Best of Bing Crosby: 20th Century Masters/The Christmas Collection

by: Bing Crosby

This edition in Universal's discount-priced compilation series 20th Century Masters/The Christmas Collection is actually a re-titled reissue of the 1999 collection The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas, itself a single-disc distillation of the two-CD set The Voice of Christmas/The Complete Decca Christmas Songbook. It is an excellent 18-track album sampling Crosby's holiday-related recordings made between 1942 and 1956, ranging from religious efforts like "Silent Night" to a medley of traditional carols ("Deck the Halls," "Away in a Manger," and "I Saw Three Ships"); World War II-era seasonal standards such as "I'll Be Home for Christmas"; and, finally, a restored version of the original 1942 recording of "White Christmas." (The song was so popular that Crosby had to re-record it in 1947 because the first master recording was wearing out; ironically, it's the later version, more commonly used since then, that is better known.) There are plenty of Christmas compilations by Crosby, who remains best remembered for his holiday recordings; this is the best single-disc one, released at an attractive price. ~ William Ruhlmann

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