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of Motown's Christmas music is pretty great, but the mighty
cut the merriest, most mellow LP of them all. Their Christmas
Card (1970) compiled a couple of earlier Christmas
singles with some superb new sides. The Temptations were
arguably the supreme performers in the Motown stable (pun
intended), and their soulful command of these songs is
Card kicks off with an impossibly smooth "Rudolph
The Red-Nosed Reindeer" that really has to be heard
to be believed - they actually make the song sound sexy!
Then, their take on Jimmy Webb's "My Christmas Tree"
delivers the knockout punch. The rest of the disc is almost
as great, including a classic Motown treatment of "Santa
Claus Is Coming To Town," a basso profundo rendition
of "Someday At Christmas," and a wonderful,
rhapsodic interpretation "Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Let It Snow!"
The Temptations cut another Christmas album, Give
Love At Christmas (1980) highlighted by a percolating version of Smokey
Robinson's "Christmas Everyday." It's a decent record, but the
group had lost their edge, and it pales next to their original effort. The
two LP's were originally reissued on two-for-one
CD in 1986 (and quickly deleted - good luck finding that one), then later
as separate discs.
While the 2001 reissue Best
Of The Temptations Christmas is nicely packaged, newly mastered, and includes a rare bonus track,
it merely dilutes the strength of the 1970 album. This CD runs a paltry twelve tracks and includes
barely half the Temptations' brilliant first Christmas album. Considering Motown could have fit all
both albums on one CD (and, in fact, did on an earlier
Of The Temptations Christmas should be considered a botched job. Given the digital alchemy Motown
performed on Christmas albums by the Supremes, the Miracles,
and Stevie Wonder, Best
Of The Temptations Christmas is a grave disappointment. (2003's 20th
Century Masters: The Christmas Collection, by the way, is merely a carbon copy of Best
Of The Temptations Christmas.) [top of page]
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1970)
My Christmas Tree (1969)
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1968)
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970)
Someday At Christmas (1970)
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