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....and A Merry Christmas To You Too Mary
on 26 November 2013
With the festive season almost upon us we have grown accustomed to
a veritable tidal wave of releases cashing-in on our allegiances to
one artist or another. Some good; some turkeys and once in a while
one or two which turn out to be transcendent and true. Annie Lennox
did a terrific job in 2010 with 'A Christmas Cornucopia' and Ms Blige's
offering, in the most different of ways, is a very precious arrival too.
Is it me or does her voice just keep getting better? In 'A Mary Christmas'
(a must for the stockings of Friends Of Miss Gale if ever there was one!)
she takes on some old war horses and with the vocal magic which only she can
muster transforms them into rich, sumptuous and soulful interpretations.
From the heart-warming opening take of 'Little Drummer Boy', a gently
snappy rhythmic foundation supporting a superb orchestral accompaniment
and perfectly focused vocal performance; through the perky and (given our
familiarity with Julie Andrews' version) somewhat surreal Broadway-ish
arrangement of 'My Favorite Things' (Mary doing Maria!....that's something
I'd really want to see!!); 'When You Wish Upon A Star', a deliriously deft duet
with Barbara Streisand and another cracking double-act, Jessie J this time,
on 'Do You Hear What I Hear?', we are never less than certain that we are in
the presence of one of the very greatest singers on Planet Earth and beyond!
There are twelve tracks on this wonderful collection and not a bad egg in the box.
Ms Blige's sublime delivery of 'Petit Papa Noel' is alone worth the price of the album.