Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection

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Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection
Frank-sinatra-christmas-collection.jpg
Compilation album by Frank Sinatra
Released October 26, 2004
Recorded December 20, 1957 - August 27, 1991
Genre Traditional pop, classic pop, jazz
Label Reprise
Frank Sinatra chronology
The Platinum Collection
(2004)
Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection
(2004)
Romance
(2004)

The Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection is a 2004 Christmas album from Frank Sinatra. The selection of tracks on the album spans Sinatra's career from 1957 to 1991 and includes four previously unavailable tracks[1]—two previously unreleased on CD and two previously unreleased in any format—the latter the last Christmas carol Sinatra recorded.

Description[edit]

The album was released by Warner Music Group on October 26, 2004.[1] It features 18 Christmas-themed tracks recorded by Sinatra from 1957 to 1991,[2] including all the holiday tracks recorded by Sinatra during his years with the Reprise label.[1] Two tracks previously unreleased on CD were featured on the album.[1][2] They were renditions of "The Christmas Song" and "White Christmas",[1][2][3] both duets recorded with Bing Crosby and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra from the 1957 ABC television special Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank, which aired only once, on December 20 of that year.[1]

Sinatra's last recorded Christmas carol[edit]

A third previously unreleased track included on the album was an acoustic recording of "Silent Night" recorded by Sinatra in 1991 with his son Frank Sinatra, Jr. at the piano, for a children's charity benefit. It was Sinatra's last recorded Christmas carol.[1][2][3] The then-75-year-old Sinatra had not made any recordings for three years, and the track was not released at the time. For the original 2004 album release, the backing for the vocal was rearranged by former Sinatra collaborator Johnny Mandel using a group of former Sinatra backing musicians including pianist Bill Miller, guitarists Al Viola and Ron Anthony, bassists Chuck Berghofer and Jim Hughart and percussionist Larry Bunker, conducted by Sinatra Jr.[1] Of the recording, Sinatra Jr. said "The whole crew was there ... So except for the absence of Frank Sinatra, it was a typical Sinatra recording date. We all expected he'd come walking in at any moment."[3] According to Sinatra Jr., it took two years for producer Charles Pignone to persuade Warner Bros. to finance the recording: "This is not the kind of music that people at record companies have interest in ... They will spend millions, millions, to develop some inconsequential rock or rap group, but when Charles approached with a budget of some $30,000 to make a brand new Frank Sinatra song, there was great reluctance."[3]

Sinatra's daughter Nancy said of the track: "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."[1][3]

Critical reception[edit]

Mark Sabbatini of allaboutjazz.com described the album as uneven, with good early "swinging" tracks giving way to less interesting later recordings "drowning in strings and cheesy arrangements".[2] He considers the two 1957 duets with Crosby a highlight. The three mid-album tracks from the 1960s, featuring vocals by Sinatra and his family, Sabbatini refers to as "tiresome ... novelty-item treatment".[2] He described the final "Silent Night" recording by the then-75-year-old Sinatra as "... off in both pitch and cadence, and ... a terribly sad reminder of how frail he was at the end of his career."[2] Overall, he describes the album as "a good match for two groups: those without a Sinatra holiday album wanting a sampler rather than something from a specific era and completists seeking the new songs."[2]

Edna Gunderson of USA Today describes the final track as "a little blue" compared to the rest, which have "a merrier lilt".[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" (from Ring-a-Ding-Ding!) (Irving Berlin)
  2. "The Christmas Waltz" (with the Jimmy Joyce Singers and Orchestra under the direction of Nelson Riddle, from The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas (Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn)
  3. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (from Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank, previously unissued version) (J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie)
  4. "The Little Drummer Boy" (with Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, from 12 Songs of Christmas (Katherine K. Davis)
  5. "We Wish You the Merriest" (with Bing Crosby & Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, from 12 Songs of Christmas) (Les Brown)
  6. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (from The Sinatra Christmas Album) (Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane)
  7. "Go Tell It on the Mountain" (with Bing Crosby & Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, from 12 Songs of Christmas) (Traditional, John Wesley Work III)
  8. "The Christmas Song" (with Bing Crosby, from Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank, previously unissued version) (Mel Tormé, Robert Wells)
  9. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (with Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, from 12 Songs of Christmas) (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Johnny Marks)
  10. "I Wouldn't Trade Christmas" (with Tina, Nancy & Frank Sinatra, Jr. and the Jimmy Joyce Singers & Orchestra under the direction of Nelson Riddle, from The 12 Songs of Christmas) (Jimmy Van Heusen, Cahn)
  11. "Christmas Memories" (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Don Costa)
  12. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" (with Tina, Nancy & Frank Sinatra, Jr. and the Jimmy Joyce Singers & Orchestra under the direction of Nelson Riddle, from The 12 Songs of Christmas) (Traditional, Van Heusen, Cahn)
  13. "The Bells of Christmas (Greensleeves)" (with Tina, Nancy & Frank Sinatra, Jr. and the Jimmy Joyce Singers & Orchestra under the direction of Nelson Riddle, from The 12 Songs of Christmas) (Traditional, Van Heusen, Cahn)
  14. "An Old-Fashioned Christmas" (with Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, from The 12 Songs of Christmas) (Van Heusen, Cahn)
  15. "A Baby Just Like You" (John Denver, Joe Henry)
  16. "Whatever Happened to Christmas" (with the Jimmy Joyce Singers & Orchestra under the direction of Nelson Riddle, from The 12 Songs of Christmas) (Jimmy Webb)
  17. "White Christmas" (with Bing Crosby, from Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank, previously unissued version) (Berlin)
  18. Bonus Track: "Silent Night" (previously unissued version) (Josef Mohr, Franz X. Gruber

Personnel[edit]

  • Vocals: Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Tina Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, Jimmy Joyce Singers
  • Arrangers: Nelson Riddle, Don Costa, Dick Reynolds, Harry Betts, Jack Holloran

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Sinatra Returns To The Studio One Last Time". investors.wmg.com. Warner Music Group. 2004-10-26. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Sabbatini, Mark (2004-12-15). "Frank Sinatra: The Frank Sinatra Christmas Collection (2004)". allaboutjazz.com. All About Jazz. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Gunderson, Edna (2004-11-30). "Sinatra's last Christmas song". usatoday.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015.