Personnel: Johnny Mathis (vocals); Dean Parks (acoustic guitar); Michael Landau (electric guitar); Randy Waldman (piano); Robbie Buchanan (keyboards, bass, drums); Dave Carpenter (bass); Vinnie Colaiuta (drums); The Irish Film Orchestra.
Despite hearkening back to a pre-rock & roll era of safe, predictable pop that found the likes of Perry Como and Andy Williams dominating the airwaves, Johnny Mathis's 2002 holiday recording finds the singer still thriving, and possessing enough holiday spirit to keep those chestnuts roaring. Mathis's rich, vibrato-gilded pipes are in fine form as he digs deep into seasonal perennials like "Joy To The World," "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Frosty The Snowman." A swinging arrangement of the Irving Berlin gem "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" also highlights the fact that this Texas native was Frank Sinatra's main rival in the late '50s for most popular male singer. Otherwise, this ballad-heavy outing is served well by Mathis's measured approach, particularly on the medley "Snowfall/Christmas Time Is Here."