Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Album - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

Sadly, Zappa never released a Christmas anything, so I can't do Zappadon (but I do have a plan for next Christmas, or maybe an entire month. Don't worry you're pretty little head). This is the Christmas album, and last for this month (unless I decide to change my mind), by Herb Alpert. Now I feel he gets a bit of a bad rep, lots of people seem to know Whipped Cream & Other Delights only because of the cover. Well.... if you dig deeper the songs aren't that bad on that record. I own The Lonely Bull, !!Going Places!! and What Now My Love on vinyl. I plan to eventually get all of those records, plus sometimes he has pretty girls on the cover.... So that's a plus.
  1. Winter Wonderland: What can I say about this Christmas classic.....  Well this version is kind of fun. It isn't so overtly this song, I mean I hear it, but it doesn't just bother me to where I"m like shut this off. Maybe it's because it could be in a different key, or the choir, but I like the lack of vocals (lead vocals). This is a pretty promising opening.
  2. Jingle Bells: Fucking again with this song. You have to be joking at this point. It's unavoidable, and get no one has realized its annoying as fuck. This version of the song may not be as bad, but I haven't really heard a version I do like. This beginning reminds me a bit of Our Prayer by The Beach Boys (who's Christmas album will be for next year). I really like this rhythm, one which is very fun to hear. I kind of feel like this would be in the Christmas episode of Arrested Development. Odd thing to think, but that show has lots of horns and I could totally see this being in the show. It would fit quite snug. And I'm actually enjoying a version of the song.
  3. My Favorite Things: While I already have my favorite version, John Coltrane's 1961 title track version, I would still be interested in hearing what Herbie has to add to this song. I like his ensemble (or set up rather) of the group so I think this might be good. It's funny, a week or so ago this movie was on the tele. While this is a pretty nice version, digging that guitar, I have to say Coltrane takes the cake for best version. This continues that fun feeling with a very Barry string section for say a Bond film-esque feeling. Well technically, Monty Norman but still you get the idea. And that lone piano part, this is a keeper. 
  4. The Christmas Song: This is the first track to have vocals, and I guess it's a nice change of pace. I don't like this song, Merry Christmas to You, not a fan. But this version isn't terrible. It's not, even thought I do enjoy popping him on, Ray Conniff Singers, repetitious.
  5. Las Mananitas: I don't recognize this tune, but I do think it's pretty nice. I like the island feeling percussion (xylophone instrument). This song also has song great guitar and string instrument sounds. This is a very pleasant and would be a great finale to the record. There is a very Ennio feeling I get from this.
  6. Sleigh Ride: I mean I still enjoy this, it's just it's magic is beginning to loose it's magic. I don't really care for this tune, but you know at least it's different than Jimmy's album. Although that march part is pretty cool.
  7. The Bells That Couldn't Jingle: I can't say I know this song. I may have heard it but I don't know it by name. Eh, that intro is something that I'm not really feeling. All though, before he started singing, the rhythm brought to mind "Goodnight friend, but not Goodbye". That song from the Star Wars Holiday Special sung by Bea Arthur.
  8. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow: Well, at least I only have to hear this once this Christmas for a review. This is a pretty standard cover, and fits in with the rest of what was sonically going on here.
  9. Jingle Bell Rock: This is one of those, so fucking stupid what's the point songs. This is one of those, once is enough. Even hearing part of it once is enough. So I'm hoping this ends up being unique or different and not just a straight cover. This is a fairly straight version of the song we know, but an instrumental.
  10. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring: I like this tune, like the actual composition. I'm glad it's here, I'vent seen it, to what I can recall, on a Christmas record yet. This is faithful to the original, even has a harpsichord. Though there are horns. This is a nice closer, though I wish the song mentioned earlier still closed the record.
Overall I have to give this record a 6/10. This was not as bad as some other records I heard, but still why can't Christmas records be unique, There was a lot of repetition in what I heard here, but I did enjoy this. I don't think I'll return, but it was fun if you subtracted a song or two. If you can, please point out any original songs Christmas albums for next year. Maybe like Hey Ameria or Santa Dog or something.

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