Monday, January 07, 2008

Top of the Yuletide pops

Top of the Yuletide pops

Christmas comes but once a year and with it a host of albums celebrating the festive season

Published on December 17, 2007

Ultra Lounge Presents the Best of Christmas Cocktails (various artists)

Classic tunes by great vocalists are digitally re-mastered for this nostalgic Christmas album that will appeal to older family members. Tracks include Peggy Lee's jazzy rendition of "Happy Holiday", Billy May's Latin-flavoured "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", Bing Crosby's "Frosty The Snowman", Lena Horne's brass-and-percussive "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town", Wayne Newton's "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and Julie London's wonderfully silky "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm".

Memories of a Winter's Night

(Dave Koz)

For his third holiday album, the popular saxophonist's interprets 12 holiday standards, joining up with a host of fellow recording artists including Kelly Sweet on "White Christmas"; Kimberley Locke for a soulful rendition of "Please Come Home for Christmas"; Brenda Russell for "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus"; and smooth jazz stars Rick Braun, Peter White and David Benoit for a stirring rendition of "Little Drummer Boy".

Christmas Present

(Boney James)

Jazz great James teams up with fellow Grammy nominees for this heart-warming collection of seasonal classics with a funky touch, duetting with R&B star Anthony Hamilton on "Silent Night", Angie Stone on "Merry Christmas, Baby", and soul songstress Chante Moore on the Eartha Kitt hit "Santa Baby". The album also includes a reunion with his former collaborator, trumpet ace Rick Braun.


(Josh Groban)

The young vocalist tackles the familiar sounds of holiday music with a charmingly eclectic array of guests and tunes that range from the sacred to the secular. Groban duets with Brian McKnight in "Angels We Have Heard On High", Faith Hill on "The First Noel", and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on "O Come All Ye Faithful". The highlight is "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" on which Groban also plays piano.

The Carols Album

(The Choirboys)

This gorgeous collection of seasonal favourites includes "Silent Night", "In the Bleak Midwinter", "Away in a Manger", "O Come All Ye Faithful", and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". The highlight is the duet with girl choristers "All Angels on O Holy Night".

Sweet & Holy Gift

(Kelly Sweet)

Following her successful debut "We Are One", the New Jersey teen sings the holiday tunes in her signature jazzy style. Standout tracks are "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "Silent Night" and "White Christmas", a number that also appears on Dave Koz's "Memories of a Winter's Night".

The Very Best of Christmas

(various artists)

A two-CD collection of classical holiday tunes from 20 composers including Handel, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Holtz, Corelli, Vivaldi, in addition to Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin.

Christmas Spirit

(various artists)

World-class singers, among them the late Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Leontyne Price, and Joan Sutherland, sing such well-known holiday tunes as "Silent Night", "Jingle Bells" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem".

A Jolly Christmas

(Frank Sinatra)

Recorded way back in 1957 and remastered for the 2007 festive season, this collaboration between Frank Sinatra and the orchestra and chorus of Gordon Jenkins has been hailed as the best Christmas album ever recorded. Fans of Old Blue Eyes will certainly agree. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with nostalgic treat.

The Ultimate Classical Christmas

(various artists)

With performances as varied as Charlotte Church singing "Ding Dong Merrily on High", Placido Domingo and Michael Bolton joining up for "Children of Christmas" and Yo-Yo Ma playing "Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring", this is CD makes a good Christmas stocking pleaser for any classical music fan.

A Christmas Celebration

(Celtic Woman)

Orla, Lisa, Chloe, Mairead and Meav breathe new life into many of our favourite Christmas classics. Backed by the world famous Irish Film Orchestra, the album was recorded at Celtic Woman's live show in Dublin. Highlights include "White Christmas" sung by Chloe, Lisa and Meav and "The Little Drummer Boy" by Orla and Chloe.

Christmas Song

(Mannheim Steamroller)

This enjoyable album from the "classical rock" group features 12 tracks including the jazz piano-led "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", "Frosty The Snowman" and "Catching Snowflakes On Your Tongue". Johnny Mathis guests on the title track.


by Jim Brickman

Pianist Jim Brickman performs nine instrumentals and four vocal tracks including his thought-provoking "Thanksgiving" and the emotive "Still Nacht". Interestingly, "My Angel" is changed from a parent-to-child love song to a holiday number for this seasonal album.

Let It Snow

(Michael Bubl้)

The pop vocalist of the millennium Michael Bubl้ re-releases his five-track EP for the festive season, treating fans to another helping of his rich and beautiful voice. It includes "The Christmas Song", his signature, "Let It Snow!" and "Grown-Up Christmas List", which should bring a tear to the driest eye.

Carnival Ride

(Carrie Underwood)

This is the second album to showcase Underwood's songwriting talents and this time she's credited with having penned "So Small", "All American Girl", "Crazy Dreams" and "Last Name". All good numbers but listen out for her stunning cover of "I'll Stand By You".


(LeAnn Rimes)

Rimes wrote or co-wrote every song on this album and from the autobiographical first track "Family" to the hit single "Nothin' Better To Do," this outing demonstrates her diversity as a vocalist. She duets with Marc Broussard on "Nothing Wrong", joins up with Bon Jovi on "Til We're Not Strangers" and is superb on the soul searching "What I Cannot Change".

"It's a Wonderful Christmas"

(Michael W Smith)

For his first Christmas CD in a decade, Smith and a 67-piece orchestra headed to London's famous Abbey Road Studios to record nine original songs and one standard. "What Child is This?" is a wonderfully traditional piece while "Christmas Day" focuses on a modern yuletide celebration.

"Christmas Songs"

(Jars of Clay)

This Nashville-based band serves up 14 Christmas tunes, a mix of traditional and original numbers that includes a slow and haunting "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", the jazz rock "Christmastime is Here", and a new take on "O Little Town of Bethlehem".

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