The Oak Ridge Boys The Best of Oak Ridge Boys - 20th Century Masters / Christmas Collection
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- Released: September 23, 2003
- Originally Released: 2003
- Label: MCA
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel: Dale Sellers, Brent Rowan (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Cindy Reynolds (harp); The Nashville String Machine (strings); Jim Horn, Ace Cannon, Denis Solee (saxophone); Don Sheffield (trumpet); George Tidwell (flugelhorn); Eberhard Ramm (French horn); Barry Green (trombone); David Briggs (piano, keyboards); Steve Nathan (keyboards); James Stroud (drums); Farrell Morris (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Ron Treat; Tim Farmer.
Recording information: Acorn Sound Records.
Photographer: Raul Vega.
Arranger: Bergen White.
This edition in Universal's discount-priced compilation series Best of Oak Ridge Boys: 20th Century Masters: The Christmas Collection is actually a re-titled reissue of the 1986 collection Christmas Again. As that original title indicates, the album was the Oak Ridge Boys' second seasonal disc, following 1982's Christmas. It's hard to understand why the earlier album, which was far more popular than this one, wasn't reissued instead, or why the best songs of the two weren't combined on what is supposedly a best-of compilation. Unfortunately, on neither disc did the Oak Ridge Boys show much interest in performing Christmas standards, opting instead for newly written material. There were a few evergreens on Christmas, but the ten songs on Christmas Again are all new ones (or were in 1986 anyway). The quartet bows slightly to tradition by introducing each of the first five with an a cappella chorus of a holiday favorite so that, for example, group member Joe Bonsall's composition "First Christmas Day" is prefaced by a bit of "The First Noel." But that only serves to emphasize the superiority of the old songs over these originals. The first half of the disc is given over to religiously oriented efforts, the second half to increasingly secular ones, such as the comic "Santa Bring Your Elves." Seventeen years on, none of the songs have made much of a mark except the unfortunately titled "There's a New Kid in Town" (not the Eagles' song), co-written by Curly Putnam, Don Cook, and Keith Whitley, which is occasionally heard. Christmas Again wasn't the best of holiday releases or even the best of the Oak Ridge Boys in 1986; it hasn't gotten better under a new name. ~ William Ruhlmann
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