Engelbert Humperdinck

20th Century Masters - Christmas Collection

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Hip-O Records' discount-priced 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: The Best of Engelbert Humperdinck is nothing more or less than a straight reissue of Humperdinck's 1977 holiday album Christmas Tyme, which sold well enough to reach the pop charts in December of that year when it was released initially on Epic Records. It presents traditional arrangements of expected favorites on its first half (which used to be the first side of the LP), turning to four medleys on its second half in an apparent attempt to get more material in. This bunching-up of familiar songs, with, for example, "Jingle Bell Rock" giving way to "Winter Wonderland" and then "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" before finishing with "Jingle Bells," seems more like a concert or TV-special idea than one for the recording studio; when families are sitting around the Christmas tree, they don't want to have to jump from song to song so abruptly. For that reason, the old Christmas Tyme LP, which would allow the listener to let Side One play over and over, might be preferable to this CD version, although of course it would be possible to program the CD player to repeat tracks one through six and skip the rest.

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