I posted on my favorite Christmas songs of the season a week or so ago. Truth be told, had I written that on another day, the list would be different. Some would still be there, but a couple would have been changed.
Take the hymn All Come All Ye Faithful. That is one of the earliest Christmas songs I remember hearing. My sister got a small musical play organ for Christmas when she was little. It had a couple books of music for it. One was a book of Christmas songs, and this was on the list. It was the one she tried to play (and later, I successfully learned to play).
Perhaps because of that, a sort of 'familiarity breeds contempt', I usually don't put this as a favorite. I've heard it for so many years it's more of less just part of the Christmas canvas. Especially because it's often played in churches across every tradition but Orthodoxy.
Nonetheless, there is one version I absolutely love, and if I was writing about which versions of Christmas songs I love, it would be this one:
Andy Williams was a favorite for both my parents. Along with my dad's other records, he had several of Mr. Williams and I used to listen to them as much as any others. His powerful yet smooth voice just struck the right chord for me.
But his version of this standard is one of the best. The whole builds to a crescendo by the end when he hits the last 'The Lord' in the lyrics, he absolutely sticks it. Musically speaking, he hits absolute perfection, with both that high note and the lovely fade away. I don't hear him nail that last note without getting goose bumps.
I have a couple Andy Williams CDs and albums, and they're staples for our annual Christmas play lists. But when this one comes on, I stop what I'm doing and listen. By the end, it's worth it every time.