The Platters

20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection

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This holiday collection, which clocks in at just less than 30 minutes in length, was originally released in this same sequence in 1963 as Christmas With the Platters, and has been reissued several times since in slightly different configurations and under varying titles. If you bear in mind that the Platters only did one Christmas session, then it probably doesn't matter which of these you pick up, although the sound on this 2004 edition is superb. The upbeat numbers fare best, with an energized version of "Jingle Bells Jingle," an organ-led "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," and a spunky rendition of "Jingle Bell Rock" being the obvious highlights. The group's manager, Buck Ram (who also produced the original album), has a couple of his own songs included here, "Come Home for Christmas" and "Christmas Time," and both are competent but hardly memorable compositions. The arrangements on the album are interesting and frequently inventive, and the Platters, as always, sing wonderfully. One wishes, though, that it was just a little bit longer.

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