Album Remarks & Appraisals:
There are some albums that should NEVER go out of print. And by the beard of St. Nick, the greatest instrumental rock ‘n’ roll Christmas record of all time is one of them! 1965’s The Ventures’ Christmas Album was and is an absolute marvel, setting the group’s trademark Mosrite guitar twang loose on wildly inventive arrangements that start out with then-current hit melodies and then morph into Christmas chestnuts. So, for instance, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” opens with “Wooly Bully,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” opens with “I Feel Fine,” and “Frosty the Snowman” opens with “Tequila” (Frosty is evidently feeling no pain)! But we at Real Gone Music aren’t content with merely copying previous reissues of this essential holiday platter; we’re including both the stereo version and, for the first time ever on CD, mono version of this album on a single disc, so you can hear it the way most people have heard it in the “modern” era and also hear it the way most people heard it when it first came out! What’s more, liner note writer Bill Kopp tracked down original Ventures rhythm guitarist Don Wilson for quotes (and got a testimonial from Danny Amis a.k.a. Daddy-O Grande of Los Straitjackets). Thrown in some vintage photos and you have a package everybody’s going to want to spin the entire holiday season!
Entertainment Weekly (12/1/95, pp.70-71) - "...includes sufari-ized versions of `Jingle Bell Rock' and `White Christmas.'" - Rating: B
Reissue producer: Mike Ragogna.
Originally released on Dolton Records (8038).
Audio Remasterer: Mike Milchner.
Liner Note Author: Bill Kopp.
Originally issued on Dolton, this instrumental classic was reissued briefly in 1990 on CD by EMI. The Ventures have a blast with unique covers of secular Christmas songs: each instrumental borrows riffs from popular mid-'60s hits, incorporating them into their twangy guitar yule melodies. "Sleigh Ride" uses the Ventures' own hit "Walk, Don't Run," while other selections borrow from hits of other artists. It's a gas to hear "Frosty the Snowman" set to the Champs' "Tequila." ~ Dennis MacDonald