Disclaimers: contrary to the album's title, these songs weren't holiday hits nor were they all released in the '70s. But enough nitpicking, let's get to the music.
- Yesterday's Christmas - Bobby Sherman (1970): Apparently, unable to come up with a decent melody, Sherman recites nostalgic lyrics about Christmases past over an out of tune accompaniment. Mercifully brief.
- Merry Christmas - Melanie (1970): Easily the worse song on the album. Melanie's vocal shortcomings are readily apparent.
- The Christmas Song - The Jimmy Castor Bunch (1975): Now we're cookin'! Saxophonist Castor turns in an enjoyable version of the Mel Torme classic. Nice arrangement - today I'm really digging on the electric piano part.
- Pine Cones and Holly Berries (with It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas) - The Osmonds (1976): If Branson hadn't already existed, they could have created it specifically for the Osmonds. This song is pure cheese and I love it. The original work is a counter melody to the more familiar It's Beginning to Look... and sure enough, they sing it together at the end. I'm sure it was included on their TV shows and I most likely watched it as my sister made any Osmonds TV appearance required viewing in our house.
- Santa Doesn't Cop Out On Dope - Martin Mull (1973): novelty song #1.
- It Doesn't Have To Be That Way - Jim Croce (1973): Typical Croce fare. A very pleasant little tune, I'm surprised I haven't heard it before. One of the 4 or 5 tunes on the disc to be added to my Christmas rotation.
- Christmas Medley - Liberace (1954): Love him or hate him, Liberace was a very talented pianist and here he brings his characteristic flourishes to a nice arrangement of traditional Christmas tunes. I like it for many reasons, not the least of which is nostalgia - this sounds like something that might have been heard as we decorated the tree when I was a child.
- Jingle Bell Hustle - Wayne Newton (1976): Previously discussed over on the My Favorite Decade blog. Here's some of what I wrote there: "Yes, this is a disco version of Jingle Bells and it's wonderful. Any argument to the contrary is invalid. When the background singers, disco strings, and scratching guitar come in at the chorus, I can't help but move." My favorite tune on the disc.
- Santa Claus And His Old Lady - Cheech & Chong (1971): novelty "song" #2. Unfortunately, the longest track on the compilation.
- I Believe In Christmas - Glen Campbell (1972): Campbell does the best he can with bad material, but even his talents can't save this maudlin thing. I'm guessing this was written for one of his TV specials?
- All I Want To Ask Santa Claus - Ricky Segall & The Segalls (1973): novelty song #3.
Ricky during his stint on The Partridge Family
- Winter Wonderland - Donny & Marie (1976): more overproduced, cheesy fun with some Osmonds. I must admit, however, it's a little disturbing to hear a brother and sister sing lyrics that indicate a desire to get married.
- Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Sherman (1970): a better attempt by Sherman than the first track, but there's nothing here to set this apart from other covers of this song.
- Santafly - Martin Mull, with The Sondra Baskin Glee Club (1977): novelty song #4 (and the flip side of novelty song #1, above). This track might have once been considered funny, now it's just offensive.
- Another Rock 'N' Roll Christmas - Gary Glitter (1984): Never heard this roots rock attempt at a Christmas tune until I picked up this CD. And for good reason.
- Grandpa's Christmas Wish - Will Geer (Grandpa Walton) (1974): Geer, in character as Zeb Walton, offers up a spoken-word reminiscence of what Christmas means to him. As far as spoken-word pieces go, this one isn't bad. If your family was like mine and faithfully watched The Waltons on Thursday nights, you should hear this track at least once, then ask the Baldwin sisters to pass you a bottle of "the recipe."
Previously revisited for the blog:
Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vols. 1 - 25