Chicago, “O Come All Ye Faithful” from Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998): Saturdays in the Park

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This version of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” which appears on both 1998’s Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album and 2003’s expanded reissue What’s It Gonna Be Santa, is one of my favorite Chicago Christmas songs.

Part of its appeal is the restrained, yet thoughtfully modern production of E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan. “O Come All Ye Faithful” includes tasteful touches of acoustic guitar from guest Tim Pierce, a simple drum figure (programmed by Jason Scheff) with light percussion touches from Luis Conte, and a simply wonderful James Pankow horn arrangement. In fact, Pankow’s use of Walt Parazaider’s alto sax, flute and Lee Loughnane’s piccolo trumpet is simply beautiful.

Equally pleasing is Jason Scheff’s arrangement of the song, and vocal performance. Scheff, an outstanding bassist, really shows off his vocal chops on “O Come All Ye Faithful.” He’s restrained and totally natural singing this holiday favorite, seemingly liberated from having to try to sound like anyone else but himself.

Bill Champlin works his usual background vocal-arranging magic, stacking his voice with Scheff’s, and the results are joyous.


‘Saturdays in the Park’ is a multi-writer, song-by-song examination of the music of Chicago. Find it here at Something Else! each weekend.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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