Top positive review
16 people found this helpful
An excellent Christmas album
on 8 September 2009
Containing a mix of familiar and less obvious material, ballads and up-tempo songs, this album has something for everybody The booklet contains liner notes including comments from Bette in which she acknowledges the passing of her long-time producer Arif Mardin. So it seems that she had to find a new producer for this album, but the quality of this album shows that Robbie Buchanan was an able replacement.
The set opens with a lovely slow song titled Merry Christmas, then explodes into life with the rousing, joyful Cool Yule, followed by the very familiar ballad Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Johnny Mathis joins Bette for a playful medley of Winter wonderland / Let it snow let it snow let it snow, which they have a lot of fun with. Next comes the reflective I'll be home for Christmas, one of best Christmas ballads there is. After this Bette sings another fine ballad, What are you doing New Year's Eve?, which isn't strictly about Christmas but it's close enough. In any case, I'm not sure that that there are enough New Year songs to compile an album of them.
The next ballad, I've got my love to keep me warm, mentions December and snow but not Christmas. Nevertheless, it's most welcome here. Bette follows this song with O come o come Emmanuel, the only religious song here. After all those slow songs, the tempo picks up again for Mele Kalikimaka, the Hawaiian Christmas song normally associated with the Andrews sisters. Of course, this isn't the first time that Bette has recorded one of their songs. Two very familiar songs close the album, these being the Christmas version of From a distance (not that different from the original, though the differences are noticeable) and White Christmas, which includes the oft-omitted first verse setting the scene in Beverley Hills.
Overall, this is an excellent Christmas album that Bette clearly enjoyed recording. One wonders why it took her so long to record a Christmas album, but whatever the reason, it was worth the wait.