Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some Quick CD Reviews

Here are some quick reviews of new Christmas CDs for 2011.  I've purchased all of these CDs myself.

Tommy Emmanuel - "All I Want for Christmas"

I love this CD.  Tommy Emmanuel is one of my favorite musicians, and one of the two artists I most wanted to release a Christmas CD.  Lo and behold, he recorded this gem of an album this year.  Tommy is quite possibly the best finger-style guitarist in the world.  Want proof?  Check out his Beatles medley on Youtube.  Anyway, back to "All I Want for Christmas".  Tommy performs 12 songs, starting with a light-hearted "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and ending with a reverent and powerful arrangement of "How Great Thou Art".  Included with the standards are two original compositions, "The Magic of Christmas" and "One Christmas Night", and they are indeed beautiful.  Sure, I'm a biased Tommy Emmanuel fan, but I think everyone will enjoy this wonderful record

Carole King - "A Holiday Carole".

My only disappointment with this CD is that I bought it, not at Target, a day before I found out that Target's edition has three bonus songs.  Drat.  I am tempted to re-buy the Target edition, but que sera sera.  Carole King's Christmas entry is terrific, hence my early-buyer's remorse.  Carole sings these songs with such a gladness that you can't help but smile.  "Sleigh Ride" is a rolicking joy.  I especially like her performances of "Chanukah Prayer", "Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday", and "Christmas in the Air".  These song are refreshing changes from the usual slate of holiday tunes.  The only song that doesn't work for me is "Carol of the Bells".  It sounds a little stiffer than the rest of the album.  Still, it's a minor complaint, and overall this will be a great addition to your holiday music collection.

Michael Buble - "Christmas"

Pretty darned good, I'll tell ya...  This is one of the family's favorites this year, especially the guyed-up version of "Santa Baby".  This record is a lot of fun, and features some great partnering with Shania Twain and the Puppini Sisters.  Great stuff.  If you like the classic crooners, you'll like Michael Buble.

"A Jersey Boys Christmas"

My wife really likes this record.  I do as well, though probably not quite as much.  The vocal performances are a little uneven, and the faux-Frankie Valli falsetto tends to wear on the listener after a while.  But, there are some excellent cuts here.  John Lloyd Young's songs, in particular, stand out from the rest.  His "Santa Medley" is great fun, and his "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is frankly one of the best arrangements and interpretations I've ever heard.  Bobby Fox's "Angels From the Realms of Glory" is another highlight.  the bottom line, is if you're a "Jersey Boys" fan, you'll like this.  If not, you might want to check out the tracks individually and download your favorites.  Ultimately, I'm glad I got it.
Interesting story, my wife and I sat next to John Lloyd Young in a NYC restaurant for about 45 minutes and didn't know it was him.  We didn't find out until he left, and the people he had met there filled us in.

Mannheim Steamroller - "Christmas Symphony"

Ok, I'm a Mannheim Steamroller fan.  I think they helped a mid-80s resurgence of Christmas music popularity, and I like their style.  I'm also a collection-completist (to a certain degree, ahem, the Lowe's special collection of previously released material).  So, I happily bought this new CD, and I enjoy it.  However, there's not really much new here.  Slightly re-arranged and re-recorded MH songs, some performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.  So, you know, it's good stuff, I like it, but it's not new and groundbreaking.  If you have a few MH CDs already, you can probably live without this one.  Unless you're a completist like me, then you'll just have to have it :-)

That's it for tonight.  Will try to get a John Zorn review done here in a few days...

No comments:

Post a Comment