Personnel includes: Lawrence Welk, Norma Zimmer, Jimmy Roberts, Ralna English, The Lennon Sisters, Myron Foren.
The sound and overall vibe of Lawrence Welk's Christmas Memories will be familiar to fans of the famous bandleader's milquetoast variety program. Viewed through a furious, sideways eggnog hangover, the show seemed to take place in a bizarre antireality, populated by stuffed tuxedo ruffle shirts and more taffeta than an explosion at a McCall Patterns factory. It was like a WASP Def Comedy Jam. With a few swooning numbers from the Lawrence Welk Orchestra leading the merry way, Christmas Memories runs through the usual standards, and features contributions from numerous Welk ringers. The Lennon Sisters' pristine harmonies work wonders with an understated "The Little Drummer Boy" and warm things up with the cheery cocktail lounge favorite "Christmas Island." The biggest Grinch in the world will have to say "Aw, shucks" when the smiling quartet sings "How'd you like to stay up late/Like the islanders do/Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe." Other highlights include a jaunty instrumental take on "Sleigh Ride" led by Welk show accordion virtuoso Myron Floren (arriving complete with hokey hoof effects, fluttering flutes, and jangling sleigh bells); a countrypolitan "Holly Jolly Christmas" from Clay Hart ("Y'all have a good Christmas now, y'hear?"); and everyone's favorite Emerald Isle singalong, "Christmas in Killarney." Christmas Memories is typical of the budget holiday fare that floods the market each Christmas. But it's also a trip down memory lane for anyone who's ever been transfixed by the grimacing white-bread kookiness of The Lawrence Welk Show. ~ Johnny Loftus