Liner Note Author: Joe Marchese.
Recording information: Nashville,TN (07/14/1964); Nashville,TN (08/03/1964); Nashville,TN (08/10/1964); Nashville,TN (08/12/1963); Nashville,TN (08/13/1964); Nashville,TN (12/15/1959-12/17/1959).
Arrangers: Stan Applebum; Ray Ellis; Hugo Winterhalter.
Real Gone's 2015 compilation A Very Merry Christmas: The Complete Epic Christmas Collection expands the 12-track 1964 album A Very Merry Christmas with the four-track from the 1963 Songs of Christmas, the unreleased 1959 recording "Winter Love," the 1970 single "Christmas Eve in My Home Town," and the 1995 copyright "Kissin' Christmas." While the clanking, digital production of the latter seems out of place, the rest of the compilation is bright, sparkling early-'60s MOR pop. Vinton always seems to be singing with a smile -- even when he's adopting an Irish accent on "Christmas in Killarney"-- something that offers a nice contrast to the sheets of thick sweet strings that drench all the arrangements. The songs that aren't staples, such as the ridiculous novelty "Peppermint Stick Parade," feel a bit frozen in amber -- something that makes this appealing for pop archaeologists -- but the rest of the comp works quite well when Vinton and crew play it straightforward. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine