Courtesy of RCA Records
Feliz Navidad to everyone! Well, it’s not Christmas season yet, but Mr. Elvis Presley returns to the building for another classic album, 1957’s Elvis’ Christmas Album. The album would be the first of two holiday-themed albums from Elvis. With this fourth studio album comes Presley’s fourth consecutive American number one hit on the billboard charts, with sales eventually bringing triple platinum status. The album has been reissued several different times and has become the best-selling Christmas and holiday album of all time in the U.S. The original LP is composed of eight Christmas songs and four Christmas-friendly gospel songs. While most of the tracks are traditional Christmas songs, two are originals.
The landmark album starts with the heavily blues-based “Santa Claus Is Back in Town.” The track begins with Elvis’ Jordanaires singing “Christmas” in harmony with pounding drums competing with the piano before Elvis lets out his to-die-for voice, almost urging you to have a merry Christmas. The opening track, with a bluesy piano solo in the middle, assures the album will be unforgettable. The next track is the beautifully sung, softer and familiar, “White Christmas.” The Jordanaires’ impeccable background vocals throughout the LP deliver a nicely harmonized back-drop. The following track is the still-commonly-played-during-holiday-times song, “Here Comes Santa Clause (Right Down Santa Clause Lane).” Elvis sings with his rolling vocals at a quicker pace.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” gets the “Elvis treatment” as I like to call it, which is simply beautiful and unmatched singing throughout. A great slower song, Presley finds himself in his trembling vocals which have (or one of the things that have) defined his career. The following song is both an Elvis and a Christmas classic; a remake of the 1949 hit, “Blue Christmas.” The song quickly became one of the holidays’ best-known songs and continues to be played during December today. Although released on the album in 1957, the track wasn’t released as a single until 1964. “Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)” is the second track from the album that was an original at the time. The track contains a quicker pace with great vocals, rhythm section and background vocals.
The familiar gospel song, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” seems a little too slow at first, yet it still finds a way to strike a chord with many hearts. The song “Medley” is another slow track that is as familiar as “Silent Night.” Wait…maybe because it is? “(There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)” is probably my favorite track of the album. Another slower song, it has amazing Jordanaire background vocals to support the essence of the legendary, full-throated Elvis voice treatment.
The track, “I Believe,” is a voice-belting soft-track proving that Elvis can rival even the sweetest singers out there both then and today. “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” is a respectable gospel song with soft and sweet vocals that goes perfectly with the Jordanaires’ backup. Lastly, the final track, “It Is No Secret (What the Lord Can Do)” is a great song to end a great album. The song is sung to perfection and leaves the listener waiting for the next Elvis album.
Elvis’ Christmas Album is a great album to own for holiday purposes, whether you like amazing singing, or even if you just like collecting albums. I strongly suggest this album for music listeners. The album seems a bit boring at first until you get reminded of one of the reasons that you listen to his albums: his voice!
I will start doing Old Tunes Review every other week from now on (as opposed to every week like I had originally intended). The reason for this is that I will start a new blog that (on the flip side) will be posted every other week. If you’re tired of hearing the rock bands (or lack of) nowadays, including the metal bands that seemingly all have growling vocals, check out my new blog starting on Sunday, September 21st. I will cover foreign bands including some from England! A couple of them clearly have “grunge” influences. I will do one band for every week I do this blog that does not yet have a name, and I will continue Old Tunes Review. STAY TUNED!