Review by Frankie Hagan
Before he was the Chairman of the Board and made the words cool and swingin’ synonymous with himself, Frank Sinatra was a skinny young singer attempting to follow in the footsteps of his personal heroes, like Bing Crosby. Newly signed to Columbia Records, he was yet to have his fall from popularity and his return to prominence, or to attain his eternal hepcat status at the centerpiece of the Rat Pack. Christmas Songs by Sinatra, newly re-released for the holidays by Sony Records, collects all of the smooth yuletide standards recorded by the young king of croon during this Columbia period.
The album celebrates the great Christian holiday standards of yore, from “Jingle Bells” to “Joy to the World,” and includes previously unreleased alternate takes of lovely classics, like “White Christmas,” and “Silent Night, Holy Night.” Don’t be shocked, or even mildly surprised, by the fact that this disc never really swings–this would be the wrong recording period for that kind of originality in Sinatra’s Yuletide cheer. But, if you love a traditional lilt to your Christmas music, this is the collection for you.
The liner notes in the accompanying booklet are excellent, relating the history of the recordings and giving their appropriate release time stamp–a real treat for music aficionados. As a whole, this album allows the listener to chart the growth of a singer, and honestly enjoy some great music.