The Ventures, 'The Ventures' Christmas Album' (1965)
This should be a train wreck at the beach: Sixties surf-rock versions of Christmas songs inanely augmented with jingling bells and other thematic accouterments. But it's quite excellent. The Ventures infuse the predictable playlist with clever rock & roll flourishes – opening their hot version of "Rudolph Red-Nosed Reindeer" with an allusion to the Beatles' "I Feel Fine," giving "Frosty the Snowman" a shot of the Champs' "Tequila" and working their own "Walk Don't Run" into "Sleigh Bells." The stylistic invention and off-handed majesty never let up; their plaintively ringing "Silver Bells" is as pretty as a Velvet Underground benediction.
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