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We Wish You a Merry Christmasby Ray Conniff
Ray Conniff was only a step or two above Lawrence Welk, where edginess is concerned, on the easy listening scale, and it is true that his albums could often have a sort of bland, soulless quality in their weakest moments. Nevertheless, there is something undeniably lovely about the orchestral and vocal arrangements on many of his albums,/a>… See more details below
Ray Conniff was only a step or two above Lawrence Welk, where edginess is concerned, on the easy listening scale, and it is true that his albums could often have a sort of bland, soulless quality in their weakest moments. Nevertheless, there is something undeniably lovely about the orchestral and vocal arrangements on many of his albums, and that is never more so the case than on We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Even if you ignore the album's holiday aim, it is possibly Conniff's single finest recorded moment, with an incomparably strong choral vocal performance from his Singers. You cannot really segregate the music from its purpose, however, and to do so would be to gloss over the album's single greatest attribute: its timeless, sparkling mood. It remains as fresh, in its way, 30 years later as it was on the day that it was recorded. Moreover, it can rightly be called a Christmas classic. While most of Conniff's music has drastically dated, some of it quaintly and some of it rather embarrassingly, few albums have come along in the subsequent years that have better captured the sort of sprightly holiday joie de vivre present on the album, nor its wonderfully exuberant, almost guileless charm. There is a nostalgic cast to the music, even if you aren't exactly certain what you are being nostalgic about. It instantly invokes the kind of old-time Christmases that existed in the pre-urban sprawl past (sleigh rides, ice skating on rural rivers, carolers moving from house to house), even if you never actually experienced them yourself and even if they no longer exist in quite that same way anymore, or were rosy fictions in the first place aside from on tree ornaments and in Andy Williams television specials. On strictly musical terms, the backing is mostly unobtrusive, a pleasant but rather conventional orchestral backdrop. Still, the music is delicately played and always pretty. That prettiness is simply overshadowed by wonderful arrangements, particularly the vocal arrangements. In addition to a wonderful take on "Ring Christmas Bells" and one of the few recorded "Twelve Days of Christmas" that doesn't ultimately grow irksome, Conniff spliced together four expert medleys for the album. But the superior singing is what makes the album so special. The Singers effortlessly pull off intricate rounds ("Ring Christmas Bells") and glorious harmonies throughout that seem tailor made for tunes such as "The Little Drummer Boy" and "O Holy Night." In places, they even almost manage to swing along with the orchestra. Hip or not, though (and it is not far often than it is), We Wish You a Merry Christmas is a gorgeous little gift package ringing with the season's jubilant spirit.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsRay Conniff Primary Artist
Ray Conniff Singers Track Performer
Technical CreditsRay Conniff Arranger
Bob Ballard Session Supervisor
Mark Leontovich Composer
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This album is one of the ''True Classic'' Christmas albums to be treasured each holiday season. The medley of ''Let it snow/Count Your Blessings/We Wish You a Merry Christmas''' is worth the price of the cd alone. What the reviewer above doesn't understand is that a Christmas album is not supposed to be hip. Ray Conniff did produce many bland easy listening lp's in the 60's but he also gave us this gem of a Christmas LP. The whole concept of the album was to re-create the excitement young adults (with young children) feel at Christmas in the danceable rythms of the period (waltz,mambo,etc.). When it was released it was a great Christmas party album. Today, it is a nostalgic reminder of the parents of us baby-boomers who loved to dance, drink Manhattens and celebrate the season with joy and anticipation. If you don't believe me, put this on the car stereo and take your kids around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas Lights. You won't find a better soundtrack. One of my top 10