The Leader of the ‘Pack…

…was Frank Sinatra to be sure — even one of his nicknames was “The Leader”. But when it comes to the holiday season there’s no arguing Dean Martin is the top dog (rat?).

Frank certainly compiled a sizable and very fine array of holiday songs but Dean ruled the Christmas roost with a slew of wintry love songs and  classic Christmas/holiday numbers.

So it comes as no surprise that Deana Martin followed her dad into the blustery holiday music arena with her new White Christmas – Deana Martin album. Deana does a swell job rendering many of Dean’s headline Christmas hits, but there’s one thing missing that would’ve made it perfect. 

 Andy Williams is a wonderful guy and all…

While steeping myself in Deana’s White Christmas album to tool up a review, I kept listening to her and Andy sing a nice version of “White Christmas” and wishing she was singing this number with her dad. Hey, Andy does a great job on the duet, but my gosh nobody, and I mean NOBODY– including Bing — does a better job with that song than Dean Martin!

A well crafted Dean-Deana holiday duet album could be very special … yikes, did I say that out loud?

I know, I know … I’ve stood high atop the “synthetic duet hater” soapbox (Duet’s with the Dead) — screaming my disdain for all the world to hear. And to be sure, I’m NOT recanting my position or returning my charter membership card in the Synth-Duet Hater Club … I still consider the vast majority of synth duets to be abominations.

But if you recall from that post, the one exception I offered was parent/child synth duets. I gotta believe that Dean would love to sing with Deana … so here’s hoping we see a Dean-Deana album or two in the future. Hopefully at the same quality level as the Nat-Natalie records from the ’90s.

A Mini White Christmas review…

with all the Dean-Deana distraction out of the way, here’s a quick three line review of Deana’s 3rd album and first holiday effort.

Deana brings her clean and fresh style to ten classic Christmas songs on her White Christmas album (full track list below) but I think she really set’s herself apart on “What are You Doing New Years Eve?”  and “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”; while at the same time delivering a version of “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” that screams for Dean to join her (yes we’re back to that).

Overall White Christmas offers strong Christmas fare that’s definitely worth a listen … it could only be better with Dean & Deana singing “White Christmas”! OK, ok … I’ll stop.

Dean-Deana play-listing…

… is the only way to get  father and daughter together at this point. If you’re looking for some great material from Dean to saddle alongside Deana’s latest release, theres a lot to choose from. Arguably too much even.

You can’t spill your scotch without sloshing it on a Dean Martin holiday release. I lost count somewhere around twelve holiday albums while wandering through the 307 (307!) DM albums listed on Amazon. Let’s cut through all the chaff and re-releases and land on my pick for best Dean Martin holiday album.

The newest is OK … but not the best

Dean’s latest release is My Kind of Christmas from Hip-o Records. It’s got all the classic Dean Christmas numbers, with Scarlett Johansson “joining” him on a synth duet of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. The duet doesn’t suck but still falls into my “meh” bucket. Overall the album sounds somewhat over produced to me with the vocal track a bit too forward … not a poor remaster as much as a net “no gain” from a quality standpoint.

A Winter Romance – Dean Martin

… is what you want (Capitol ’59 release). This is not a pure-play Christmas album but, to me delivers the goods. It’s like a Rat Pack era adult holiday assembly of cool numbers with personal favorites “Canadian Sunset”, “Out in the Cold Again” and the title track “Winter Romance”  mixed in with Dean’s best Christmas songs (track list below).

I called out the original ’59 album because somebody named Collectors Choice re-released A Winter Romance in 2006  — inexplicably adding four non-holiday (nonsensical!) tracks … sad. If that’s the only version you can find, that’s cool but ignore those last four tracks (from a holiday listening standpoint).

There is one “absolute gotta have” Christmas number missing from Winter Romance that you need to snag … “Peace On Earth/Silent Night (Medley)” is such a beautiful song. Medley’s are hit-and-miss for me but this one song truly exceeds the sum of it’s parts and is probably my #1 Christmas song from anyone anywhere. Make sure this song is on your holiday playlist. (Find it on Christmas with the Rat Pack album.)

TRACK LISTS…

Deana Martin – White Christmas

1. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
2. Silver Bells
3. What Are You Doing New Years Eve
4. Winter Wonderland
5. White Christmas (duet with Andy Williams)
6. My Favorite Things
7. Jingle Bell Rock
8. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
9. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
10. The Christmas Song

A Winter Romance (Dean Martin)

1 Winter Romance
2 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
3 The Things We Did Last Summer
4 I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
5 June in January
6 Canadian Sunset
7 Winter Wonderland
8 Out in the Cold Again
9 Baby, It’s Cold Outside
10 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
11 White Christmas
12 It Won’t Cool Off
13 The Christmas Blues

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