John Murray on the perfect album to get in the mood for Christmas
Christmas must be upon us with specialist singles from a whole variety of acts but not nearly as many as in the vinyl days. Hearing the first bars of ‘Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree’ by Brenda Lee though transcends the decades. Now used in the TV ad for the album Christmas With The Broons (Music Kitchen), it opens up a whole collection of nostalgic sounds with some specially recorded for the project such as ‘Jingle Bells ‘done by a ceilidh band which offers a topical Gay Gordons for party time. Along the way we get the standards we can expect like ‘Let It Snow’ from Dean Martin, ‘Christmas Alphabet’ from Dickie Valentine, ‘Sleigh Ride’ by Johnny Mathis, ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ from Harry Belafonte, ‘Silver Bells’ by Doris Day and the original ‘Santa Baby’ from Eartha Kitt. Add a mix of reels and specially recorded Scottish mixes and influences of the old sing along favourites and you get a themed CD to go with the cookbooks and calendars and of comic annuals. Purists too should note the original 78 version of Nat King Cole’s ‘Christmas Song’ has been remastered here as is the noticeable difference to Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’. Speaking of which we know the song and the movie but what of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas the Musical performed live on stage? For starters there are many more songs from that era to savour and all delivered with style amid some colourful sets and a huge cast. Songs like ‘Sisters’, ‘I Love A Piano’, ‘Blue Skies’, ‘Count Your Blessings’ and ‘Happy Holiday’ all set the scene for Vermont in the 1950s. The makeup and costumes all evoke a retro style too and with a flurry of song and dance routines sprinkled throughout the action was always going to be eye catching. Edinburgh Festival Theatre runs till January 4.