Motown issued a sizable amount of seasonal material, and as this two-disc, 51-track collection shows, a lot of it was done at a high level of quality. There are simply some wonderful Christmas sides here, including the Jackson 5's buoyant "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," the Temptations' delightfully rendered "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," the Funk Brothers' surging and joyous instrumental take on "Winter Wonderland," Smokey Robinson's hopeful "Christmas Everyday," the Four Tops' lightly funky "Merry Christmas Baby," and a pair of odd but beautiful Marvin Gaye pieces, "Christmas in the City" and the achingly perfect "I Want to Come Home for Christmas."
Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas is a charming, warmly humorous – and yes, swinging – set of classic Christmas tunes. The program is familiar, from bouncy singalongs like "Jingle Bells" to slinky ballads like a downright sexy "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," but Fitzgerald treats each song with exactly as much respect as it deserves…
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS, is the outstanding holiday companion to 1991's: HE IS CHRISTMAS. With the great arrangements of the latter, there were a few complaints that the Christmas standards were "unrecognizable." Refreshing in my opinion. This new effort should please most everyone. Unique, is what you have to call Take 6. Always taking even the familiar to another level.
In the early '50s, Ray Charles took the fiery passion of gospel and the hard-hitting sound of the blues, and by putting them together he created a whole new sound in rhythm & blues that helped make him a legend in American music.