8.All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
9.Merry Christmas (Wherever You Are)
11.Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
12.The Christmas Song
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Photographers: Slick Laeson; Virginia Team; Slick Lawson.
George Strait himself compiled this discount-priced, holiday best-of from his two previous seasonal collections, Merry Christmas Strait to You! (1986) and Merry Christmas Wherever You Are (1999), and it's easy to tell which one he likes better. After starting out with two Western swing-styled originals from the earlier release, the title song and "When It's Christmas Time in Texas," he simply repeats all ten tracks from Merry Christmas Wherever You Are, albeit re-sequenced. One might have hoped for a more even distribution between the two albums, a selection that included "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" from the 1986 disc (since that song reached the country singles charts in 1995 and again in 1997) and that featured more standards, such as Strait's versions of "White Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland." It also would have been nice to have had "Christmas Cookies," the country Top 40 hit by Strait that appeared on the 2001 various-artists collection of the same name. Instead, Strait seems intent on rewarding his current crop of contributing songwriters by including plenty of their mediocre contributions to the Christmas repertoire. At least he also features the favorites "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Jingle Bell Rock," "All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and "The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"), along with the also-rans from the Nashville songwriting establishment. Still, this compilation is not what it might have been. ~ William Ruhlmann