The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 5 collects more pop and rock holiday tunes, this time venturing further into the '70s and '80s with songs like Paul McCartney & Wings' "Wonderful Christmastime," Hall & Oates' "Jingle Bell Rock," and Barry Manilow's "It's Just Another New Year's Eve." The collection still features traditional pop chestnuts, including Dean Martin's "A Marshmallow World," Johnny Mathis' "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)," and Andy Williams' "Sleigh Ride," but this volume's overall feel is more contemporary than classic. Other highlights include Manhattan Transfer's "A Christmas Love Song," the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," the Tokens' "Little Drummer Boy," and the Jackson 5's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." If The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 5 isn't necessarily the most coherent volume in the series, it's certainly one of the most interesting.
The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 6: WCBS FM 101.1 is another eclectic collection of pop holiday tunes from the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s, including Wham!'s "Last Christmas," the Beach Boys' "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," and Andy Williams' "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!." Aretha Franklin's "Winter Wonderland," America's "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and Connie Francis' "White Christmas" are some of the other highlights from this scattered compilation, which somehow mixes different sounds and eras into a festive celebration.
Volume two of Collectables' Ultimate Christmas Album gathers more classic pop and rock holiday tunes, including the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick," Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus," and Diana Ross & the Supremes' "White Christmas." Most of this volume's best-known tracks are by traditional pop crooners, such as Dean Martin's "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," Bing Crosby's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," and Burl Ives' "Holly Jolly Christmas." However, less-familiar tracks like the Echelons' "A Christmas Long Ago (Jingle Jingle)," Augie Rios' "Donde Esta Santa Claus," and Barry Gordon's "Nuttin' for Christmas" prevent the collection from being too predictable. It's not exactly a straightforward holiday-hits compilation, but The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 2 balances enough standards and obscure tunes to make it a unique collection.
Another installment in Collectables' The Ultimate Christmas Album series, volume four gathers a mix of well-known and offbeat holiday tunes, including Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," the Platters' "Winter Wonderland," and Perry Como's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." Brook Benton's "You're All I Want for Christmas," Percy Faith's "Christmas Is," and Otis Redding's "Merry Christmas Baby" are some of the collection's soulful highlights, while Santo & Johnny's "Twistin' Bells" and Stan Freberg's "Christmas Dragnet" add some novelty to the festivities. Though it's a somewhat uneven collection, The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 4: WCBS 101.1 has enough interesting and classic moments to make it worthwhile for anyone looking to go beyond the season's basic music.
Oh My Gosh! The Ultimate Christmas Collection includes the hits by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers, Boney M, Christina Aguilera, John Legend, Backstreet Boys, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, Chris Botti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and many more!
Collectables Records' various-artists compilation The Ultimate Christmas Album has been released both on its own and as a tie-in with a series of radio stations. There are identical editions of the album associated with KLUV, K-Earth 101 FM, and WCBS FM-101.1 in addition to this version, WJMK 104.3 Chicago. The word "ultimate" has been overused and misused in record releases to the point that it doesn't mean very much to see it on the cover of an album. Whether or not one considers this album to justify its title will have a lot to do with individual musical taste. If the potential consumer is a listener to one of the radio stations listed above, which are oldies stations devoted to playing pop/rock music of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, he or she may agree that the album is the ultimate in holiday music of that period.
This is a great compilation of group harmony (a.k.a. doo wop) vocal performances, mostly from the 1950s. Some of these tracks circulate widely on holiday compilations, but others are very rare. In my collection, for example, this release is my only source for the tracks by the Shantons, the Golden Gate Quartet, the Larks, and Sir Jablonski.
This double-CD set covers the career of the Glitter Band, who began their career as Gary Glitter's backing band and quickly made the transition to singles act to score a variety of chart hits in Europe during the mid-'70s. All of those hits, plus a copious outpouring of album tracks, B-sides, and outtakes, are represented on Solid Silver: The Ultimate Glitter Band, Vol. 1. At their best, the Glitter Band hit the same combination of pop hooks and rock attitude that typified the best glam songs: "Angel Face" mixes glam chants and a stomping beat to powerful effect and "Goodbye My Love" benefits from a dynamic guitar-driven arrangement that highlights the drama of its lyrics.