The Ultimate Merry Christmas (2 CD)
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Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard—a.k.a. The Supremes—ushered in 1965 with the electrifying, era-defining “Stop! In the Name of Love,” their fourth of five consecutive, record-breaking, chart-topping singles. In that year alone, the undisputed queens of Motown released five sizzling LPs, including their only holiday album: the instant classic Merry Christmas. Produced by Detroit legend Harvey Fuqua with arrangements by the great Gene Page, H.B. Barnum, and Ernie Freeman, Merry Christmas was filled with joyful delights. In addition to The Supremes’ inimitable versions of yuletide favorites, it introduced Jimmy Webb’s first-ever recorded song (“My Christmas Tree”) and yielded a pair of charting singles (the Motown originals “Children’s Christmas Song” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Me”) plus a yearly Christmas radio staple (“My Favorite Things”). This salute to the season quickly became a chart mainstay and all-time perennial. In 2015, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Merry Christmas was expanded as a digital-only release with nine previously unreleased bonus tracks. Now, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records, in conjunction with Motown/Universal Music Group, are proud to present a Christmas feast that is so bountiful, it could only be called The Ultimate Merry Christmas. This landmark release boasts all of the tracks from the 2015 digital edition and more, for an astounding total of 50 tracks on 2 CDs, of which 16 are previously unreleased and 21 are new to CD! The Ultimate Merry Christmas features the album in three distinctive versions: the original 1965 mono mix (which has never been on CD), the original 1965 stereo mix, and a brand new, never-before-heard 2017 mix premiering previously unheard vocals and instrumentation. And that’s not all! The additional, previously unreleased bonus tracks include a Diana Ross/Florence Ballard duet on “Silent Night,” and a Diana/Mary Wilson duet on “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).” The Ultimate Merry Christmas has been curated and co-produced by Andrew Skurow and George Solomon, the team responsible for Motown’s long-running series of Supremes and Diana Ross expanded editions, including the recent Supremes A’ Go-Go. It’s been newly remastered by Kevin Reeves, who has also mixed all of the bonus tracks. The digipak’s deluxe booklet features numerous photos and memorabilia, and The Second Disc’s Joe Marchese has provided new liner notes, including commentary from Jimmy Webb. The Ultimate Merry Christmas is loaded with timeless Motown magic; it’s the ultimate Christmas gift from the number one girl group of all time, and the Christmas release of the year for collectors!
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