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A perfect Christmas voice

I Want a Smile for Christmas
I Want a Smile for Christmas
By Freddy Cole

Fantasy Records: 1995

This review first appeared in the December 1, 1995 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Next to Lou Rawls, no contemporary singer has a voice so perfectly suited to holiday material as Freddy Cole. With his rich, sonorous voice; that sinuous phrasing; that famous family name, it was probably inevitable that Freddy Cole would record a Christmas album.

Now in his 60s, Freddy is a better singer than his more famous older brother, Nat, who died too young to reach his full potential as a singer. And so, if anything, Freddy's version of "The Christmas Song" – that old Mel Tormé chestnut – is more Nat than Nat's own, simply because of Freddy's superior phrasing, more mature vocals. Freddy's takes on "Jingle Bells," "Blue Christmas" and "Silent Night" are likewise instant classics.

So sprinkle some extra nutmeg on the eggnog and spin this CD while snuggling in front of a fire.