As seasonal offerings go, this one really cuts through the mass manufactured dross. Matthews' delightful lilting welsh accent adds character and a real warmth to the songs, which, though we've heard them all before, we've never quite heard like this. We continued to play this album long into January. It's simply too good to consign to just the run up to Christmas...
What a singer. Beautiful songs,well sung and intimate. Arrived with perfect timing on Christmas eve. A sure fire Christmas classic that will be enjoyed for many years to come. The only only regret that I have is that I missed her performing them live during her last tour of the UK.
Cerys Matthews has a lower profile these days than she did as lead singer with Catatonia, but her voice was (to my mind, anyway) always the most important feature of that band. I enjoy Catatonia's music, but the Christmas music featured here is some way removed from Catatonia. Cerys retains her amazing voice, singing quite softly some of the time but picking up where appropriate.
Some years ago, Cerys recorded Baby it's cold outside as a duet with Tom Jones. When I learned that the song was to be the title track of a whole album of Christmas songs by Cerys, I wondered if Tom would be the male singer, but would not have minded if Cerys had recorded the song again with another quality male singer. As I discovered, Tom is the man, so anybody who thinks it would have been heresy to record the song with another man can rest easy.
The track listing shows that Cerys has selected songs that are mainly traditional and familiar, but it isn't quite that simple. There is one Welsh song (Y darlun), that I haven't heard before, and which Cerys says isn't usually sung at Christmas, but the image fits. Elsewhere, Cerys has added distinctive touches to the traditional songs. These include a trilingual version of Silent night; the first verse is in English and the last version is in German. (Sorry I'm not sure about the language of the middle verse).
Apart from the title track, my favorite track here is While shepherds watched their flock. It is the kind of song that is standard around Christmas time in British carol services, but the song only rarely appears on American Christmas albums. Cerys has recorded a truly magnificent version of the song. It would be an excellent choice for inclusion on multi-artist Christmas compilations in years to come as an occasional change from Baby it`s cold outside.
I could wax lyrical about all the tracks here, but suffice to say that while 2012 has seen the release of several excellent Christmas albums, this one is right up there with the best of them.
I just bought this CD ,and I love it already, I've always liked Baby It's Cold Outside, I know its cheesy, but its good fun .I've always liked Cerys' voice, and I love the understated way she sings some of these well known songs.There isn't a bad track but my favourite ones so far are Go tell It on the Mountain,and The Little Drummer Boy but that could be different on a different day, great Christmas CD,I bought this one for myself, but it would make a great present as well.In fact I told my Mum about it and she wants me to buy her one for Christmas,but I see they are out of stock,I even checked Cerys's website and she is out of stock too,goes to show what a great CD this is.
Sometimes Christmas songs and albums have no meaning, all bells and whistles with little substance. Not so on this album of well known festive songs. Sung beautifully by Wales' Cerys Matthews these songs have a childlike simplicity in their arrangement & execution but this is the albums strength. Cerys has always maintained her Welsh accent which gives everything she sings a truly unique charm.
This quiet, reflective seasonal album is fast becoming the sound of Christmas in this house.
Highly recommended. We have a 5-week baby who is soothed by this record making not only Christmas all the more special but all the quieter! The unmistakable Cerys voice with playful backing bringing to life some of the old classics. More than a sprinkling of Welsh amongst it proves she remains true to her roots. A rare original take on the Christmas album.
Ms Matthews is I think something of a Welsh National Treasure. I say this with some trepidation as I am as English as a pint of warm bitter beer and have no Welsh ancestry. What I do have is an admiration for Cerys' music stretching right back to the days of Catatonia. I have also enjoyed her development into new spheres (such as broadcasting) and I particularly like the wide range of interests she pursues into many and varied aspects of culture and history.
Anyway, on to this album of Christmas Songs. Cerys sings a selection of tuneful traditional Christmas Carols and popular Christmas songs. In the former category we get "While Shepherds Watched...", "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night" etc. In the latter category "Jingle Bells", "Deck the Halls" and Little Donkey". The arrangements are tuneful as well as quite traditional in terms of tempo and, as I discovered at Christmas 2016, the album is ideal for a family sing along if you have children or grand children.
We also get that old favourite: - the duet by Cerys and Sir Tom of "Baby It's Cold Outside" just to remind us that Cerys is still that roistering bundle of sexiness who first raised my temperature back in 1997!
To sum up this is a perfect Christmas album of well chosen and delightfully performed songs. Ideal family Christmas listening.