Etta James 12 Songs of Christmas
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- Released: August 29, 2005
- Originally Released: 2005
- Label: BMG Special Product
Entertainment Weekly - 12/4/98, p.106"The underrated R&B singer brings both sass and class to expected yuletide favorites....Unlike the glut of Whitney wannabes, James doesn't use her miraculous voice to grandstand..."
- Rating: A
- 1.Winter Wonderland
- 2.Jingle Bells
- 3.This Time Of Year
- 4.Merry Christmas Baby
- 5.Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
- 6.Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
- 7.White Christmas
- 8.The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
- 9.The Little Drummer Boy (Carol Of The Drum)
- 10.Silent Night
- 11.Joy To The World
- 12.O Holy Night
Personnel: Etta James (vocals); Josh Sklair (guitar); Red Holloway (alto & tenor saxophones); Ronnie Buttacavoli (trumpet, flugelhorn); George Bohanon (trombone); Cedar Walton (piano); John Clayton (bass); Sametto James (electric bass); Billy Higgins (drums).
It's a little surprising to realize that after decades of recording, Etta James finally released her first holiday album, 12 Songs of Christmas, at the late date of 1998. Thankfully, she decided to make the record something of a special occasion. Working with arrangers Etta and Cedar Walton, producer John Snyder and a terrific lineup of musicians -- including Red Holloway, John Clayton, Billy Higgins, Cedar Walton, Josh Sklair and her son, Sametto -- James has created a terrific Christmas record, one that is firmly in her style yet contains surprises. First of all, she sings "O Holy Night" in both English and French. She also reworks "Silent Night" into a plaintive, bluesy plea. Each song on the album doesn't sound like a traditional carol, even if they're very familiar -- it all sounds like James, and it all sounds good. James fans may not feel like they need a Christmas album from her, but after hearing 12 Songs of Christmas, they'll be quite pleased indeed. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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