Reviewed by Johan Palme on 1st December, 2015
In 1964, showbiz darlings, married couple Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé were at the top of their game. In their late twenties, effortlessly and timelessly cool in a way that should have been impossible after the rock’n’roll revolution, they were both TV stars and chart toppers.
This Christmas record may be the last gasp of their high period, but what a seductive gasp it is! Seductive of the lifestyle on offer, of cocktails and sharply-cut suits, of the kind of unabashedly moneyed distinction that would soon be thankfully drowned in plastics and counterculture. Seductively voiced. (Steve Lawrence especially, voice like buttered silk, is the great lost crooner, and would have been a legend were he twenty years older and Italian.) And amorously seductive – the duets, especially the title track, are loaded with suggestive lavacious playfulness. “Misteltoeing” indeed.
Of course, it’s far from a perfect record. Large parts of the A side is traditional pop of the more uninspiring kind, a bland and bowdlerised version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” the disappointing choice of opening track. The cracks in the perfect Mad Men-style surface get a bit too apparent at times, that perfect sheen slipping, exposing a duller core. That same year, the British Invasion came and swept this sort of thing away. Steve never had top 50 hits again, and Eydie found an entirely new audience in Mexico. But this album is still poised at the last near-perfect moment before it all was gone.
The version on Spotify and Apple music is a decent but crackly direct-from-vinyl rip. If a better version comes available this entry will be updated.