Full title name: A Dramatic Christmas (The Very Best Christmas Of All).
The Dramatics: Ron Banks (keyboards); Lenny Mayes, Winzell Kelly, Willie Ford, L.J. Reynolds.
Additional personnel includes: Anthony Booker (guitar, electric guitar); Robert Lowe (guitar); Al Jones (soprano saxophone); Rudy Robinson (piano, electric piano, organ, keyboards, keyboard bells); Joseph "Amp" Fiddler (keyboards, synthesizer, bells, drum programming); Raymond Johnson (keyboards); James Jamerson, Jr., Tony Green (bass); Dewayne Lomax (drums, drum programming); David Brandon (drums); Donnie Lewis, Donald Lewis (percussion).
The Vine Street Horns: Ernie Fields, Jr. (tenor saxophone); Don Markese (baritone saxophone, flute); Harry Kim, Daniel Fornero (trumpet); Arturo Velasco (trombone).
Ramocue Horns: Gordon Ramos (tenor & soprano saxophones); Rick Eakin (baritone saxophone); Ken Landreth (trumpet, flugelhorn); Victor Castro (trombone).
Producers: L.J. Reynolds, Ron Banks, Joseph "Amp" Fiddler.
Engineers: Carl Robinson, Mike Grace, Michael Schuman.
Recorded at United Sound Studio and Sound Suite Studios, Detroit, Michigan; Complex Studios, Los Angeles, California from June to August, 1997.
Personnel: Donald Albert, Sandra Feva (vocals); Anthony Booker (guitar, electric guitar); Robert Lowe (guitar); Don Markese (flute, baritone saxophone); Al Jones , Gordon Ramos (soprano saxophone); Ernie Fields Jr. (tenor saxophone); Rick Eakin (baritone saxophone); Ken Landreth (trumpet, flugelhorn); Daniel Fornero, Harry Kim (trumpet); Victor Castro, Arturo Velasco (trombone); Vine Street Horns, Ramocue Horns (horns); Rudy Robinson (piano, organ, keyboards, bells); Amp Fiddler (organ, keyboards, synthesizer, bells, drum programming); Raymond Johnson, Ron Banks , Billy Wallace (keyboards); James Jamerson, Jr., Tony Green (bass guitar); Dewayne Lomas (drums, drum programming); David Brandon (drums); Donald Lewis (percussion); Consuela Johnson (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Richard Corsello.
Recording information: Complex Studios, Los Angles, CA (07/1997); Sound Suite Studios, Detroit, MI (07/1997); United Sound Studio, Detroit, MI (07/1997).
Ensembles: Vine Street Horns; Ramocue Horns.
Photographer: Larry Smith .
Unknown Contributor Roles: Donald Albert; Rudy Robinson; Lil' John Roberts; Sandra Feva.
Arrangers: Leroy Hyter; Anthony Booker; Archie White; Amp Fiddler; Ron Banks ; Billy Wallace.
The Dramatics went through their share of personnel changes over the years, and when the veteran Motor City soul group recorded its first Christmas album in 1997, the lineup consisted of Ron Banks, L.J. Reynolds, Willie Ford, Lenny Mayes, and newest member Winzell Kelly. Recording a Christmas album was something the Dramatics had talked about in the 1970s, but it wasn't until 1997 that they finally got around to it. From originals like "The Very Best Christmas" and "The Days Before Christmas" to versions of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song," the group is in good form and opts for a 1970s-type soul sound instead of trying to appeal to urban contemporary tastes. A Dramatics Christmas isn't quite essential, and casual listeners would be better off with a compilation of their dynamic 1970s hits. Even so, this is an enjoyable CD that the group's more devoted followers will want. ~ Alex Henderson