Album Details

Collectors' Choice Music
Easy Listening, Christmas, Instrumental Pop, Holidays, Vocal Pop

Album Review

Few recordings define the year-end holiday season as auspiciously as Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians' classic Now Is the Caroling Season from 1957. As one of the earliest full-length 12" Christmas albums, it became practically anthemic to generation upon generation of baby boomers. Even as rock & roll was invading the youth-driven marketplace, this collection ably entered the Top 20 pop charts in 1957 and 1958. Waring formed his aggregate while a student at Penn State University, appropriately enough calling the combo the Collegians. Oddly, it was after relocating to Detroit that their name was permanently changed to the Pennsylvanians. By the late '50s, Waring and company had become household names thanks to years of radio, stage, and cinematic exposure. They were additionally the very first musical act to get their own weekly program on the burgeoning medium of television. Now Is the Caroling Season was their second LP for Capitol Records and is presented in much the same fashion as their TV show, with an easy continuous flow combining a cappella or sparsely accompanied choral singing with bold, brimming orchestral scores. The ensemble's capacious sound reflects a spacious stereophonic image that audiophiles will revel in, especially with the close-listening environs of headphones. Although the 21-song track list might suggest the package is housed on more than one disc, most of the selections run well under three minutes, yielding a total playing time of just under 45 minutes. There is an abundance of both sacred and secular material, including traditional numbers such as "Here We Come Awassailing," "March of the Kings," "O Christmas Tree," "Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella," "Angels We Have Heard on High," and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," the vast majority arranged by Waring's seasoned associates Robert Shaw, Roy Ringwald, Jack Best, and Hawley Ades. There are also originals of note, including "It Was a Night of Wonder," "Christmas Was Meant for Children," "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)," and the title composition, "Now Is the Caroling Season," offered on its own and in a medley with "Sleigh Ride" at the album's midpoint.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Now Is the Caroling Season
  2. We Three Kings
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Here We Come Awassailing
  5. O Christmas Tree
  6. Silver Bells
  7. Angels We Have Heard on High
  8. In Sweetest Jubilee
  9. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  10. Masters in This Hall
  11. White Christmas
  12. Now Is the Caroling Season/Sleigh Ride [Medley]
  13. Christmas Was Meant for Children
  14. Heigh Ho the Holly
  15. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  16. Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella
  17. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  18. Angels from the Realms of Glory
  19. The Christmas Song
  20. It Was a Night of Wonder
  21. March of the Kings