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on November 5, 2011
"In December I will be,
a baubled bangled Christmas Tree..."

So sang Carole King, whimsically, on "Chicken Soup With Rice" the highlight of her 1975 Maurice Sendak "Really Rosie" collaboration. That landmark children's album marked a spirited departure in style and performance from her earlier more somber Ode albums. It's with that same joie de vivre that Carole King performs the 12 songs on her just released "A Holiday Carole."

Too busy writing her memoir, "A Natural Woman," Our Miss King turned the creative "reins" over to her daughter Louise Goffin to not only write the original songs on the album, but, also oversee production. r Louise, a long celebrated singer/songwriter in her own rite, rises to the occasion and delivers us a Carole King album, that, even though there are no Carole King compositions and only a few tracks on which she plays piano is as true to the artist's vision as anything she herself would have produced.

I guess the fact that Louise was born shortly after Carole left a recording studio back in 1960, might account for the fact that she is totally at home in the recording studio. Louise proves to be as talented as her mom and pop (Gerry Goffin) in crafting and producing songs which perfectly complement her client's strengths. Louise takes out a whole new pallet of musical colors and makes this album sparkle and shine, as much as, well, a baubled bangled Christmas tree.

The more one listens to each track, the more you'll hear hidden sounds, instruments, and flourishes, which breathe new life into seasonal songs we've all heard a million times.
The first electric guitar rift of the opener, the classic, "My Favorite Thing" lets you in on the fact that you're about to hear a seasonal album unlike any you've heard before. The jazz-tinged arrangement, as well as Carole's sly vocals, brings back the groove of "It's Too Late" and "Only Love is Real." The arrangement of "Carol of the Bells" is as original as any I have ever heard. Carole knows her vocal limitations and wisely allows a choir handle the frenetic vocals on this one.

While Carole does a fine job singing the traditional fare included ("Sleigh Ride," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "Do You Hear What I Hear?," it's the original and offbeat choices which makes this one holiday album you should check out. "Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday" wisely capitalizes on the type of mournful, yet, celebratory ballad for which Carole first rose to stardom as a recording artist. The latin-tinged "Chirstmas Paradise," upbeat "Christmas in the Air" and haunting closing ballad, "New Year's Day" are as catchy and memorable as anything you'd find on radio today.

"New Year's Day" stands a good chance of becoming a holiday classic in its own right. Though she didn't write it, this Louise Goffin/Guy Chambers collaboration would fit in on any of Carole's many past collections.

Oddly enough, my favorite track on the album is Carole's version of Wham's "Last Christmas" which is only available on the Target exclusive version of the album. Carole's take on this one is pure Brill Building/girl group gold. Though she may be approaching 70, her talents are still as timeless and engaging as when she, as a teenage from Brooklyn, stormed the world of American pop music.
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on November 4, 2011
This album is a holiday album that makes you feel "at home". It's one that you'll listen to while putting up Christmas decorations or if you have a Christmas party, or if you just want to chill. If you're looking for a "Barbra Streisand" type of Christmas album, this one is not for you. However, if you're sitting at home with your family, or going for a drive to see Christmas lights, pop it in your stereo. You won't be disappointed. If you're doing some Christmas shopping, don't be surprised if "Christmas Paradise" or "Christmas in the Air" pops in your head. It happened to me! Who would have thought-----Carole King making a Christmas album! You'll hear classic Carole King in the song "New Year's Day" with her beautiful piano playing. The song was co-written by Louise Goffin who produced the album for her mother. If you're looking for a Christmas album, check this one out. You could hear "New Years Day" on Carole Kings website [...]
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on November 1, 2011
Carole is quite the music executive. Give her a project of material and she knows how to tackle it and make it all hers. I am reminded of "Really Rosie" with this collection, which, happens to one of my favorite collections Carole has graced us with. Carole has taken mostly classic material from famed composers and puts a warm glow on each piece, adding gorgeous musical nuances throughout. I frankly didn't expect much when I downloaded this tonight from Amazon, but knew from first listen it will be in my rotation throughout all my holiday seasons to come. Thanks Carole!
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on November 7, 2011
As a Carole King fan for over 40 years and one who has has acutally purchased and enjoyed all of the work post Tapestry, A Holiday Carole stands out as an amazingly cohesive, joyous and universally pleasing addition to the Carole King songbook.
Amazingly, King writes none of the songs here and relinquishes production duties to her daughter, Louise Goffin, who showcases King in a variety of settings from light breezy jazz (Favorite Things)to R&B Gospel (Everyday Will be Like a Holiday). The standout tracks, and there are many, include Goffin's compositions like Christmas Paradise and a multi-generational reading of the Chanukah Prayer set against an avant garde jazz vibe.King is in fine voice throughout and ends the set with a haunting track "New Year's Day" - writen by Goffin and Guy Chambers. This closing number will go down as one of the great Carole King classic performances. This holiday set is a long awaited gift for fans who can rest assured that King still has much to contribute well after the holidays are over.
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on November 2, 2011
Carole King is responsible for so much good music. This album is her first studio recording since 2001's Love Makes the World. A Holiday Carole is one of her best releases. Which is saying alot for she was responsible for a mighty long string of excellent albums in the 1970's - from Writer through Thoroughbred. The selection of songs are about the holiday season, actualy more like a holiday state of mind, than any single religious theme. The musicianship is extremely high with great keyboard work by Robbie Kondor (he's channeling Carole's own piano sound from those 70 Ode albums, drums by Russell Kunkel and several other top session musicians including Dean Parks.

The album is a family affair. Daughter Louise Goffin produces (excellent taste, excellent arrangments, excellent mixes) and she co-wrote three of the songs including New Year's Day which is a wonderful song about starting anew while remembering the old. Grandchildren appear in supporting roles and their performances are all top notch - vocals, drums and guitar.

My favorite songs are My Favorite Things (incredible arrangement, love Ms. King's phrasing, also The Chanukah Song, Christmas in the Air, Everyday is a Holiday and New Year's Day.

This is a first class album, from the excellent album art to the selection of songs, to the way Ms. King interprets the songs with her voice, to the high level of musicainship.

Put two previous Carole King albums together: Really Rosie meets Tapestry [in December]. And this wonderful work is what you get.
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on November 9, 2012
This is a good holiday cd, and if it was recorded by anyone else I would have gave it five stars, but Carole King has set such a high bar in the music world, this cd just don't seem to match up with her previous out put. Think there is better holiday/Christmas cd out there such as Bob Dylan's, Sarah Mclachlan, Susan Boyle, Tori Amos, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Roberta Flack are just some artists who come to mind who have put out better holiday cd.
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on November 30, 2011
I love this album. It is a joy to listen to. It starts of with a simply awesome (it's too late sounding) take on the Sound of Music song, then a great version of Carol of the Bells (which normally I am not a fan of). These two stand out, as does her tender take on Do you hear, the soulful Every day and her daughter's New Year's Day.

The target version has bonus tracks (which I only just found out about arrr). The international version is titled (more aptly as in Silent Night, Charles Dickens etc) A Christmas Carole.

Nice ballads, some soulful numbers (like those great Goffin/King soul tracks from the 60s) and some fine pop and old school standards. A diverse yet cohesive mix that yule be sure to love and enjoy December after December. Carole's voice is in fine form accompanied by the likes of Russ Kunkel, Robbie Kondor and Dean Parks.
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on November 1, 2011
Without a doubt, this is a superb collection of songs from Carole King. Hard to believe she's not done a holiday record before. Produced by her daughter Louise Goffin, the album is tailored perfectly to Carole's voice. A mixture of both old and new, this is an early holiday present not to be missed by longtime CK fans or even Christmas music buffs. The music speaks for itself and needs no introduction, just listen to it and enjoy the ride. Gems include: "My Favorite Things," "Sleigh Ride," "Christmas Paradise," and "New Year's Day" which harkens back to the days when Tapestry transported a generation - forty years ago. A faithfully crafted affair, the music isn't overdone or lush - nothing seems out of place.

Carole sings Christmas, and gives us a "Holiday Carole," better late than never.

Surprisingly, there isn't a song on the album that King herself has written. Sad, her compositions are great. If there's one disappointment, it's that she doesn't offer a song of her own.

I'm sure this will join the legion of those Christmas classics from the '50s and '60s and be repeated and repeated throughout the coming holiday season.
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on September 9, 2012
A Holiday Carole is one of the finest holiday discs that I own. Is is just so personal that I feel Carole is singing for the family, including me. Being of the same age as she, I feel that somewhat senior citizens can still be valuable. You go girl! Thanks to Amazon for making me aware of it.
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on December 6, 2013
I wavered on how many stars to give, but in the end, I had to admit that I do kind of hate this album. I adore Carole King, "Tapestry" is on my top five albums of all time, but this...this is not good. Her usually beautiful voice sounds terrible - if I didn't know who she was, I would think that some of these songs are by one of those awful "The Voice" contestants or something. There are some songs that are actually painful to listen to - made all the more so by knowing how beautiful her other music is. And as others have commented, there just is no heart, no spirit to this - she has one of the most emotional and expressive voices, but I don't hear it on this album. Even if you love Carole, and love Christmas music, this one is to be avoided. I'm going to pretend it never happened. :(
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