Various Artists

The Merriest of Christmas Pops

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Considered the hardest-to-find of the U.S. releases, Merriest is only half an Esquivel album. Six of the tracks are dismissable (Ray Martin) or worse (Mimi Hines). Of the six led by Esquivel, two feature the vocal group, the Skip-Jacks. But that's OK; they are not so different from the Randy van Horne Singers, and it is a Christmas album, after all; wordless vocals such as "zu zu zu" and "pow" are probably not appropriate. The renditions of "Blue Christmas" and "Frosty the Snowman" are priceless for the Esquivel fan or anyone seeking quirky, instrumental-pop, holiday fare.