Jimmy Dean's Christmas Card

Jimmy Dean

RCA, 1965


REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Q: James Dean did a Christmas album?

A: No. This is Jimmy Dean, who you probably only know of as a name on your sausage. Kind of a shame; he had a fine, solid, burnished voice, was multi-talented, and had a string of country hits during the sixties and seventies.

Sadly, he was forced out as the head of his sausage company by the nefarious, evil corporate barons at—Sara Lee.

Q: So why review Jimmy Dean’s Christmas Card?

A: For starters, it’s a hallmark of my childhood. Secondly, it’s a pretty decent album of Christmas music from an artist who’s mostly forgotten these days.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Q: Well, then, how the heck is it?

A: Overall, solid. The production and arrangements are very mid-sixties; sweet, almost saccharine, strings and background vocals. But while this sort of arrangement didn’t benefit Glen Campbell’s voice, it works here. Dean’s voice is rich enough to rise above the candy-coated arrangement and maintain the focus on him. At least the production and engineering is clean enough that the background orchestration doesn’t blur into a clump.

Oh, and whoever played upright bass on this album was brilliant.

Q: So tell us about the good stuff; you know you’re champing at the bit.

A: How about a version of “Silver Bells” that should be considered authoritative; a sweet cameo by his son on “Jingle Bells,” a song Dean refuses to take seriously; and nice takes on classics like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,” and “Silent Night” accompanied by acoustic guitar like it should be.

The originals aren’t quite as consistent; you have the heart of a Grinch if you’re not moved by “Yes, Patricia, There Is A Santa Claus” and “The Cowboy’s Prayer,” but “My Christmas Room” drowns under excessive sentiment.

Q: Do you recommend this? I mean, come on, sausage?

A: I do. Overall, you could do a lot worse for a classic country Christmas album, and you might find yourself interested in Dean’s other work. The Yuletide is, after all, a place for some serious emotion that verges on excessive but never quite crosses that line.

Check this one out—perhaps accompanied by Christmas breakfast with… well, you know.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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