The year was 1955; Ike was President, The Dodgers finally beat the Yankees in the World Series, and Patti Page was the most popular singer in the United States. Late in the year she released one of the better selling Christmas albums of the decade. Christmas With Patti Page has now been re-released with bonus tracks by Real Gone Music.
Patti Page charted 110 singles on the Billboard Magazine Pop Charts and sold well over 100 million records during her career. She first charted in 1948 and had her last hit in 1980. She continued to perform and record well into the 2000’s and passed away January 1, 2013, at the age of 85.
Her Christmas album was recorded at the height of her career. It is a traditional release that remains rooted in the 1950s. Many of the she songs that comprise the album have since been recorded hundreds of times. On the very positive side, Page has a wonderful voice and her interpretations of light popish Christmas songs such as “Jingle Bells,” “Where Did My Snowman Go,” “The Mama Doll Sound,” and “I Wanna Go Skating With Willie,” find her at her best.
“Silent Night,” “The First Noel,” “White Christmas,” and “The Christmas Song” travel in a different direction as she employed a mixed choral ensemble to back her lead vocals. I prefer her simpler approach with the focus squarely on her voice without a lot of instrumentation.
The bonus tracks complete her Christmas recordings for the Mercury label. “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” is a swingin’ song and was recorded in 1950. It was released as a single and quickly disappeared as its B side, “Tennessee Waltz,” went on to become Page’s signature song, topping the Pop Chart for nine weeks. “Little Donkey” was recorded in 1959 and its simple message and passion make it the best track on the album. Three Christmas performances from The Patti Page Show and the Christmas Greetings From Patti radio spot complete the album.
As with all the Real Gone releases the sound is as clean as the original tapes will allow. The accompanying booklet presents a nice biography of her life and of her Christmas recording sessions.
Christmas With Patti Page is a trip back in time to when she was the queen of American music. It may not be a modern Christmas album but it is music worth visiting.