Various Artists - A Christmas Gift for You From Philles Records (1963), 4/10

A formidably arranged and greatly assembled Christmas album with a few worthy hits. Spector’s wall of sound is in full effect and works quite well for this thematic sound. It’s enduring acclaim as the greatest Christmas album of all time is misguided but it is still among the greats. It simply does not provide a consistent enough track list to contend with Bing Crosby’s Merry Christmas or Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas that are both overflowing with more playful, sentimental, and expertly performed songs. The album was released the same day as Kennedy’s assassination which explains its lack of success, combined with its songs that justifiably took significant time to become Christmas classics. The music itself is characterized by its wall of sound and decorated with outstanding vocal performances, particularly from Darlene Love on all of her contributions. Both The Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans do not add much integrity to an already disjointed track list, making the album unsuccessful as a project despite its worthy singles. Darlene Love’s “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is undoubtedly the height of the record with a few other moments of charming performance such as The Ronettes’ “Sleigh Ride” and the opening rendition of “White Christmas”. While not the greatest Christmas album of all time, A Christmas Gift for You From Philles Records is still worth its run time for the highlights.