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Christmas Records, Day 15: Jim Reeves' Twelve Songs Of Christmas

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Alison Howe | 14:21 UK time, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

jimreeves.jpg

It would be easy to rewrite history and declare that every Christmas my family would listen to Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift To You, but we just weren't that cool.

As far as Howe Christmas family traditions go, I only remember two, watching Morecombe and Wise after tea on Christmas Day, and my mum putting on Jim Reeves' Twelve Songs of Christmas on the record player each Christmas day morning as we had pork pie for breakfast and welcomed in our next door neighbour for a sherry. This was the late 70s after all.

I knew little of Jim Reeves at the time I found his singing hugely irritating, but he was a huge star in suburbia and I am sure soothed a million housewives with his easy listening take on country and western.

Jim Reeves died in a plane crash in the mid 60s and inevitably his mellow baritone voice, accompanied by muted velvet orchestration, gained greater success after his death with umpteen compilations. Although he is never talked of in the same cool tones as other crooners such as Andy Williams or Frank he was definitely up there in the cardigan stakes. Check out the cover if you don't believe me.

The album itself doesn't hold any great surprise, all the classics are there (Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Mary's Boy Child, O Little Town of Bethlehem) but my favourite has always been Silver Bells for no other reason than it makes me feel all Christmassy. Very little else does.

YouTube: Jim Reeves' Silver Bells

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