Ol' Blue eyes adds character to 18 holiday classics, including three previously unavailable tracks. A new version of "Silent Night" was assembled using an unreleased vocal track recorded by the late crooner in August 1991, which was conducted by his son Frank Sinatra Jr., arranged by Johnny Mandel and performed by many of Sinatra's former studio and touring musicians. Initially intended for a children's charity project, Daughter Nancy Sinatra says of the recording, "It was an emotional day, because he was doing it for the children. It is so sweet and tender that it is just heart-wrenching."
Released for the first time "The Christmas Song" and "White Christmas" (arranged by Nelson Riddle and performed with Bing Crosby) were both taken from the one time only aired 1957 ABC television special "Happy Holidays with Bing & Frank". The other 15 recordings on the CD were culled from "The Twelve songs of Christmas" (1964), "The Sinatra family wish you a Merry Christmas" (1969) and all of Frank's Reprise-era holiday recordings.
The CD provides a pleasing flow between serious and happy Christmas songs with only a few religious tracks. The production is typical Frank and the arrangements are by either Nelson Riddle or Don Costa. The added dimension of Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, the Jimmy Joyce Singers and the duets with Bing really add to the flow of style and variation of orchestration.
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" and "The Bells of Christmas (Greensleves)", which include Franks' children, add nothing musically to speak of to the otherwise enjoyable collection of songs. However, Christmas is about family and the warm feeling provided by these songs perhaps justify there inclusion. The highlights include a moving version of "The Little Drummer Boy" and a nice swingin' arrangement of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" that had my wife smilin', dancin', and prancin'.
This is Christmas done by an original, there is always something special about a Sinatra track. The CD would be a great stocking find or worth Santa's trip down the chimney. Perfect for mood music during holiday festivities, especially moments that includes firelight.