Ho, Ho. Ho!
:: This Christmas ::
We all know Hawaiian songsmith Don Ho had a respectable career doing what he did best; charming the ladies. My grandmother was a groupie, traveling to the islands at least a couple times each year and catching The Aliis as often as possible. I remember looking at one of her albums, which had pictures of what appeared to be a hot chick about to rape Ho on stage while he nonchalantly played his organ and sang. I suddenly wanted to move to Hawaii.
If you were lucky enough to have seen Don Ho and his band, The Aliis in their mid-60s heyday at Duke's nightclub in Honolulu, I'm sure you would understand what all the excitement was about, but when it comes down to it, they were not much more than a lounge act.
Getting signed to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label did much to expand Ho's success to the mainland. In those days, if you were with a major label, you had to do at least one Christmas album. Apparently the label thought in order to get the proper Christmas vibe, the Aliis should stay in Hawaii, and arranger Gordon Jenkins was brought in to work his sometimes slightly loopy magic. The impeccable arrangements unfortunately bring Ho's vocal shortcomings to the fore. Jenkin's own composition, "This Christmas" is an odd duck as well, and thus it's inclusion here. Any Christmas song whose lyrics include the word "voluminous" is alright in my book. So do like me; make yourself an egg nog Mai Tai and chill.