Johnny Tillotson

The Christmas Touch

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More than a decade into his career, Johnny Tillotson's voice had improved noticeably, and this MGM Christmas LP -- it followed his final major hit, "Heartaches By the Number" -- is a surprisingly good effort of light MOR pop. The arrangements aren't revolutionary but clean and well-played, and Tillotson's voice is like crystal over these light shadings of guitar and female chorus. Highlights include an interesting place-dropping version of "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays," as well as a pair of his own compositions: "It's Not Christmas If You're Not Here" and "Christmas Is the Best of All." (The LP's 1996 reissue on CD added an excellent bonus track, a version of Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper.")

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