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C.A.T.: A Christmas Gift For You from Phil Spector

Darlene Love, The Ronettes, The Crystals, Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans – A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector (1963)

Seeing as though Christmas is almost here, I might as well review this masterful collection of some of the most beloved Christmas songs overseen by none other than producer Phil Spector at the height of his powers. I really can’t say I’ve heard a better collection of Christmas songs, and it’s all thanks to Spector’s signature sound combined with his love for the music of the Holiday season.

With A Christmas Gift For You, Phil Spector focused the attention that he had been put into all of the singles he was producing into a full album, and he used all of his most successful artists at the time. However, the album was initially somewhat of a flop considering the amount of success Spector had been having up to this point. This was basically due to the fact that this jolly collection of songs unfortunately was released on the same day as the Kennedy Assassination, but the album has been acknowledged as a classic in later years. Many of the versions are staples of the Christmas season, especially Darlene Love’s original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”.

Most of these songs are ones that we’ve all heard a gazillion times, but it’s the way that Phil Spector utilizes his signature “Wall of Sound” technique that makes these songs seem so fresh and inviting. You hear plenty of the driving strings, thunderous drums, and lush vocal arrangements that you’d come to expect from a Phil Spector single. Most of the recognizable standards such as “White Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman” have pretty unique arrangements to them and there’s also a few underrated less-popular Christmas song such “The Bells of St. Mary” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” that are also found on the album.

It’s kind of hard to escape many of the versions of these holiday classics this time of year, and it’s not hard to see why, Spector’s musical style works great with the music of Christmas. I certainly look forward to listening to this album whenever Christmas is upon us, and I’m sure I’ll keep coming back to it with each coming Holiday season.

Favorite Tracks: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, “Sleigh Ride”, “Marshmallow World”

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