Picks and Pans Review: Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis

updated 12/08/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Johnny Mathis

Mathis should "be forgiven if he's delivering the seasonal tidings with somewhat less joy than in the past. This is his sixth album of Christmas songs, which would be enough to tax anyone's goodwill. This effort mixes traditional and new holiday tunes. Among the older ones are The Christmas Waltz and Jingle Bells, while the recent compositions include Every Christmas Eve and Giving (Santa's Theme) from Santa Claus: The Movie. The arrangements—by Henry Mancini, Ray Ellis and Jeremy Lubbock—tend to big stringy orchestrations that are too much for intimacy and not passionate enough for majesty. (The background choral contributions are from the International Children's Choir and St. Michael's School in North Hollywood.) Mathis' singing is characteristically smooth, yet never very engaged. (Columbia)

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