"Well I remember looking at this album cover as a child and thinking that this bald and bearded man just had to be Santa Claus. And well he might be; with that gentle and ever so slightly husky voice, Burl Ives sings familiar and novel Christmas songs with a charm bringing to mind a kindly grandpa singing softly to the toddlers on his knee. His rendition of the classic "Jingle Bells" evokes the pure spirit of the song: care- free abandon and joyful celebration. The unique"Santa Mouse" will charm the small children, and may have the adults humming the contagious tune as well. The warmth and sincerity of the entire album are particularly evident in Ives' almost fumbled reminiscence of "Oh, What a Lucky Boy Am I", and whether it be nostalgia or the innocence of the recitation, "Happy Birthday, Jesus" still occasionally brings a secret tear to my eye. Where the more formal tracks ( O, Holy Night, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear) show up Ives' less than perfect sining voice, the songs are unfailingly carried by the earnest and gentle manner of this very genuine artist. A very worthwhile addition to the Christmas collection of any family who believes in the simple charm of Christmas."
A tradition close to our hearts
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For years, our family listened to this album at the holidays. It was a part of our Christmas. The album we have is old and scratchy, but it is still a favorite and we are thrilled to find it on CD. "Happy Birthday Jesus" is one of the most beautifully crafted works I have ever known for Christmas."
Great Christmas album
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 09/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you appreciate Burl Ives' unique voice and folk approach to singing, you will adore this collection of Christmas songs from 1968. This is a fine and unusual Christmas album, since Burl's versions of these songs are not the standard ones. But they are delightful nonetheless. My only criticism is that the album omits Burl's greatest Christmas song, "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," one of the stellar songs from his 1964 Christmas special, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Burl Ives is an American icon and it's a pity that his style of music has gone out of fashion. This album is a feel good effort and it's impossible not to listen to it without smiling, laughing and wishing Burl was still around to sing his special brand of music. Hopefully this album will induce you to sample some of Burl Ives' other non-Christmas efforts. He was uniquely talented and a pleasure to listen to."
No "Holly, Jolly"...But Jolly Enough
Gregor von Kallahann | 11/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Those of us who grew up in the '50s and '60s can't help but have a certain nostalgia for Burl Ives, and it's almost impossible to avoid associating him with the Christmas season. We all remember him from Captain Kangaroo and numerous other TV appearances. And of course, we were a generation who would recognize his voice and the somewhat caricatured appearance of his actual person that was narrator Sam the Snowman in the 1964 Christmas classic RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED-REINDEER. (And although that TV special has become something of a perennial favorite, I can't imagine today's tykes associating Sam with an actual person, as delightful as they may find him here).
Four years after that celebrated special, Ives released this Christas album, which fans will certainly find charming, but which may have to be presented with a few caveats for more casual listeners. First off, his most celebrated Christmas song (from RUDOLPH) "Holly, Jolly Christmas" is NOT included here. Scan through the Amazon listings, and you will find it elsewhere, of course. But this is not the place.
Secondly, his readings of some of the standard carols are literally that: READINGS. Well, actually, he tends to talk-sing the first verse of "Silent Night," "Little Town of Bethlehem" and "O Holy Night" and then lifts his light tenor voice into song for the subsequent verses. It's actually an interesting approach, and may have had something to do with Ives' aging singing voice. (He was in his 60s at the time.) Whatever the cause, his talk singing had an interesting effect on this listener. I found myself paying closer attention to the lyrics of these versions than I do with most treatments of the classic carols.
Listeners may legitimately expect their share of warm, folksy moments from the affably avuncular Ives. There are some here, such as "Santa Mouse," which could have become a CAPTAIN KANGAROO standard (and maybe did, but by '68, I was no longer watching). "Happy Birthday, Jesus" is another sweet natured "family" oriented track that should charm fans. And the sixty-something Ives pulls out a recitation he once performed as a child of four called "Oh, What A Lucky Boy Am I," which once again shows his deft skill with the spoken word.
Yes, it's all just a bit sweetly corny. You want Ives with a little edge? Rent the DVD of CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF and leave me alone. This time of the year, I'll take my Ives with a little Currier..."
Talking not singing
Dr Kate | 11/21/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"although Burl Ives has a lovely voice, I bought this CD expecting him to be singing the songs from my childhood. Unfortunately he is not singing in most of the tracks- just speaking the words to a background choir and orchestra.Its okay but my kids wanted carols they could sing along to in the car and this did not deliver"