Personnel: Whitney Houston (vocals); Bobbi Kristina Brown (vocals); Phil Hamilton (acoustic & electric guitars); Paul Jackson, Jr., Dean Parks (guitar); Gerald Tarack, Max Ellen, Regis Iandiorio, Sandra Billingslea, Carol Pool, Kathy Livolsi (violin); Michael Morton (flute); Mervyn Warren (electric piano, keyboards, background vocals); Troy Taylor (keyboards, bass, drums, background vocals); Ron Jenkins, Reggie Hamilton (bass); Scott Frankfurt (drums, programming); Bernard Davis (drums); Bashiri Johnson (percussion); Ezekiel Lewis (background vocals); The Georgia Mass Choir.
Producers include: Troy Taylor, Mervyn Warren, Gordon Chambers.
Whitney Houston's soulful, elastic voice was practically made to wrap around Christmas standards, but despite the naturalness of the match, ONE WISH, out for Christmas 2003, as the singer neared her third decade of performing, marks her first holiday album. What lies within shouldn't disappoint as she covers many familiar tunes with just a sprinkle of recent music, the sweet-as-sugar title track originally by Freddie Jackson.
While Houston's been through her share of publicized drama over the years, her voice betrays no hint of the strife on ONE WISH. She begins in the vein of a female Nat "King" Cole, smoothly crooning "The First Noel" and "The Christmas Song" in a manner shifting between agreeable acrobatics and welcome subtlety. Her daughter Bobby Kristina Brown joins in to provide rum-pa-pa-pum backup on a cute version of "The Little Drummer Boy." The best moments sneak up on the listener when Houston gets lost in the classics, delivering unabashedly sentimental and lovable songs perfectly suited for her style, as with "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." ONE WISH fulfills the promise laden in a long-awaited Christmas record from a larger-than-life performer.