1. Joy to the World (1:49)
2. Coventry Carol (1:33)
3. O Come, O Come, Immanuel (1:27)
4. Silent Night (1:57)
5. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1:44)
6. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1:22)
7. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (2:17)
8. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1:30)
9. Cool Yule (1:50)
Along with Listener Greg G., I think it's time to take aim at the subtle Grinchiness around this blog with some joyous Christmas music. If the Christmas spirit hasn't got hold of you yet, these songs will provide an immediate cure.
These are the rarest albums in the J's with Jamie catalog, culled from two LPs the group recorded as a Christmas gift for friends, family, and business associates. The first, Season's Greetings, bills the group as Jamie and the J. Silvia singers, while the second, Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men, carries the J's with Jamie name. "Cool Yule" only appears on the first album.
Columbia producer Ernie Altschuler got his first taste of the group's swinging style while they were in Chicago recording these tracks. He signed them to an exclusive record deal, launching the pop side of their career.
There's a broad range of styles across the nine tracks. The first four are straight versions that echo the popular Christmas music of the early 1960s, though you'll have to look far to find harmonies executed and mixed this brilliantly. "O Come, O Come, Immanuel," the first a capella track I've heard from the group, is perhaps the best example.
The modern songs all sparkle with the swinging sound that characterized the band's Columbia albums. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" defines the J's with Jamie sound. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" opens with the warm, soulful performace found on the group's sentimental numbers. There's no better version of this song in existence, in my opinion.
For fun, there's "Cool Yule" with it's samba-infused beat and a cha-cha and Chipmunk take on "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Check out Len Dresslar's singing on, "Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?" and you'll immediately recognize the voice of the Jolly Green Giant.
Whether you've got your parents, mods, hipsters, dance or alternative fans rocking around your Christmas tree, these songs are sure to be a hit when they pop up on your Christmas playlist. Thanks go out to Jim Maroney for making this early Christmas present possible.