Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
One of the best instrumental Christmas albums ever
L. Hanes | 02/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the early 1970s, my parents bought a compact stereo. This was the first
stereo phonograph our family ever owned. We didn't have any albums to play
(only a few old monaural 78s and 45s). So, I went down to the local
Woolsworths store (long since gone) and looked for an album to buy. I found
there "Christmas Time" by Roger Williams. It has been a favorite of mine
ever since. Unfortunately, I have never been able to find a compact disk
version of this album (I bought the cassette tape version several years
ago). There is a much later CD album entitled "Golden Christmas" by Roger
Williams, but it is not nearly as good (it lacks the orchestral
accompaniment present in the older album)."
Could Be The Greatest Christmas Album Ever
rodney wiltin | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | 12/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While my favorite christmas album is still the LIVING STRINGS - THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS album from 1963, this album, ROGER WILLIAMS - CHRISTMAS TIME, is easily at #2 and tied with 2 other christmas albums, one being JOHN KLEIN - A CHRISTMAS SOUND SPECTACULAR (1959) and the other, FRED WARING AND THE PENNSYLVANIANS - THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS (1961).
ROGER WILLIAMS may, in fact, have the closest sounding style to that LIVING STRINGS album above. This ROGER WILLIAMS - CHRISTMAS TIME album is a mix of songs by themselves and songs in medley form. This album mixes religious christmas songs with the secular (non-religious) christmas songs. And this ROGER WILLIAMS album does everything perhaps perfectly, from the arrangements to the sound (or production) to the song selection to ROGER'S piano playing to a most beautiful orchestra with some of the lushest strings and orchestral sounds you'll ever hear. RONNIE'S piano playing blends in with the orchestra like I've never heard before, not even by RONNIE ALDRICH or FERRANTE AND TEICHER. Just listen to songs such as SILENT NIGHT (my favorite version ever), O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM (my favorite version along with a version by JACK JONES from 1969), WHITE CHRISTMAS (one of my favorite versions ever, a real nice musical solo part of some sort that is beautiful and different, very unique and original), WINTER WONDERLAND (also one of my favorite versions ever) and most to every other song to find that perfect balance between orchestra and piano. And every single song is strong, very strong on this release. Most to even all the songs are among my favorite version if not even my favorite version of each of them (as noted with some above).
The orchestra has a very strong presence here, as much if not more than ROGER'S piano playing if you can believe that. And I like this. It gives that wonderful and glorious orchestra sound that only a very few select arrangers and conductors can find in an orchestra. But don't worry, the piano is the lead instrument giving this album that little different touch than the usual orchestra album usually has. That said, I may even go as far as saying that the strings of the orchestra may have almost as much a leading role on this album as does the piano which again, I really like since strings (such as violins) are my favorite instrument in an orchestra. Other orchestra instruments are also very much here on this album. I seriously would probably call this an orchestra album rather than a piano album since the overall sound seems to be this. But again, the piano of ROGER WILLIAMS is here and it's the nicest/greatest piano playing I have ever heard because it just works so well with the orchestra.
While I could name probably any song here to highlight them, other great ones that are are really worth noting are THE CHRISTMAS SONG (CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE) which has one of the smoothest arrangements ever, some beautiful piano playing with a nice laid back, relaxing mellow orchestra sound. There is also a very powerful and lush string part somewhere towards the middle or just after. As you can tell, this is also one of my favorite versions ever, perhaps my favorite. SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN is very nice as is JINGLE BELLS and DECK THE HALLS. Gosh, every song and medley is great. I'll have to stop naming individual songs because I may end up talking about them all.
Other comparisons other than the LIVING STRINGS would be HENRY MANCINI, PERCY FAITH, NELSON RIDDLE, and the like.
All I can say to end this off is that this is a christmas orchestra/piano instrumental gem and easily among the best of the best in this genre, again, at #2 on my all-time christmas album list. It really is that great!"