The Lennon Sisters

Christmas With the Lennon Sisters

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While the Lennon Sisters will probably go down in history as a staple of the cheesy Lawrence Welk Show, the four sisters (Dianne, Janet, Peggy and Kathy) could sing, and, once upon a time, recorded a darn good holiday album. The origins of Christmas With the Lennon Sisters is a little murky, but the material seems to have been recorded (perhaps as singles) with Welk's help sometime before the 1961 Dot issue. Whatever its origins, the arrangements of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Little Drummer Boy" evoke a sound from the '40s and '50s, not the '60s, making this album a female counterpart to Gene Autry's classic Christmas recordings. While individual sisters offer fine lead vocal work, the group's specialty is lively harmony recalling the Andrews Sisters. Perhaps the shining jewel of an album that never misses is "Christmas Island," a song that paints a fun portrait of what the holiday might be like in a warmer climate (Jimmy Buffett would revive the song in 1996). Since the Lennon Sisters also passed as all-American girls next door, the album also has its share of religious material including "Come All Ye' Faithful" and "Silent Night." Of course, there are elements -- the tacky background singing by heavenly voices -- that show the album was recorded in a different era when different tastes reigned, but overall, the instrumental accompaniment is tasteful and never overshadows the sisters. In 2004 the album is hard to come by, but it remains one of the liveliest of holiday albums.

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