Liner Note Authors: Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri; Chip Arcuri.
Originally released in 1960, The Old Sweet Songs of Christmas likely sounded a bit old-fashioned at the time of its release but that button-downed sensibility helps this 12-song LP feel timeless. DeVol, an arranger and composer who worked heavily in film and television, devised The Old Sweet Songs of Christmas as the final installment of a trilogy of Old Sweet Songs albums that he began earlier in 1960. For his holiday album, he chose to dedicate side one to medleys of classic carols and devote side two to medleys of secular hits, giving them both lush arrangements built on nothing more than strings and a little bit of piano and percussion. This gives the music a sweet, light gait that's appropriate for the season -- as indicated by its use as the soundtrack for the annual holiday programming of the Yule Log, which started its television broadcast on WPIX in New York in 1966 and then was later syndicated across the country. That Yule Log broadcast is how The Old Sweet Songs of Christmas turned into a classic that nobody knows, but that's fitting for Frank DeVol and this cheerful album: it's a polished, professional work that knows how to get the job done, knows how to deliver the cheer with a minimum of fuss. It does its job so well, it's enjoyable upon either the first listen or the hundredth. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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