Elvis Presley hit it big during an era when recording an album of Christmas songs was expected of all the biggest pop stars. And they didn't come any bigger than Elvis, but it was considered almost a mortal sin for "Elvis the Pelvis" to be recording Christmas carols as well as the standards firmly belonging to Bing Crosby. Elvis's first Christmas recordings were a first for mainstream rock & roll and they set such a high standard that few acts to follow dared even to attempt to record their own (the Beatles certainly never did).
The only person capable of matching Elvis was Elvis himself, and when his record company told him they were tired of re-issuing his same collection of songs from 1957 year after year, he recorded a new batch of instant holiday classics for release in 1971 that were almost as good. The main difference was that things were changing in Elvis's life; more mature in his 30's with a child of his own and a marriage that was more closely reaching its end every day, the later Christmas recordings have a far more serious and gloomy edge than the first set recorded during the early days of rock & roll when Elvis represented all that parents across the country feared most for their kids. The contrast is staggering.
Each Christmas album when released initially had additional tracks included as well, traditional hymns and gospel tunes not necessarily specific to the Christmas season. However, none of those tracks made their way onto this compilation CD of ALL (including alternate takes) the Christmas music the King recorded in his lifetime. Every song on this CD is pure Christmas and pure Elvis, which is to say absolutely fantastic.
It is 25 tracks, ranging from traditional Christmas carols to pop holiday standards to raunchy rhythym & blues. In some cases you have alternate recordings exceeding the initially released track (this is particularly the case with "I'll Be Home Christmas Day"), and in some cases you wonder if there's indeed any difference at all ("Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees"), but there is no more definitive collection of Christmas songs on one disc (and not likely more than one, either) that exceeds either the artist nor the range of material covered. If you're an Elvis fan that presently lacks any of the King's Christmas recordings, this is the one CD which will give you ALL of them. If you're a fan of rock & roll who needs something other than choir music to put you into the spirit of the season, who could possibly be better than Elvis to turn the trick? Merry Christmas, and enjoy this CD!