Top positive review
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A bluesy gospel Christmas album with special guests
on 15 November 2005
I had not heard any music by this group prior to borrowing a copy of this album - however, this is an excellent Christmas album. As you would expect from a gospel group, they focus almost exclusively on the religious aspect of the festival, the sole exception being White Christmas. There is a different guest singer on each track except the opening and closing tracks, which are without guests.
With any album featuring a variety of guests, one's favorites depend to some extent on one's opion of the various guests. For example, my favorite guest is Shelby Lynne, who does a fine duet of The Christmas song - however, it's not quite my absolute favorite track. That distinction goes to Chrissie Hynde singing In the bleak midwinter, almost as a solo track with the group providing backup harmony. It is one of my favorite carols and I get the impression that it is more popular in Britain than in America, where it turns up occasionally on Christmas albums (this one included) but is by no means common. Other favorites include I pray on Christmas (a cover of a Harry Connick Jr song featuring Solomon Burke), Born in Bethlehem (with Mavis Staples), Little drummer boy (with Michael Franti) and Joy to the world (with Aaron Neville).
This is an album with plenty of variety - they put plenty of energy into Last month of the year (no guests) and Go tell it on the mountain (with Tom Waits), which provide plenty of contrast with the slower songs.
If you are looking for a bluesy gospel Christmas album, this is certainly a good one to choose.