|Elvis' Christmas Album (1957, this revised re-issue 1970)|
Since its initial release in 1957 the album has been subject to several changes to both tracklist and artwork. The biggest of these came with this 1970 Camden version and the complete dropping of the four gospel songs on Side 2 (originally from his 1957 EP Peace In The Valley) and the addition of the single If Every Day Was Like Christmas and the not-at-all-Christmassy b-side Mama Liked The Roses from his '69 Memphis sessions.
So, apart from Silent Night and a beautifully solemn O Little Town Of Bethlehem, it's secular songs all the way, beginning of course with the definitive version of Blue Christmas. (At this point I must confess a preference for the Shakin' Stevens version because it was the first one I heard, plus my treasured copy of his Greatest Hits was much played during my childhood.)
The rest is split between more R'n'B/rock'n'roll songs like the lip-curling Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane) and the Teddy Bear-ish Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me), and ballads such as If Every Day Was Like Christmas. Top of the Christmas tree for me is the innuendo-ridden rocker Santa Claus Is Back In Town, which the king Elvis-es his way through wonderfully, with mentions of a black Cadillac, instructions to his baby to "hang up your pretty stockings" and a cheeky "Santa Claus is coming down your chimney tonight". Excellent!
What really makes the album for me though, are the incredible backing vocals. The Jordanaires and soprano Millie Kirkham are entirely responsible for injecting the Christmas spirit throughout, but particularly on slowies like I'll Be Home For Christmas, the two carols and of course Blue Christmas.
During next year's car boot season I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for an earlier version so I can get my mitts on those great gospel tunes, but for now I'll have to rely on Spotify:
Pop back tomorrow (Monday 22nd Dec) for Day 8 of the Countdown, where you'll find two great Yuletide albums waiting for you under the tree. Stream the Car Boot Christmas cloudcast below for 1½ hours of festive tunes gathered from the car boot sales and charity shops of Suffolk. I really hope you enjoy listening!