- Audio Cassette (Aug. 24 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Original recording remastered, Import
- Label: Capitol
- ASIN: B00000JVZT
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
|1. Christmas Song |
|2. Deck the Halls|
|3. Adeste Fideles|
|4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen|
|5. O Tannenbaum|
|6. O Little Town of Bethlehem|
|7. I Saw Three Ships|
|8. O Holy Night|
|9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing|
|10. Cradle in Bethlehem|
|11. Away in a Manger|
|12. Joy to the World|
|13. First Noel|
|14. Caroling, Caroling|
|15. O Come All Ye Faithful|
|16. Silent Night|
|17. Nat's Introduction|
|18. Christmas Song - Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole|
|19. Nat's Christmas Wishes|
|20. Christmas Song [Alternate Take]|
Known for his recording of "The Christmas Song," Cole sings every other Christmas song just as well as he does that classic. Particulary good are "Cradle in Bethlehem" -- which has an outstanding choral support, "O Little Town of Bethlehem", and "O Tannenbaum." There are only two other Christmas albums that rise to the level of "The Christmas Song": Johnny Mathis' "Merry Christmas" and Alan Jackson's 2002 release: "Let It Be Christmas."
Nat's album gets the nod because he has far more songs (19) on his album than either Mathis or Jackson.
But that's your top three of all-time folks. Sinatra, Crosby, Como, The Carpenters ... all are good, but never really approach Nat King Cole's album when one considers the quality and quantity of the songs on that album.
It's really striking how good it is. And how long is has stood the test of time. He had a voice made for Christmas.
This reissue features the standard 1961 version of Cole's timeless "The Christmas Story" (written by Mel Torme and Bob Wells); Cole did three other versions prior to the Carmichael take, going as far back as 1946 (the first without a string section). These three versions have not been the reissue standard since '61. However, two other renderings are represented on this CD:  another stale cut-n-paste duet with daughter Natelie (MOR radio has Hallmark to thank) and  a hidden bonus version, more piano-based, featuring only a small string section (likely the second 1946 version, which was the first "Christmas Song" to chart). In other good news, there's also first-to-CD versions of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "O' Come All Ye Faithful" (the latter of which is worth the price of admission alone), plus two King Cole spoken greetings.
My feeling is that no serious music collection should be without a compilation of Nat "King" Cole's Holiday classic. I'm biased, of course, because Cole is my favorite singer, but the music stands on it own as timeless. There are many Christmas-themed CDs available from this artist, but this is as good as any, if not the top so far.