Perry Como American Christmas

Perry Como American Christmas

Music critic Gene Lees describes it this way in his sleeve note to Como's 1968 album Look To Your Heart:

Despite his immense popularity, Como is rarely given credit for what, once you stop and think of it, he so clearly is: one of the great singers and one of the great artists of our time.

Perhaps the reason people rarely talk about his formidable attributes as a singer is that he makes so little fuss about them. That celebrated ease of his has been too little understood. Ease in any art is the result of mastery over the details of the craft. You get them together to the point where you can forget about how you do things and concentrate on what you are doing.

Como got them together so completely that the muscles don’t even show. It seems effortless, but a good deal of effort has gone into making it seem so. Como is known to be meticulous about rehearsal of the material for an album.

Perry Como American Christmas

He tries things out in different keys, gives the song thought, makes suggestions, tries it again, and again, until he is satisfied. The hidden work makes him look like Mr. Casual, and too many people are taken in by it — but happily so.

Perry Como American Christmas

A roaring fire, something warm to wear (probably a cardigan), and the sounds of Perry Como American Christmas - such has been the comforting recipe for countless Christmas celebrations.

Perry Como American Christmas

Now, for the first time, here are ALL of the holiday- themed recordings Perry made for RCA over 36 years, with liner notes by longtime admirer Richard Carpenter!

The first eight tracks hail from the original 78 rpm album Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music (1946). Next up is the 1953 album Around the Christmas Tree. That’s disc one; disc two leads off with the 1959 stereo album Seasons Greetings from Perry Como, plus the 1967 singles Christmas Bells and Love Is a Christmas Rose.

Then comes the 1968 album The Perry Como Christmas Album, plus the album outtake Some Children See Him, the single release Christmas Dream and Perrys final holiday song from 1982, the appropriately-titled I Wish It Could Be Christmas Forever. 51 tracks!

I have of necessity given a good deal of thought and study to the art of singing, and Como's work consistently astonishes me. He is a fantastic technician. Listen in this album to the perfection of his intonation, the beauty of the sound he produces, the constant comfortable breath control. And take notice of his high notes. Laymen are often impressed by the high note you can hear for five blocks. Professionals know that it is far more difficult to hit a high note quietly. Como lights on a C or D at the top of a tune as softly as a bird on a branch, not even shaking it.

And then there's his phrasing. A number of our best singers phrase well. The usual technique is to rethink the lyrics of a song to see how they would come out if you were saying them, and then approximate in singing the normal speech inflections and rhythms. This often involves altering the melody, but it is a legitimate practice and when done well can be quite striking. But Como is beyond that. He apparently does not find it necessary to change the melodic line in order to infuse a song with emotion. A great jazz trumpeter once told me, "After fifteen years of playing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the hardest thing to do is to play melody, play it straight and get feeling into it." Como has been doing this from the beginning.

Stylistically, he comes out of the Bing Crosby–Russ Colombo school. That was all a long time ago. Como has been his own man for many years now. He sounds like nobody else. And nobody sounds like him, either. He is hard to imitate precisely because his work is so free of tricks and gimmicks. There are no mannerisms for another singer to pick up from him. All one can do is try to sing as well and as honestly as Como, and any singer who does that will end up sounding like himself, not Como.

–Gene Lees-sleeve note, Look To Your Heart

Perry Como American Christmas

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