A WORD FROM BOB
It’s hard to believe that one of my family’s favorite Christmas albums is Holiday Sing Along With Mitch. I recorded the album with Mitch Miller and the Gang in 1961! Still, every year that album is carefully removed from its sleeve and placed on the turntable. The grandchildren pull out the lyric sheets and everyone starts singing the classics. The other family favorite is…you guessed it, Bob’s Christmas Sing Along CD, a new classic that has already become a tradition in many households, including ours.
About 7 or 8 years ago, I asked Mike Renzi, Music Director on Sesame Street, if he would help me put a bunch of my favorite holiday songs together. I wanted to keep it simple, just like Mitch, so anyone could sing along, young or old. Together we chose 13 classics, as well as an original by Ken Baron, who also wrote Your Face from Sing Me a Story. The last song on the recording, Keep Christmas With You, has been a favorite of mine ever since we filmed the Christmas special Christmas Eve on Sesame Street. I sang it to Linda Bove and the children. Her Christmas present to me was to teach the kids the song in sign language. That show is still one of my two most favorite specials we have ever made in 45 years.
For this CD, I wanted to expose children to a variety of musical styles: Country, Caribbean, Stride, Pop, R&B, and more. Mike helped us put a new face on old classics. We worked with musicians from the Sesame Street band who are some of New York’s finest studio musicians: Mike Renzi, Sesame Street’s musical director, pianist, and arranger (Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, and Woody Allen); Lou Marini, saxophone and flute (Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live); James Saporito, drummer and percussionist (NY Pops, Broadway music composer, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, N.Y. Philharmonic, and Gladys Knight); Bobby Cranshaw, Jazz bassist (Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson); Jack Cavari, guitar (Alicia Keys, Frank Sinatra, and Aretha Franklin); and Buddy Williams, drums (Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder). My good friend Francisco Nunez was also kind enough to bring a few singers from his very talented Young People’s Chorus of New York City to the session.
I hope that everyone in your family, from toddlers to grandparents, will enjoy these fun new arrangements as much as my family has over the years.