Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Dec. 24, 2004
Frank SinatraChristmas Songs by Sinatra (Columbia/Legacy)
Frank SinatraThe Christmas Collection (Reprise)
While Sinatra's crooning Columbia years were more formative than definitive, this collection gives breath to Christmas during wartime with alternate takes, radio airchecks, and "V-Discs," heavy-duty vinyl shipped to overseas military posts. Hearing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in this context makes its mawkishness forgivable. Sinatra's yuletide sides for Reprise skewed lighter. The uncomfortable gaiety of Sinatra's adult children singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" induces toothaches. Nevertheless, Sinatra's somber take on Jimmy Webb's "Whatever Happened to Christmas" is a late career highlight. Sinatra is ailing but still commanding even on the posthumously orchestrated "Silent Night."