Most helpful positive review
82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
All technicalities aside, this is a golden nugget shining brightly !!!
on November 25, 2006
James Taylor's voice is in excellent form on his Christmas CD entitled James Taylor At Christmas. The CD boasts an excellent collage of traditional and somewhat formal holiday hymns interspersed with more playful, upbeat pop numbers. The ultimate effect is sheer delight to almost anyone's ears; and just one listen to this CD will prove it.
The CD starts off beautifully with a playful and heartfelt rendition of "Winter Wonderland." Chris Botti plays the trumpet on this song, too. This secular music is quickly followed by the more religious "Go Tell It On The Mountain."
Some other songs celebrating the joy of the holiday season include a pleasing and laid-back duet for James Taylor and Natalie Cole on "Baby, It's Cold Outside;" "Jingle Bells" onto which James Taylor puts his own stamp using a unique arrangement; "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" written by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells. Toots Theilemans does a great job on harmonica for "The Christmas Song," too.
"In The Bleak Midwinter" is a much more religious song with a lush musical arrangement; James Taylor addresses the importance of loving Jesus as Jesus loves everyone. "Who Comes This Night" is based on the nativity scene in the manger and it is equally charming.
The CD ends with the thoughtful "Auld Lang Syne." The musical arrangement is flawless and this is the perfect song to end this CD.
The liner notes are beautiful. There are two great photos of James Taylor and the song credits are there, too.
In addition, there is the issue of the differences between the three "versions" of this CD. This CD is, for the most part, a re-issue of James Taylor's 2004 Christmas CD put out by Hallmark. There is the 2004 Hallmark version which is now difficult but not impossible to obtain. The 2004 CD has the song "Deck The Halls." On the other hand, this 2006 Christmas CD has the songs "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "River," a song about escaping from the holiday crunch-rush. There is, believe it or not, a third version of this album that does have "Deck The Halls" as a bonus track. I agree with the reviewer who writes that this third edition WOULD be the definitive James Taylor Christmas CD. If you can't find the version that includes "Deck The Halls," I suggest this CD as a solid alternative.
There may be three versions of this CD; but James Taylor surely put his heart and soul into every song on all three CDs. All technicalities aside, you can't go wrong with this CD. It still boasts excellent sound quality, great cover art all its own, a wide range of Christmastime songs and excellent contributions by Natalie Cole, Chris Botti and Toots Theilemans. John Pizzarelli and Dave Grusin play guitar and piano respectively on this album as well.
May you get this CD and enjoy as much as I did! SMILE