Claudine Longet “I Don’t Intend to Spend Christmas Without You”
by Allen Thayer
The impossibly lightweight Longet hit the American record-buying public like a barely smellable fart with an alluring foreign aroma, meaning most people ignored her, but those who couldn’t or didn’t want to, found themselves transfixed and wanting more. Thanks to the productivity and profitability of Herb’s Tijuana Brass, Sergio’s Brazil ’66 and other exotically titled instrumental groups, the path was already well worn by 1966 for the French-born wife of Andy Williams since 1961. By the ubiquity of her catalog in most rural and urban thrift stores, she most have done alright, releasing seven albums between 1967 and 1972. Similar to Astrud Gilberto in nearly every way, her albums are 90% whispered but, unlike Astrud, lack a specific geographical grounding, meandering between ersatz bossa nova, French pop, and Esperanto rhumbas. After her last album in 1972, she stayed out of the spotlight for a few years; that is, until she was convicted of negligent homicide in the death of her boyfriend, Olympic skier Vladmir “Spider” Sabich.
This little slice of peppermint ice-cream cake—“I Don’t Intend to Spend Christmas Without You”—is a bit unique in her catalog, with a bright, poppy arrangement courtesy of A&M’s main maestro Nick De Caro. Some well-placed sleigh bells, zither, and backup vocals complete this modern Christmas original.
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