Real Gone's 2014 compilation The Complete Mercury Christmas Recordings pairs the two holiday albums the Statler Brothers recorded for Mercury: 1978's Christmas Card and 1985's Christmas Present. There's a noticeable difference in production between the two albums -- the 1978 record is richer and warmer, the 1985 a bit bigger and colder, largely due to the introduction of many synthesizers -- but they're constructed in similar fashion, with classic carols balanced by new songs written by the group's songwriters Don Reid and Harold Reid. Half of each record is devoted to originals, while the group doesn't necessarily play it safe on the covers, devising a nifty harmony scheme for "Jingle Bells" and sounding invested in songs that have been performed many times before, a trick that's relatively difficult to achieve. Due to its warmth, Christmas Card is the better of the two records but there's good cheer to Christmas Present and it's nice to have both on one CD.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine