Here's one of the more interesting of this year's Classic Christmas Album releases, mostly because the Man in Black chooses a set list comprised of self-penned songs and songs written by members of the extended Carter/Cash family. The best of these is the old-timey, banjo-driven "Christmas Time's A Comin'" featuring the Cash Family, "That Christmassy Feeling" with Tommy Cash and "Christmas With You" where Johnny shares vocals with June Carter Cash. In a more traditional mode Cash covers the chestnuts "Blue Christmas," "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Joy to the World."
Gladys Knight and the Pips
A couple tunes here like "This Christmas" have soulful overtones but most of the set is performed with traditional arrangements and in the sweet pop style the group is known for. Knight's reading of "The Night before Christmas" is quite possibly the most fun version ever recorded.
Here's a nice piece for Diamond fans, especially those who think they already have everything he's ever put out. With the exception of the self-penned "You Make it Feel Like Christmas" the songs here are all well-known but with his dramatic singing style Diamond puts a unique spin on everything, especially on "Joy to the World" where he's backed by a gospel-style choir.
George Jones & Tammy Wynette
The pairing of Jones and Wynette was one of country music's best ever; here they actually only sing two songs together, "Me & Mrs. Santa Claus" and "The Greatest Christmas Gift." Separately though Wynette's contributions include fine covers of "White Christmas" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" while the Possum handles "Joy to the World," "Jingle Bells" and a couple of originals in "New Baby for Christmas" and "Maybe Next Christmas."
Highlights include two duets put together with studio magic: McBride singing "Blue Christmas" with Elvis Presley and a pairing with Dean Martin on "Baby, It's Cold Outside."
Some Christmas standards included but Alabama fans will love original numbers like "The Blessings," "When it comes to Christmas" and "Christmas in Dixie."
Babs mostly shies away from well-worn tunes here in favor of lesser-known songs like "I Wonder as I Wander," "Snowbound" and the sublime "Christmas Mem'ries."
Sixteen classic holiday songs from one of America's most beloved classic crooners; included are "Silver Bells," "Silent Night," "What Child is This" and "Winter Wonderland."
Preview and pick up these albums here.
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