Johnny Mathis

Gold: A 50th Anniversary Christmas Celebration

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Johnny Mathis' best Christmas recordings date from the late '50s, when he recorded Merry Christmas for Mitch Miller and Columbia, and from the mid-'60s, when he recorded The Sounds of Christmas for Mercury. Mathis was a wonderful holiday singer, easily able to summon the congenial warmth and energetic cheerfulness that made his version of "Sleigh Ride" a perennial hit. Gold: A 50th Anniversary Christmas Celebration compiles six songs from that pair of classic records, along with a handful from 1986 and four from the 2000s. Two rarities are also included: a version of "O Tannenbaum" that Mathis recorded with Mannheim Steamroller for their 2004 holiday album, Christmas Celebration, and a duet with Bette Midler ("Winter Wonderland/Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!") that was previously unreleased. The cheer between Mathis and Midler is a little forced, and the disc has plenty of room for a half-dozen more songs from the '50s and '60s, but Gold: A 50th Anniversary Christmas Celebration is a solid collection.

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