In 1957, fourteen years before the depressing Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas, Elvis and his elves cut this slightly more optimistic attempt at the Christmas market, and it's very much an album of two halves.
The first six tracks feature typical fireside blues numbers touching on the usual northern hemisphere subjects. White Christmas is awesome, however as with the other album, this quickly descends into loneliness. Blue Christmas and Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) give their morose selves (morose elves?) away by their titles, but even the hope of I'll Be Home For Christmas ends on the crushing punchline "… if only in my dreams."
Eurgh, complements of the season.
Maybe Elvis should just come clean and record Cryin' In The Grotto, I Saw Mommy Cheating On Me With Santa Claus and I'm Howlin' Face Down In Snow For Christmas (Ya Devil Woman).
However, in the second half of this album, something more akin to the Easter message of reconciliation takes place.
Tracks 7 and 8 are the well-known carols Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem and Silent Night respectively. However after these, the playlist abandons its Christmassy theme to concentrate purely on hymns. Peace In The Valley, I Believe, Take My Hand Precious Lord… I wouldn't so much call these seasonal as evergreen.
Despite its short running time, this is definitely my favourite of Elvis' two yuletide albums.
I hope Santa never plays this in his sleigh though, or during the first half he might just jump out.
1. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
2. White Christmas
3. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas
5. Blue Christmas
6. Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
7. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem
8. Silent Night
9. (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)
10. I Believe
11. Take My Hand, Precious Lord
12. It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)