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a qualified recommendation that begins with the phrase, "This isn't nearly
as bad as you might think." But it's not - really! I would
argue that The
Partridge Family made some really great records - singles, at least,
if not albums. Songs like "I
Think I Love You," "I'll Meet You Halfway," and "I Woke
Up In Love This Morning" sounded great on a transistor radio, and David
Cassidy (aka Keith Partridge) was a powerful singer (and pretty easy in
the eyes...). If this fictional family also produced a lot of indefensible
fluff, well, I was smack in the middle of the target demographic for their
popular TV show (I was a pre-teen during its three-year run). So, gimme
All the same, A
Partridge Family Christmas Card (Bell, 1971) consists of solid, well-sung
pop music throughout, if little else. Compared to many Christmas records
- which tend to be worse than an artist's normal output - this
one acquits itself nicely, applying the group's trademark
harmonies and tasteful bubblegum sheen to ten standards
and one original, Tony Romeo's "My Christmas Card To You."
The Partridges even rock
a bit (check out "Jingle Bells"), while
other songs ("White Christmas") have a folksy feel (sort of).
The album only really drags when Shirley Jones (Cassidy's real-life stepmother,
and Keith's TV mom) takes the spotlight - something she was never allowed
to do on the group's regular records.
that some of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood backed up Cassidy and company
- I mean, they didn't let Danny Bonaduce and Susan Dey actually play on the
records! The supporting cast included guitarist Tommy Tedesco, drummer Hal
Blaine, keyboardist Larry Knechtel, and bass player Joe Osborne, as well as
songwriting teams as distinguished as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill, Terry
Cashman and Tommy West, and Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
In the end, Christmas
Card is a just a good Partridge Family record - meaning that
they didn't "phone it in," and if you like the group, you'll like the record.
If you think Cassidy, Jones, and crew were wimps, well,
at least they were wimps with quality control. Still, it's worth noting that 45 years later, David Cassidy recorded a little digital EP called simply Christmas (2016). My mother taught me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything - so I'll leave it that...
Consumer Notes. Big Partridge Family fans
will want to chase down an original LP copy of Christmas
Card (try eBay).
The early pressings of the album had an actual, detachable Christmas card affixed
to the cover. Later pressings (and Razor & Tie's CD reissue) used the picture from the
- Jingle Bells
My Christmas Card To You
Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
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