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Temptations, "Christmas Card"All of Motown's Christmas music is pretty great, but the mighty Temptations cut the merriest, most mellow LP of them all. Their Christmas Card (1970) compiled a couple of earlier Christmas singles with some superb new sides. The Temptations were arguably the supreme performers in the Motown stable (pun intended), and their soulful command of these songs is staggering. Christmas Card kicks off with an impossibly smooth "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" that really has to be heard to be believed - they actually make the song sound sexy! Then, their take on Jimmy Webb's "My Christmas Tree" delivers the knockout punch. The rest of the disc is almost as great, including a classic Motown treatment of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," a basso profundo rendition of "Someday At Christmas," and a wonderful, rhapsodic interpretation "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"

The Temptations cut another Christmas album, Give Love At Christmas (1980) highlighted by a percolating version of Smokey Robinson's "Christmas Everyday." It's a decent record, but the group had lost their edge, and it pales next to their original effort. The two LP's were originally reissued on two-for-one CD in 1986 (and quickly deleted - good luck finding that one), then later as separate discs.

While the 2001 reissue Best Of The Temptations Christmas is nicely packaged, newly mastered, and includes a rare bonus track, it merely dilutes the strength of the 1970 album. This CD runs a paltry twelve tracks and includes barely half the Temptations' brilliant first Christmas album. Considering Motown could have fit all tracks from both albums on one CD (and, in fact, did on an earlier reissue), Best Of The Temptations Christmas should be considered a botched job. Given the digital alchemy Motown performed on Christmas albums by the Supremes, the Miracles, and Stevie Wonder, Best Of The Temptations Christmas is a grave disappointment. (2003's 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection, by the way, is merely a carbon copy of Best Of The Temptations Christmas.) [top of page]

Albums Albums

SongsSongs

  • Christmas Everyday (1980)
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (1970)
  • My Christmas Tree (1969)
  • Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1968)
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1970)
  • Someday At Christmas (1970)

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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