cards or just snuggling on the sofa in front of the fire.
The CD features a range of different songs, some of a more light hearted nature, more celebratory, singing of the joys of the season and all that comes with it, there are also more religious based songs which act as a reminder of what Christmas is meant to be about. Whatever your belief about the holiday there is likely to be a track for you. I wont go into the details of each song as most people are likely to recognise the tracks, the track listing however is-
Track 1: Winter Wonderland
Track 2: Christmas Song
Track 3: White Christmas
Track 4: Silent Night Holy Night
Track 5: Sleigh Ride
Track 6: Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow
Track 7: Sounds Of Christmas
Track 8: Marshmallow World
Track 9: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Track 10: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Track 11: Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
Track 12: Do You Hear What I Hear
Track 13: Little Drummer Boy
Track 14: Lord's Prayer
Track 15: When A Child Is Born
Track 16: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Track 17: It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Track 18: Jingle Bells
I do prefer some of the tracks to others, which I guess would be the same on any CD, while not one of my favourite tracks I can't resist playing "Little drummer boy" as my 2 year old daughter sings out in her delicate chime like voice "Yum pum pum, yum pum pum, yum pum pum" at every chorus, it's completely irresistible and shows me one of my favourite aspects of Christmas which is the joy of my children. While I'll listen to songs like "Lords Prayer" and "God rest ye merry gentlemen" I must say they aren't favourites, I personally like what I'd guess would be the more commercial of songs, but even the more traditional songs and carols are well sung and lovely to listen to.
"Marshmallow World" is a particular favourite as it was a song my Nan used to love, an upbeat song that's perfect to sing and sway along to. I also love "Sounds of Christmas" "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and "It's the most wonderful time of the year" they all have the more upbeat feel that I like and you get carried along in the feeling of happiness and excitement that the songs portray. I'll always have this album, and those tracks in particular, on as I prepare for Christmas as they add perfectly to the happy atmosphere.
The album is very well put together with all the songs being well chosen, not one track feels wrong. The blend of "religious" and "commercial" tracks works well together representing the mix that a modern Christmas is nowadays and they all flow nicely, one after the other and at no point feel disjointed, I think if this was a compilation of artists then the song selection really would not have worked together but Johnny's warm voice and individual style tie them all together perfectly.
This is my all time favourite Christmas album, I was even playing it this Halloween as it couldn't resist a little early listen, it will be a permanent resident in my CD player until the new year now and I'll listen to it nearly everyday, I never get tired of it. It won't be the album for everyone but if you like beautiful songs and a classic voice then I would certainly recommend you give it a try.
The CD is harder to find in shops but can be found in many online stores for as little as £4.10 (Selectcheaper.com)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Winter Wonderland
2 Christmas Song
3 White Christmas
4 Silent Night Holy Night
5 Sleigh Ride
6 Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow
7 Sounds Of Christmas
8 Marshmallow World
9 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
10 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
11 Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
12 Do You Hear What I Hear
13 Little Drummer Boy
14 Lord's Prayer
15 When A Child Is Born
16 It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
17 It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
18 Jingle Bells