Friday, December 10, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 210: The Jackson 5 - Ultimate Christmas Collection

By: March

Album - Ultimate Christmas Collection
Artist - Jackson 5
Key Players - Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson

Produced By - Various (Hal Davis, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino)

Release Date - October 13, 2009

What caused me to blow off the dust? - It is Christmas...yeah didn't come out until after Thanksgiving at least.

Overview - This is a collection made up of the original Jackson 5 Christmas Album that was released in 1970. and a second single that came from the Motown Christmas album that was released in 1973. The original was the third album the group released in 1970 and after that, they'd settle down some on recording and touring. The final few tracks are spoken holiday greetings and remixes of some of the other tracks.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - I will pass over the greetings and re-mixes and stick with the songs.

-"Have yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - A standard laid back cover of the tune. Full of lush strings and cool harmonies. Jermaine has the lead vocal duties on this track and does a fine job. It keeps its somber pace and the rest of the group does some nice harmonies. It doesn't really break the mold of any version you may have heard in the past.

- "Santa Claus is Comin' To Town" - Still a staple to todays holiday play lists. Right from the start it is a very up tempo and Motown infused version. Michael has the lead on this and his very high vocal range balances strong with his older brothers. Jermaine has a nice bass line that is up in the mix and the band once more offers great harmonies.

- "The Christmas Song" - All the members sing at the start before. The version once more is a cut and dry version, not nearly as spirited as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" but once more the bands vocals are the keys with the harmonies and orchestrated backing track.

-"Up on the House Top" - The hidden gem of a jam Christmas tune. Its funky with the horns and ride cymbal before the band comes in. Michael has the lead vocals and he sings with his brothers doing some strong backing vocals. Michael sings about each of the guys "wish list" items. It is a terrific, and different holiday song that should get tossed on the stale play lists. The band has a nice break down with some spoken sections before the band comes right back in. A rear jam..I can't say it enough.

- "Frosty the Snowman" - Michael has the lead vocals on the first portion, but the full band sings the bulk of the verses. A pretty standard/cut and dry version of the track. The band works deep baritone vocals to some nice higher harmonies. The band makes it their own a little later in the track which is a nice touch.

- "The Little Drummer Boy" - A pretty true to form version of the song, but it is sped up some. There seems to be more orchestral fills with hints of oboe thrown in for example. Michael is once again the lead vocalist and his brothers offer some strong backing support as normal.

- "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" - Of course it has the standard feel but the band once again makes it more their own. The full band sings the verses and Jermaine has some strong bass work the rest of the band follows suit. A pretty basic, yet still their own take on the holiday classic.

- "Christmas Won't Be the Same This Year" - The track starts off with the band members all talking about "girl trouble". Once the song starts it takes a funky bounce and is not a holiday song you've experienced. By the verse it slows down in tempo, but then quickly hits back. It has a fun vibe with its slap drums and wah wah guitar effects. It is also a very short track, over before you realize it.

-"Give Love On Christmas Day" - Another more mellow track. Michael and his brothers are hushed following a laid back drum back beat. I personally am not overly familiar with any other version of this song. Perhaps that is the reason I neither love nor dislike the track.

"Someday at Christmas" - The track teases "White Christmas" at the start before it begins. The Motown feel is once again very strong on this and again the Michael lead track is one of the strong tracks on the collection. Offering that feel and sound you'd want from a Jackson 5 collection.

- "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - One of the most beloved holiday "novelty" songs gets the Jackson 5 treatment. The brothers join Michael in their "shock" of seeing what was cooking with Mom and Santa. Michael hits notes we haven't heard up to this point and the band breaks it down later in the track with some percussive section that sounds a little on the Latin side before going back to the tune.

-"Little Christmas Tree" - This track was taken from a later collection of holiday songs. You can hear an older, perhaps a little more weary band. Still the song has the Jackson 5 sound and feel, but some of the real magic is gone with the guys grown up.

FDF Overall Take - For a collection it is pretty strong. Filled with 8-10 second holiday greetings from each member is a little silly and the re-mixes are just "okay" but the first part of the record is strong enough to warrant your "holiday dollars" and why Christmas radio stations don't look at some other tunes is beyond me.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

mp3's have been removed...gotta act fast round these parts!

Someday At Christmas
Up On the House Top

Tracks taken from the "Ultimate Christmas Collection" that you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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