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4.6 out of 5 stars563
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 November 2012
I've been a fan of Rod Stewart's since the days of Jeff Beck Group,Steampacket and the Faces, he is without doubt one of the British Rock Greats. This Christmas release though has it's moments but for me somethinmg is missing. Most of it is the Great American Songbook Christmas Edition, which is fine but in this case the songs lack interest,there is no real life or joy of the season to the very well known songs chosen,the arrangements don't get the best out of Rod and at times seem to me to drag along somewhat. The duets are ok but but the one with Michael Buble is very nuch as you would expect,vey MB in style and content.Interesting duet with Ella Fitzgerald which must be an older track as she sadly is no longer with us, with the addition of the amazing Chris Botti on trumpet, it sounds like Rod's voice was added to an original recording,although I could be wrong. I really do like the one with Mary J Blige on 'We Three Kings', this is one track with a great gospel arrangemeny and gives this carol classic a nice fresh sound. The one track that really lifts the whole album is the title song he shares with Ce Lo Green, it's a cracking one full of life and rhythm that gets the toes tapping and it's such a shame more of the album wasn't given more of this type of treatment.
Too many of the songs have been done so many times and appear on pretty well every Christmas release, which also makes this release one that does not rate anywhere among Rod's best, he doesn't do poor albums ever,this one though just lacks that special something I was expecting, but we do get a new rock album next spring so we don't have long to wait.
So an OK album, but nothing more than that,sorry!
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on 8 December 2012
Rod Stewart Merry Christmas Baby , this is an amazing cd and when i say amazing i mean amazing the most lovely festive cd you will ever buy i promise you that.. rod is amazing those delicious vocals husky and also mellow warm tones ... just outstanding this is really rods thing is christmas music, because he just nails those vocals! this album is uplifting beautiful and fun oh and what ever you do hear the beautiful collaboration of winter wonderland micheal buble and rod .. this is just gorgeous inspiring timeless album starts with have yourself a merry little christmas and then takes you through several well known old favourites .. think snowy fields think christmas lights think roaring log fires think sparkly christmas trees and then gently onto the final track auld lang syne ..the end of another year .. and time for new beginnings .. and with that i,ll wish you a very very merry christmas and of course all the very best for the new year !
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on 5 December 2012
I saw Rod Stewart on a TV interview the other week and he sang one of the songs on this album. I thought wow that really sounds good !! I have never bought any Rod Stewart albums before. I was looking forward to buying this CD and I bought it for my (early) birthday present , couldn't wait so I opened it and have really been enjoying it all this week. I love it and all of the songs are great, I love the combination with the other singers too. It has this kind of special, warm, jazzy, upbeat and lovely feel to it. I am truly enjoying "Merry Christmas Baby" all the songs are beautiful. It makes me happy when I listen to it!
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on 1 December 2012
Christmas albums are generally hit or miss affairs. So many different artists have turned in these Christmas projects, with generally mixed results. So how does Rod Stewart's first Christmas album hold up?

Fairly well, actually, as far as Christmas records go. As far as Rod Stewart albums, yet another cover record. For those looking for a rather inoffensive, by the numbers Christmas album, you would do well to purchase this record.

First off, I've never been a huge Stewart fan - I know the radio hits and have heard a few of his albums here and there. For those fans of "Maggie May", look elsewhere. You won't find that Stewart on this record. He's been MIA for years.

And for good reason. Since 2002, Rod Stewart has "reinvented" himself as a rather indistinguishable cocktail lounge singer, covering the "Great Song American Songbook", which as of 2012 there are five volumes and a live album. For a decade, Stewart has been coasting.

Although not officially part of the "American Songbook" series, "Merry Christmas, Baby" is very much an unofficial companion to that ongoing series. The music is mellow, never straying very far from the traditional arrangements we've all heard so many times over. There are the prerequisite duets - Mary J. Blidge joins Stewart on "We Three Kings" and C Low Green makes an appearance on "Merry Christmas, Baby". Even a Disney song shows up ("When You Wish Upon a Star"). Unfortunately, so does Michael Buble on the rather dismal "Winter Wonderland". Sorry, just not a Buble fan. However, all sins involving Buble are completely absolved with the stunning duet with Ella Fitzgerald on "What Are You Doing on New Year's Eve". This track alone is worth the price of admission and is easily the highlight of the entire record.

In context of Stewart's career, the "Merry Christmas, Baby" is rather troubling for those fans of his older work. Stewart is transforming himself more into someone who would appear on the Laurence Welk Show than the Ed Sullivan Show, and this trajectory apparently goes on unabated. With someone who has been around as long as Stewart, you do have to reinvent yourself and continually search.

Johnny Cash with Rick Rubin launched his "American Recordings" series in 1994, with the last installment appearing in 2011, nine years after Cash's death. The concept of these albums is similar to the "Great American Songbook" - Johnny Cash becomes an interpreter of a vast array of American standards. While there were hits and misses on these albums, overall, the American Recordings work wonderfully well - mostly because Cash was always a fantastic interpreter of other people's work. Likewise, Dylan issued two cover albums of old folk standards in the early 1990s; I believe he used those two albums to get back in touch with his own type of songwriting, and has since gone on to release a series of his most artistically viable music since the 1960s (the rather saccharine, yet wholly charming, "Christmas in the Heart" not withstanding).

[While] Dylan played the 2009 "Christmas in the Heart" with a straight a poker face as one can imagine, at least the vast, sweeping disconnect from the guttural, throat-wrenching voice Dylan now has with the material he was singing (complete with backup choirs and corny Christmas arrangements) made for some (perhaps unintentional) rather comedic, yet oddly effective, listening. However, with "Merry Christmas, Baby", Stewart simply sounds like the lounge singer you hear on cruise ships. What's troubling is this is same Stewart we've been hearing for the last ten years.

Unlike Cash and Dylan, Stewart shows no signs of really reconnecting to his past to really make something worthwhile. The closest we get to the old Stewart is the closing "Auld Lange Syne", with its acoustic guitar playing really coming alive.

Now, although this review has had a rather negative slant, that's only because I am discussing "Merry Christmas, Baby" in terms of Stewart's career. Stewart has always been a phenomenal singer. "Merry Christmas, Baby" is a good enough record for what it is - a slow, mellow Christmas record with a few upbeat tempo songs thrown in here and there.

Of course, Christmas albums are often not indicative of what the artists are doing normally in their careers anyway, so they can get away with a lot more than they may try on a regular release. Sure, Dylan did "Christmas in the Heart" in 2009, but that record is an anomaly. But for those waiting for Stewart to come out with a strong album of original material like he did in his heyday or at least a cover album that is marginally interesting, don't count on it.

It's Christmas - artists should have fun; just go in expecting these type of albums are more detours than anything. With Stewart though, this project is just another uninteresting, bland, predictable "American Songbook" album in all but name.

I'd be far more enthusiastic about "Merry Christmas, Baby" had Rod's last ten years been different, holding a similar view of this record like I do with "Christmas in the Heart" (a fun diversion from an interesting later day, long overdue renaissance, but a diversion nonetheless). For what it is (standard, mellow, Christmas music), Rod does well. Hence, I am rating this three stars.

But for those waiting for Stewart to ditch the lounge act and issue some great music on par with his heyday material, keep waiting.
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on 18 November 2012
What a wonderful Christmas album with Auld Lang Syne reducing me to tears it is so beautiful. The crazy build up to have everything prepared for the festive feast will now be all the more relaxing. Thank you Mr Stewart. p.s. the tidbit for your next album makes me a sure buyer of that one too.
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on 3 December 2012
Just absolutely fantastic and brilliant , great songs, fabulous arrangements, soft orchestral environment perfectly rod stewart 's voice. I bought 5 of them just because it is a marvelous Xmas gift
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I was looking around for a new Christmas album for this year. I seem to have all the others and am bored silly with playing them year after year. Then I came across this one by Rod and had a listen to samples of all the songs. I bought the MP3 album right away!

Its been playing on repeat on my iPod in a sound dock and its great! I love his raunchy, deep voice and him singing all these Christmas classics is quite splendid. I LOVE it and it will be played all through the festive season in my house.

Merry Christmas every one x
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on 12 November 2012
This is the latest album from Rod for a while and whilst it's good it is simple reinterpretations of well known Christmas (and New Year) songs.

They are all beautifully arranged and orchestrated and Rod's voice is marvellous (as ever) but I think it belongs in the Great American Songbook stable rather than anywhere else.

Don't get me wrong, on a first listen I thoroughly enjoyed it and willl, I'm sure, listen to it many more times over the next 6 weeks or so. But Christmas songs in the middle or summer won't really work.

But let's hope that it is a huge seller and sets the stage for his album of new songs due out in Spring 2013.
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on 2 December 2012
Some people have said it's not one of Rod's better Albums and only a couple of songs are ok. Well they are wrong. As there are hundreds of different Christmas Cd's this is a nice change. Lots of different arrangements that make them all unique to Rod. His duets all work wonderfully. We listened to this while wrapping this years christmas presents and it made the time fly by and all of us really enjoyed it. Even our 15 year old daughter loved it!!. Looks like you've still got it Rod!!
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on 5 January 2013
Excellent and up to his usual high standard! He can take any genre of music and make it his own. Looking forward to his new cd coming out in april 2013.
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