Donny Most – Swinging Down the Chimney Tonight
2016, Summit Records
- The Man With the Bag
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
- Santa Baby
- The Christmas Song
- C’est Si Bon
I never would’ve known that Ralph Malph from Happy Days released an EP of Christmas tunes if not for Me-TV’s Facebook page posting a link about it. I go into a lot of Christmas albums with an open mind. Most of the year, I’m pretty close-minded when it comes to the music I like to listen to, but I love listening to all kind of holiday releases. I was more than willing to check this release out because I love seeing what new releases there are each Christmas season.
As you might have guess by the album’s title, Swinging Down the Chimney Tonight is a jazzy affair. There’s no attempt to be modern here. Each of these classic holiday songs has been given a timeless big band jazz sound. Oh, and Donny Most? This guy is a fantastic singer! He was born in the wrong era! The man is a great crooner and his voice perfectly accompanies these songs, as does Becky Martin who duets with Donny on “Santa Baby” and “C’est Si Bon”.
This EP gets a big thumbs up for me and an easy recommendation for anyone that loves Christmas standards and big band music. My only question is… Why did Donny Most wait so long to release something like this?!
Buy the album
Kelly Clarkson – Wrapped in Red
2013, RCA Records
Buy the album
1. “Wrapped in Red”
2. “Underneath the Tree”
3. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
4. “Run Run Rudolph”
5. “Please Come Home for Christmas (Bells Will Be Ringing)”
6. “Every Christmas”
7. “Blue Christmas”
8. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
9. “Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song)”
10. “White Christmas”
11. “My Favorite Things”
12. “4 Carats”
13. “Just for Now”
14. “Silent Night”
This will be the first time and probably only time (unless she releases another Christmas album) I’ll ever review a Kelly Clarkson album. I actually don’t mind Kelly Clarkson. She’s adorable, seems much more down to earth and girl-next-door than your normal pop star and her songs aren’t terrible and some even have a rock edge to them. I don’t own any of her albums but she’s tolerable. My only issue is she keeps dying her hair blonde! I don’t think it suits her. She’s much prettier as a brunette.
Five of the songs here are originals: “Wrapped in Red”, “Underneath the Tree” (which was released as the lead single), “Every Christmas”, “Winter’s Dreams (Brandon’s Song)” and “4 Carats”. They’re all pretty good songs. “Wrapped in Red” has an upbeat 1960s vibe to it. Reminds me of The Ronettes. “Underneath the Tree” is a modern holiday classic that brings to mind Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas album. “Every Christmas” seems like a modern retelling of “Baby, Please Come Home for Christmas” while “Winter’s Dreams (Brandon’s Song)” is what I call “American Eagle music”. Something that you’d hear playing at hipster stores like Old Navy or Aeropostale. “4 Carats” is a modern pop number.
The rest of the album is mostly comprised of old standards that are dusted off by Clarkson’s powerful vocals. We already know these songs are good. The question is always does the vocalist and does the arrangement do them justice? The answer is yes. Everyone else agrees too because the album was a success right out of the gate. It debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 and has already been certified platinum.
With Wrapped in Red, Kelly Clarkson has turned in a classy holiday album that I’m sure I’ll revisit over the years. She is truly the only good thing to ever come out of American Idol.
Highlights: “Wrapped in Red”, “Underneath the Tree”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Every Christmas”, “White Christmas”