- At long last - Capitol Records has That Christmas Feeling. Glen Campbell’s first Christmas album, from 1968, has long been absent from CD, but the label has rectified that with the new release of Campbell’s ICON Christmas. Though retitled and with new artwork, ICON Christmas is, in fact, That Christmas Feeling as newly remastered by Mike Jones at Universal Mastering. (The previous, now-hard-to-find CD issue, from the Netherlands, also presented the album with new art.) Produced by Al De Lory – who also helmed many of Campbell’s classic singles including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” – That Christmas Feeling has the same warm, orchestral pop-country style as those timeless 45s. Three of the album’s eleven songs came from the pen of legendary wordsmith Sammy Cahn, two with his frequent music man Jimmy Van Heusen. “Christmas is For Children” (also recorded by Jo Stafford) and “It Must Be Getting Close to Christmas” were the Cahn/Van Heusen contributions; Cahn also adapted the familiar 19th century melody “There’s No Place Like Home,” a.k.a. “Home Sweet Home.” Glen also brought his smooth tones to familiar holiday tunes like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” as well as Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” and Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains.” A true seasonal staple, it’s good to have That Christmas Feeling in stores once again. Don’t be fooled by the new cover art and skimpy packaging (lacking liner notes or any indication of the songs’ origins) – this is the real deal. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
After the jump: what Christmas-themed reissues are on the way from Al Hirt and Judy Collins?
- Friday Music’s Relayer Records imprint drops Al Hirt’s 1965 release The Sound of Christmas on October 15 in an expanded edition. The Dixieland-styled New Orleans trumpeter (1922-1999) – likely most famous for his Grammy-winning Top 5 recording of Allen Toussaint’s “Java” – recorded The Sound of Christmas in Nashville with producer Jim Foglesong at RCA’s own studios. Hirt tackled familiar repertoire, with the first side of the original vinyl album dedicated to secular songs (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Silver Bells”) and the second to religious-themed music (“Ave Maria,” “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night”). Friday has added two bonus songs from a non-LP single, “Hooray for Santa Claus” b/w “White Christmas,” to the original fourteen tracks. This expanded edition marks the album’s return to CD, as RCA’s own 1992 reissue has fallen out-of-print. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
- On October 22, folk chanteuse Judy Collins will revisit her 2007 All on a Wintry Night in a tweaked edition arriving on CD from her own Wildflower imprint. That album, however, was actually a revised version of 1994’s Come Rejoice! A Judy Collins Christmas. The newly-titled Christmas with Judy Collins, packaged in a digipak, drops two tracks from the original 1994 album (“White Christmas/Happy New Year” and “Little Road to Bethlehem”) as the 2007 version did, and adds four songs (“Angels in the Snow,” “The Blizzard,” “The Wexford Carol” and a duet with Tyne Daly, “In the Bleak Midwinter”) to the line-up. All but “Angels in the Snow” also appeared on the 2007 iteration, so “Angels in the Snow” is the lone track making its first appearance on CD. In any version, however, Christmas affords a chance to hear Collins’ crystalline soprano in a spare, art-song-styled setting featuring the Trinity Boys Choir, the St. Thomas Boys Choir, and the Stephen Hill Singers. Occasionally somber and frequently stately, the reflective, elegant Christmas with Judy Collins is a singular holiday release. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)