Compilation producers: Howard Smiley, Bill Crowley.
Rock & Roll Christmas is a wildly uneven collection of holiday songs by rockers from the '60s, '70s and '80s (with a short jump back to the '50s on Chuck Berry's "Merry Christmas, Baby"). The songs are thrown together with no sense of pace or context. For example, Bon Jovi's super smooth ballad "I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas" is followed by Bob Seger's wall-shaking "Sock It to Me, Santa," which in turn is followed by the Moody Blues' ponderous and overwrought "What Child Is This." On the positive side, the disc does contain a few Christmas classics that may be hard to find elsewhere, namely Billy Squier's "Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You," Elton John's Beach Boys/Phil Spector-inspired "Step Into Christmas," the Kinks' "Father Christmas," Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "I Believe in Father Christmas" (which a clever compiler would have put side by side with the Kinks' track), and the Waitresses' typically snarky "Christmas Wrapping." The makings of a very good compilation are here; the follow-through is faulty with too many duds like Elvin Bishop's "Silent Night" and the Bon Jovi ballad on-board. If you find it at a nice price, it may be worth it anyway. ~ Tim Sendra