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Bobby DarinAfter breaking into the record racket as a teen idol from the mean streets of Tin Pan Alley ("Dream Lover," "Splish Splash"), Bobby Darin made a beeline towards respectability. He never quite got there - that is, he never joined the ranks of Rat Packers like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin that he so passionately emulated - though it wasn't for lack of trying. His initial stabs at "grown up" entertainment met with great success ("Mack The Knife," "Beyond The Sea"), but Darin was ultimately overtaken by the rock 'n' roll music he tried to leave behind. Eventually, he transformed himself into a folk balladeer, covering Tim Hardin ("If I Were A Carpenter") and the Lovin' Spoonful ("Darling Be Home Soon"). Shortly before his premature death in 1973, Darin even recorded for Motown.

One of Bobby Darin's more curious stabs at redefinition was The 25th Day Of December (Atco, 1960), a not-so-subtle attempt to put Christ back in Christmas - via Las Vegas. While all of these songs concern the birth of Jesus, only a couple ("O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night") are commonly associated with Christmas. Inarguably, Darin sings this gospel music (negro spirituals, mainly) with skill and conviction, but he comes across as stiff and joyless - something good holiday music (let alone gospel singing) should never be.

On the most solemn, reverent cuts (such as "Holy Holy Holy"), Darin sounds positively inanimate. He even sings one song in Latin! And while Bobby and his casino chorale work up a pretty good head of steam during the uptempo tracks (like "Go Tell It On The Mountain"), this is the whitest sanctified shouting you'll ever hear.

The 25th Day Of December has been nicely reissued on CD twice - in mono by Atlantic (1991) and in stereo by Real Gone Music (2013). Happily, both CD reissues of The 25th Day Of December are salvaged by the inclusion of a bonus track, "Christmas Auld Lang Syne," a single Darin released during the same Christmas season. "Christmas Auld Lang Syne" was not included on the original 25th Day Of December LP - presumably for lack of religious content. Nevertheless, it's a novel and affecting song that puts new Christmas-oriented words to the old New Year's hymn, and Darin positively nails it - Ol' Blue Eyes would be proud! Backed with "Child Of God" (a spirited highlight from the LP), both sides of the single charted, rising to #51 and #95, respectively. [top of page]

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  • Christmas Auld Lang Syne
  • Child Of God

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