Jazz Vocals

Holiday Memories Of Andy

23 DEC 07 ANNE FARNSWORTH

Anyone who watched television in the '60s and '70s remembers Andy Williams' Christmas specials. In 2001, Concord released recordings from that era, Andy Williams Live - Christmas Treasures.

An offshoot of his Emmy award-winning weekly show, the specials were highlights of the holiday season, a Currier and Ives print come alive with skaters bundled in furs and Victorian-garbed carolers strolling through the snow. For with all the skating and snowflakes and furs, the heart of the show was Andy and his marvelously rich voice.

As a child, the Williams family mesmerized me -- the French wife, the adorable children, his look-alike brothers in their matching sweaters. My parents were younger than the Williamses, but bore a strong physical resemblance. Sitting on the couch I'd sneak assessing glances around the room, convinced that if Dad wore a turtleneck under his sport coat and Mom would tilt her head coquettishly when she sang, our family would be almost as glamorous as the one on TV.

Now a grown woman looking at the CD's vintage cover shot of Williams, the first thing I think is, "Wow. Good-looking guy," then the nuances of his voice that eluded my young ears. I remember the resonant middle range but where did that do-wop style falsetto come from? And do I detect a hint of a brogue? More ethereal things about Williams are captured on these recordings as well -- the honesty and clarity of his delivery and the warm, welcoming affection that colored every song he sung.