The Sound of Christmas-Vol. 2

As I combed through my record collection to find another holiday album to toss into the mix of reviews and recommendations, I realized I’ve come to a point where I can no longer identify the origins of my “new” additions. I have no idea where I got The Sound of Christmas — Vol. 2, but I know it must have been from a resale shop or a closeout bin somewhere. When I pulled it off my shelf, I found two other unrelated Christmas albums shoved inside the sleeve. A Christmas miracle!

The most delightful thing about The Sound of Christmas – Vol. 2 is the variety of artists on it and the way in which the track list takes you off the beaten path.

Yes, there are the well-known classic recordings like Nat King Cole’s “Deck the Halls” and — one of my favorites — Bing Crosby’s “What Child Is This/Holly and the Ivy” medley (also available on Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics). But I did not expect to hear the likes of Tennessee Ernie Ford and Glen Campbell.

Because there are a multitude of other places to find the predictable tracks, let me list the harder-to-find gems that make this album unique:

2. “The Virgin’s Slumber Song” by Tennessee Ernie Ford

This is the second track on the album, preceded only by a medley of the traditional Christmas carols you’d expect on a collection like this. Changing pace ever so slightly early on — with Ford’s deep baritone voice backed up by a rich, beautiful choir near the top of Side A — should have been my first clue that this record wouldn’t be as ho-hum as I thought it would be.

My limited research suggests this is probably the hardest-to-find track on the album. Tennessee Ernie Ford has done some Christmas albums but few appear to be available with this song. My search to bring you an MP3 or YouTube video was unsuccessful.

7. “The Christmas Waltz” by Nancy Wilson

This is not an uncommon recording. Nancy Wilson’s rendition of “The Christmas Waltz” can be found in other places, including Ultimate Christmas Cocktails.  In this collection, it kicks off the B-side of the record and altogether hits the spot when nestled between The Hollywood Pops Orchestra’s version of “Caroling Caroling” and The Lettermen’s “Silent Night.”

8. “Silent Night” by The Lettermen

An oft-overlooked all-male quartet, The Lettermen are one of the best groups to enjoy over the holidays. Their dulcet notes and tight harmonies warm up any room. You’ll surely enjoy this arrangement of “Silent Night.”

9. “Christmas Is For Children” by Glen Campbell

This was the track that surprised me the most. With my record player spinning across the room, I first mistook the singer as Johnny Mathis (my turntable sometimes spins at a slower speed than it should, making Johnny Mathis sound like he has a cold or, as it turns out, like Glen Campbell). Quite different from “Galveston” and other classic Campbell country tunes, “Christmas Is For Children” is a sweet sentimental song, and Glen delivers it with grace.

* * * * * *

If operatic carols are your style, you might also enjoy “Ave Maria” by Franco Corelli — the Johann Sebastian Bach/Charles Gounod “Ave Maria,” to be specific.

Sprinkled throughout the album are tracks by the generically-named Hollywood Pops Orchestra, accompanied by a kitschy assortment of singers who sometimes sound quite similar to the Ray Charles Singers (to give you an idea). All the Pops numbers are arranged by William Loose and serve as the pleasant musical ribbon to tie this collection together.

* * * * * *

Want your own copy? This record doesn’t appear to have been re-released digitally or otherwise. If you specifically want everything on this record, including the Hollywood Pops Orchestra selections, you can purchase vinyl-to-digital dubs here. Pre-owned LPs are available for purchase here and here.

Otherwise, I recommend taking a look at the complete track list (below) and use your search engine to find alternate releases of the tracks you’re interested in.

Complete Track List

1. “Christmas Colors” (Medley) by The Hollywood Pops Orchestra
2. “The Virgin’s Slumber Song” by Tennessee Ernie Ford
3. “The Christmas Song” by Peggy Lee
4. “Deck the Halls” by Nat King Cole
5. “What Child Is This?” and “The Holly and the Ivy” by Bing Crosby
6. Caroling, Caroling by The Hollywood Pops Orchestra

1. “The Christmas Waltz” by Nancy Wilson
2. “Silent Night” by The Lettermen
3. “Christmas Is For Children” by Glen Campbell
4. “A Dream Of Toyland” by The Hollywood Pops Orchestra
5. “Ave Maria” by Franco Corelli
6. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen by Nat King Cole/
We Wish You A Merry Christmas by The Hollywood Pops Orchestra