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ALBUM CAPSULES by Mark E. Waterbury



1. INDIE MUSICIAN SPOTLIGHT - Todd Ronning of King Karma
2. HOLIDAY ALBUM CAPSULES
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Copyright 2005 by Music Morsels,
a Serge Entertainment Publication.
Editor: Sandy Serge
Contributing Columnists/Writers:
Mark E. Waterbury, Scott Turner


 

WOW Christmas - 30 Top Christian Artists and Holiday Songs
Word Entertainment/EMI - WD2-886414
This inspirational CD includes religious and non-denominational traditional favorites in a veritable feast of styles. Natalie Merchant's phenomenally soulful Joy To The World and Toy Mac's reggae slant on Oh Come All Ye Faithful are two wondrously rendered classics. Third Day's edgy rock slant on Oh Come Oh Come Emanuel and Relient K's pop punk treatment of Deck The Halls help balance the fun and the faith. Passionate, joyous and highly enjoyable music. URL: http://www.wowchristmas.com

 

 

Absolute Favorite Christmas for Kids
Fervent/Curb/Warner Brothers - WD2-886478
Kid power shines brightly as a choir of children lend their talents to this showcase of favorites. Along with the faith based standards like Hark The Herald Angels Sing and Silent Night are fantastic versions of Amy Grant's Breath Of Heaven and Mike Weaver's Christ Is Come. Backed by various pop styles including R&B, light alt rock, and world, the music has a touch of maturity that will enthrall all ages with these interpretations. URL: http://www.absolutefavoritemusic.com



Point Of Grace - Winter Wonderland
Curb/Warner Brothers
Christian music's remarkable songbirds Point of Grace tilt more in the secular direction with some songs in this collection. The unbridled jubilation inspires one to remember the true meaning of Christmas while listening to songs like Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bells as well as the more fervent For Unto Us. A medley of songs for Santa, Rudolph and Frosty is a toe-tapping blast. Although the music is fully orchestrated, it takes a back seat to the vocal poetry of this foursome. URL: http://www.pointofgrace.com


 

20th Century Masters - The Best Of Donna Summer: The Christmas Collection
Mercury Records - B0005126-02
Gone from this collection of music by the one time disco queen are the syncopated beats and bad girl image. Still intact is that unmistakable, incredibly soulful voice. Donna exudes pure reverence as a choir of one on songs like Oh Come All Ye Faithful and O Holy Night. Christmas Is Here and I'll Be Home For Christmas have an almost stripped down show tune quality. With only the flashing lights of a Christmas tree as backdrop now, Donna's voice is the point of captivation. URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com

 

20th Century Masters - Santa's Greatest Hits
Mercury Records - B0005035-2
How can you find superlatives for Bing Crosby's White Christmas? and Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"? Sometimes Christmas music can be overdone, but when the classic stars are doing the classic songs, it is just plain unbeatable, whether you are eight, eighteen or eighty. Bobby Helms' rebellious tune for the era Jingle Bell Rock will have you singing along, and novelties like the Chipmunks The Christmas Song will provoke a smile from even the most ardent grinch, URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com




 

Jethro Tull - The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
Fuel 2000 - 302 061 340 2
Leave it to classic rock's eccentric legends to come up with some highly unique but intriguing original holiday music. Along with a handful of familiar tunes (including a rollicking instrumental version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) are songs that lyrically often delve deeply into Christmas' true meanings. Several of the songs, while not really meant to dampen celebrations, remind us there are those less fortunate in the world, and this is supposed to be the season of giving. Joining the thoughtful lyrics of course are extraordinary flute and guitar passages from Ian Anderson and Martin Barre respectively. URL: http://www.jethrotull.com

 

20th Century Masters - Great Voices of Christmas
Mercury Records - B0005391-2
For those who prefer the more reverent renderings of Christmas music, the first strains of Pavarotti's aria tinged Oh Holy Night will reach deep into your soul. Two spectacular odes from Handel's Messiah are handled with impressive grace by Marilyn Horne and the Academy of Saint Martin-In-The-Fields chorus. Jose Carreras' El Nacimienta is purely breathtaking. Not just for opera fans, but for anyone who enjoys artists who infuse a zenith of emotion into their music. URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com

 

20th CenturyMasters - The Best of Loretta Lynn: The Christmas Collection
Mercury Records - B0005033-2
One of country music's greatladies gives superb interpretations of the standards, from the sweet renovating Away In a Manger to the light honky tonk touch to Blue Christmas. A couple real stars here are her originals. Country Christmas conjures visions of snow glistening on kudzu in the morning light, while To Heck With Our Santa Claus is a peppy humor-laden ditty. A great way to enjoy the holidays with one of country's most delightful voices. URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com

 


20th Century Masters - Smooth Jazz Christmas
Mercury Records - B0005163-2
Some of smooth jazz's hottest artists grace us with incredible musicianship and zeal in their treatment of some of the season's best-loved songs. Tom Scott's rollicking reggae tinged Feliz Navidad could create a white Christmas on the beaches of Ocho Rios. David Benoit's astonishing piano work spices up Carol Of the Bells. Eric Reed creates a kicked back boogie feel with his own Angels In The Snow. Definitely a tasty holiday repast. URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com

 



20th CenturyMasters - The Best of The Four Tops: The Christmas Collection
Mercury Records - B0005031-2
One of Motown's legendary vocal acts pour their heart and a lot of backstreet soul into these versions. The lead track Christmas Here With You is given a further lift by the guest appearance of Aretha Franklin. Little Drummer Boy laces a pulsing groove with a sweet touch of retro keyboards. Songs like White Christmas and Silent Night exemplify that the vocal capabilities of the Four Tops are no less than awesome, as does the whole album for that matter. URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com



 

 

20th CenturyMasters - The Best of Engelbert Humperdinck: The Christmas Collection
Mercury Records - B0005391-2
The acclaimed crooner presents highly stylish versions of Silent Night, Silver Bells and White Christmas that are brimming with holiday warmth. Engelbert finishes the CD with a variance of medleys. Sing-A-Long Tyme can incite just that, in the more intimate setting of your Christmas gatherings. Carol Time is truly inspirational, with lovely snippets of beloved hymns. Jingle Bell Tyme closes the disc with a burst of holiday fun from one of the world's most recognizable voices. URL: http://www.universalchronicles.com



Holiday Heart - An Eclectic, Aural Celebration of Christmas and Chanukah
Volunteer Records - VolRec 002
The second annual holiday CD with proceeds going to Hospice is another fabulous collection of various styles. The jangly alt rock of The Dismemberment Plan's This Christmas and Leah Zicari's soothing ballad Thursday In December are a couple real gems. Rick Derringer shows a kinder, gentler side with Christmas Valentine while Jon Campi's Eight Days tells a personal Chanukah story with a rockin' Americana beat. This CD is worth it for the fine music and the noble cause it helps. URL: http://www.hohohospice.com e-mail: volrecords@aol.com



 

Jana - American Indian Christmas
Standing Stone Records - SSR/SOAR 226
This beautifully dazzling CD is also quite unique as it presents ten Yuletide classics each sung in a different American Indian language. Jana's powerfully soulful voice is tastefully backed by the keyboard prowess of Alex Salzman and Etienne Lytle with light touches of Indian music styles. Lush interpretations of O Holy Night sung in Navajo, What Child Is This in the Cherokee tongue, and It Came Upon A Midnight Clear in Onieda are great tributes to the native peoples of this nation. URL: http://www.jananation.com E-mail: sgalfas@tesavage.com


 

Steven Curtis Chapman - All I Really Want For Christmas
Sparrow Records/EMI - 0946 3 11231 2 2 SPD 11231
The Christian music star brought three Asian orphans into his home and into our hearts for Christmas. Along with his unmistakably passionate voice and dramatic pop music styles augmenting his presentation of Christmas anthems. The enthusiastic reading of the Christmas Gospel by one of the orphans that begins the CD is bound to touch your feelings. The highly emotive I Heard The Bells and the feel good country ballad Christmas Is In The Heart with Vince Gill on backing vocals are just two of the stunners on this great collection. URL: http://www.stevencurtischapman.com


 

Sandi Patty - Yuletide Joy
INO Records - 36532
Angelic voiced Sandi Patty infuses unbridled joy and entertainment into every song, from the classics to original compositions by noted songwriters. Worship The King is an uplifting and reverent reminder of the season's true essence. Bethlehem Morning warms your heart like a hot mug of spiced cider. Jingle Bells Ala Sandra is a frenetic romp with liberal doses of humor. This is music that makes you wish the holidays lasted longer so you have an excuse to keep listening. URL: http://www.sandipatty.com


 

Robert Lloyd - A Florida Cracker's Christmas
Robert Lloyd presents us with his own original Christmas music ranging from religious sentimental tunes exploring the true meaning of Christmas to some wonderfully done rockers. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" is the Henry Livingston poem set to music, an applaudable rendition. "If Only I Was Smarter" is dedicated to missing a Christmas Day gathering and wishing people a Merry Christmas with different words than the popular phrase "Merry Christmas". The next Christmas tune "I Love Santa" has a driving beat and draws some comparisons to Elvis as does "Stop Your Crying Now It's Christmas". The final holiday tune is "Wishing You A Merry Christmas", a touching ballad about loving family and friends no matter where you are on Christmas Day. Embellished with a few everyday songs, this disc contains well-written music set apart from the traditional holiday carols. Email: robertlloyd@robertlloyd.net URL: http://www.robertlloyd.net:->

 

   
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