Tuesday, 8 December 2015
A happy Herb Alpert Christmas to you! Plus bonus Elvis
I realise at this point you're either thinking, “HOW DID I LIVE WITHOUT A HERB ALPERT CHRISTMAS ALBUM?” or “Well, that's it. Mim's finally cracked.” Doesn't matter which camp you fall in, because I have the CD and I'm happy with it. Like 20s singer Helen Kane, or fish sauce, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass is something you'll start out neutral about at best but will probably hate, and then you'll secretly start to like it even though you still can't work out why, and finally you'll just accept that you love it and the 'why' will just have to remain a mystery and all the people who don't like it don't know what they're missing out on.
I like the Tijuana Brass best when they're doing their upbeat, pah-pah-pah trumpet sort of thing. Some of the tracks on this CD are therefore a bit too smooth for me, all late 60s smooth vocal harmonies and 'oooh-oooh-oooh'. However, 'Winter Wonderland', 'Jingle Bells', and 'Jingle Bell Rock' all contain a satisfying amount of pah-pah-pah, and I actually like the sentimentality of 'The Bell That Couldn't Jingle' – I'm surprised that hasn't become a more popular Christmas song. Mr Robot and I couldn't quite work out why 'My Favourite Things' was included in the tracks (I'd guess because The Sound of Music film was released just a few years earlier), but it segues into a few bars of Bond theme at the end which is both magnificently wrong and magnificently right.
If you can't work out where a Herb Alpert Christmas album might figure in your life, it would make a good CD to have on in the background at a kitschy Christmas party. Make sure there's a cheese and pineapple hedgehog and plenty of Babycham and you'll be good to go, I reckon. Moreover, in its gaudy way it encapsulates the fun of a lot of the festive season, and will prove a decent antidote to the Bah Humbugs.
So to Elvis. There are things in this world that simply do not need sexing up. Mitsouko perfume. Dusty Springfield's voice. Silk pyjamas. And, of course, Elvis. He is/was sufficiently sexy – too sexy, according to some back in the 1950s – in himself. So the cover of this CD is an absolute abomination, as though the poor bloke had been reduced to advertising his singing services on cards in phone boxes. However, the music is (of course) fine, and for £3 in the cheapie bookshop I can overlook the underdressed dollies. Even if you can't find this particular one, you should be able to find some sort of Elvis Christmas album easily enough. Something to enjoy with your loved one and some mulled wine, I reckon, while you curl up on the sofa reading books.
Mr Robot tweeted something about my 'obsession with Christmas albums', which startled me, but I suppose I do have quite a few now. Here are some I've talked about previously on the blog: A Christmas Gift to You From Phil Spector; Nat King Cole and Dean Martin: Christmas Together, Essential Jazz Christmas, The Muppets' A Red and Green Christmas and The Glenn Miller Orchestra In The Swinging Christmas Mood.
And now I really want to make a cheese and pineapple hedgehog. Because CHEESE.