The Beach Boys have been cranking out the reissue and compilation albums for a few years now. Their latest is titled Christmas Harmonies which resurrects eleven tracks from their classic 1964 Christmas album plus four more which have been issued in various forms over the years.
Does the world need another Beach Boys album or to be precise another Beach Boys Christmas album? The answer is probably no, but the music is just so good. If you do not own any of their holiday material or just possess the 1964 vinyl album, then this would be a wise and enjoyable buy.
The four rare tracks are a hit and miss affair. “Child Of Winter,” created in 1974 has seen the light of day a few previous times over the decades, but still remains one of the rarer Beach Boys tracks. It also remains one of their better creations from the seventies. The vocals, the harmonies, and the production rank with some of their best work. The alternate take of “Auld Lang Syne” features the young Beach Boys at the height of their vocal powers and there were few better. On the other hand “Melekalikimaka” and “(I Saw Santa) Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” are non-offensive but lightweight additions.
The tracks I enjoyed in 1964 and through the years remain the ones I still prefer today. Brian Wilson gives two of the great lead vocals of his career on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Blue Christmas.” The harmonies on the traditional “We Three Kings Of Orient Are” are exquisite. Their hit single, “Little Saint Nick,” is still a couple minutes of pure listening enjoyment.
The Beach Boys have provided any number of unique Christmas gifts over the years. For many this latest release may be a little too familiar but that does not take away from the overall quality of the music.