The Beach Boys/The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album (Capitol-1964)
- Little Saint Nick – It’s pretty much “Little Deuce Coupe.” Then again, have you ever noticed how Garth Brooks’s “Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House” is also pretty much “Little Deuce Coupe?”
- The Man with All the Toys – Strange and compelling, one of the oddest songs in the Beach Boys’ catalogue you to this point.
- Santa’s Beard – A catchy and somewhat irritating little ditty with storyteller lyrics about a younger brother exposing a department store Santa.
- Merry Christmas, Baby – Yet another original. Kind of doowoppy and quite catchy.
- Christmas Day – A FIFTH original in a row. Mediocre.
- Frosty the Snowman – Schmaltzy showbizzy take on the standard. Too fast and light for my ears.
- We Three Kings of Orient Are – No surprises here.
- Blue Christmas – Lacking in pep but quite orchestrated.
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town – This rendition had me googling “Circus Song Name” because I was having what was once known as a “senior moment.” I’ve taught children to play along with this song, so I should remember what it’s called. “Entry of the Gladiators.” That’s it. Anyways, this rendition features a nod to said circus song.
- White Christmas – A saccharine take on the standard.
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Sweet harmonies.
- Auld Lang Syne – Featuring a holiday message read by Dennis.
I obviously consider myself to be a pretty big Beach Boys fan, and even though I owned even Party and Stack o’ Tracks, I never bothered listening to this until the other day. Considering that Brian Wilson’s favorite album of all time is the Phil Spector Christmas Album (which is excellent) it isn’t too surprising that this is better than most Christmas albums. Brian was obviously being pushed to produce a lot of material in a short time, and none of this is throwaway. There are plenty of arrangements and such that I don’t care for, but there is the same meticulous detail here if not more than would be found on other Beach Boys albums of the day. Five originals at the beginning of the album is a pleasant surprise too. Still, this isn’t an album I’d want to listen to very often.