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Eddy Arnold

Christmas Time – 1997 (Curb)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Eddy Arnold

Pop quiz: Who has the most number-one country hits ever? It's Eddy Arnold, and even though he's 79 years old now, he actually doesn't sound bad. Granted, listening to him slide half an octave to hit a high note is painful at times, but for the most part, his subdued versions of these songs come across well. Much credit goes to Chuck Howard, who produced John Berry's Christmas masterpiece of two years ago and does well with the simple country-pop arrangements here. A medley of "O Christmas Tree" and "Jingle Bells" is one of the album's best tracks, and for the closer Arnold sings a pretty version of "Silent Night," backed only by an acoustic guitar. Although the album contains mostly classic Christmas songs, Arnold also performs a few new songs. "Put a Ribbon in Your Hair" is basically Alan Jackson's "I Only Want You for Christmas" with the tempo slowed down, and "Just Like Christmas" is an atrociously sappy love-your-neighbor song. That song aside, it's good to hear Arnold again.