“White Christmas/A Christmas Special” – Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney

Fact: Christmas is not Christmas without Bing Crosby.

I got this hard-to-find LP from a friend and former WSUMer who discovered it at a resale shop either here in Madison or down in Chicago. Side A features Bing Crosby, and Clooney fans can flip to Side B.

If you’re not fortunate to own this record, it is available on iTunes under the new name “A Christmas Special.” Beware: The sound quality is not what you’d expect from iTunes — it appears the CD was dubbed straight from the LP itself.

Tracks to treasure:

1. “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby
Of course I’m going to recommend this! It’s the quintessential Christmas song sung by the voice of Christmas himself. It’s widely available everywhere, even if you can’t find this album easily.

4. “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” by Rosemary Clooney
You’ll notice right away that Rosemary is notably older than her “Mambo Italiano” days in this recording, but she hasn’t lost her uncanny ability to hit each note right on its head. This arrangement is elegantly simple — other than a few interludes by a small woodwind section, it’s just Rosemary accompanied by solo piano.

7. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra
Ol’ Blue Eyes joins Bing for this single-versed rendition of O Little Town of Bethlehem. If you don’t like Frank, don’t worry – you can barely discern him from that other blue-eyed crooner.

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