VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
29 OCT 12 ANNE FARNSWORTH
When Andy Williams passed away in September, we lost an icon of American pop music. Fans of his '60s-era Emmy-winning variety show eagerly awaited his annual Christmas shows, so popular that Williams became known as Mr. Christmas. Live — Christmas Treasures collects the most beloved songs from those shows and is a must-have for your holiday collection.
The opening track, "The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year," was co-written by the show's vocal director, George Wyle. At first considered a one-off for Williams' 1963 Christmas album, the song has become a seasonal standard, competing with "The Christmas Song," also included here, for most beloved holiday recording.
Along with the Christmas-specific songs, some general winter-themed offerings are included, like "Moonlight In Vermont," "Skater's Waltz" and "May Each Day," which was his show's signature sign-off. And Williams is one of the few pop vocalists to take on "Ave Maria" and really nail it.
A tenor by nature but with a rich resonant low end, Williams' voice was unique, distinctively him. And like the best singers, he made it look effortless. But, it wasn't just the voice that drew people to these holiday specials. It was the gentle Iowa-born man with his ever-present smile and unassuming demeanor. We may want to pub crawl with Dean Martin and hit Vegas with Sinatra, but it's Andy Williams we want to spend Christmas with.