Collectables presents 24 more of the greatest holiday hits of all time. All songs are the original hits by the original artists that made them great. Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Bing Cosby, Brian Wilson, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow, Luther Vandross, Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kenny Loggins, Buster Poindexter, Englebert Humperdinck, Donny Osmond, John Denver, The Manhattan Transfer, Gladys Knight, Kenny Vance, Bobby Vinton and Aretha Franklin.
Christmas probably sounded a lot like this in Hoboken, circa the late 1930s: A skinny kid with a huge voice leading friends through favorite carols like "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Greensleeves." Fast forward and that skinny kid is no longer just another voice in the crowd. All ears are turned his way as he croons through a whole new set of Christmas standards, from "The Christmas Waltz" to "I Wouldn't Trade Christmas." Sinatra is in fine voice on this 13-song set, which boasts some of the better arrangements you'll hear on a seasonal album.
The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 5 collects more pop and rock holiday tunes, this time venturing further into the '70s and '80s with songs like Paul McCartney & Wings' "Wonderful Christmastime," Hall & Oates' "Jingle Bell Rock," and Barry Manilow's "It's Just Another New Year's Eve." The collection still features traditional pop chestnuts, including Dean Martin's "A Marshmallow World," Johnny Mathis' "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)," and Andy Williams' "Sleigh Ride," but this volume's overall feel is more contemporary than classic. Other highlights include Manhattan Transfer's "A Christmas Love Song," the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," the Tokens' "Little Drummer Boy," and the Jackson 5's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." If The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 5 isn't necessarily the most coherent volume in the series, it's certainly one of the most interesting.
Another installment in Collectables' The Ultimate Christmas Album series, volume four gathers a mix of well-known and offbeat holiday tunes, including Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," the Platters' "Winter Wonderland," and Perry Como's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." Brook Benton's "You're All I Want for Christmas," Percy Faith's "Christmas Is," and Otis Redding's "Merry Christmas Baby" are some of the collection's soulful highlights, while Santo & Johnny's "Twistin' Bells" and Stan Freberg's "Christmas Dragnet" add some novelty to the festivities. Though it's a somewhat uneven collection, The Ultimate Christmas Album, Vol. 4: WCBS 101.1 has enough interesting and classic moments to make it worthwhile for anyone looking to go beyond the season's basic music.