I hinted in my praise of Darlene Love that I think that Phil Spectors A Christmas Gift For You is the most awesome Christmas Album of all time.
Well if there is any LP that celebrates the joy of the Season smashed between Thanksgiving and New Years (and hints at the dark underside of pain and hurt and loneliness that can be a theme of many a long lonely winter night) it is this LP…
All the more amazing is this classic 1) was recorded in the heat of Goldstar Studios in July, 1963, between sessions for hits “A Fine Fine Boy” (Darlene Love) “Be My Baby” (The Ronettes) and “Then He Kissed Me” (The Crystals) and is thematically the peak of early Phil Spector, sounding much like those much lauded hit records applied to a batch of familiar Christmas tunes (Darlene Love and the LaLa Brooks lead songs especially rock… notably Darlene’s awesome dual lead with her sister Edna on “Winter Wonderland” mimicking “Wait ‘Til my Bobby Gets Home” and LaLa’s wide eyed account of “The Parade of Wooden Soldiers”).
point 2) is that this is one of the fabulous efforts at the peak of the Girl Group phenomenon that was “killed” by the national mourning over the Kennedy Assassination (The LP was released mere days before November 22nd and was just hitting the shelves) One look at top 40 hits from this holiday season is to note that quite a few “optimistic” girl group songs “froze” on the Charts after the Kennedy Assasination. A Christmas Gift For You being about 75% Girl Group Optimism about the holiday season, died… only to become a classic over the following decades (notably popping up everywhere… from the music in Macys and Emporium of my youth… to the Christmas mall scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High).
If you *think* you don’t know it… you do… trust me… and over the next 24 days of the Holiday season You’d be best to re-familiarize yourself with this bit of *glee*