Unknown Contributor Role: Elliott Lott.
The Beach Boys were the ultimate summer band, their songs full of sun, surfboards, and endless waves of good vibrations, but it is always interesting to remember how many of those bright productions featured sleigh bells as part of their rhythm tracks, as if Brian Wilson wanted to stick a little bit of winter in there. So it should come as no surprise that the Beach Boys recorded two Christmas albums, the first, The Beach Boys' Christmas Album, in 1964, and a second unreleased set, Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys, a decade later. This disc combines tracks from both projects, throwing in an alternate take of "Auld Lang Syne." If the Beach Boys favored sleigh bells in summer, then their bright and sunny vocals brought warmth into the dead of winter as well, particularly with their classic holiday single, "Little Saint Nick," which is included here. The alternate mix of "Auld Lang Syne" (this one without Dennis Wilson's spoken interjections) spotlights the gorgeous multi-tracked harmonies of the group, while the cluttered kitchen sink production of "Child of Winter (Christmas Song)" shows how complicated Beach Boys arrangements could get when left unchecked. These tracks have been repackaged and re-released countless times over the years, and there's really nothing particularly compelling about this particular package. You do get those gorgeous harmonies, though, and that's the bottom line. ~ Steve Leggett
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