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Christmas Song

3.9 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 9, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

2007 holiday treat from Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller, their first new Christmas album in six years! Features guest vocals from Johnny Mathis (no stranger to great holiday recordings) plus Olivia Newton-John. 12 tracks including 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas', 'Frosty The Snowman' and many others. American Gramaphone.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 9, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: American Gramaphone
  • ASIN: B000TWTBMC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As a longtime, but certainly not naïve, fan of Mannheim Steamroller's music its hard for me to fully convey with words alone how disappointed I am with Chip Davis after this release.

Make no mistake, this rushed and uninspired release is about one thing: Money.

The care, passion and creativity found in the past Mannheim Christmas Albums and the Fresh Aire series has been replaced by mundane renditions of holiday classics and several retreads from past albums (Tell me Chip, how does 3 re-releases on the CD translate to the sticker on the front of the record that boasts `All New Music'?). All of this rushed to the market so that Chip can cash in on his fan-base's loyalty. While Christmas Song does have a few decent tracks the overall collection is less than the sum of its parts. Here's my take on the songs:

1. Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow (2.5 Stars): Not a bad effort but the upbeat melodies never go anywhere. After you've listened to the first 35 seconds of the song it pretty much repeats itself until it fades out.

2. The Christmas Song (1 Star): I'm not a fan of Chip adding vocalists to his tracks because this type of music is supposed to be about Chips compositions and the instrumental performances. Regardless this rendition is just plain bad with Mr. Mathis struggling to perform over Chip's strange arrangement.

3. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (2 Stars): Whimsical in nature, I think Chip did the best he could with a song that really never should've been on a Mannheim Steamroller album.

4. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear (3 Stars): Definitely one of the albums stronger songs. A nice arrangement, reminiscent of Steamroller's version of O' Holy Night.

5.
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Format: Audio CD
Let's face it, kiddies.... this has been done to death. The original Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album from 1984 was very innovative for it's time, and it's follow-up from 1988 (A Fresh Aire Christmas) was, in my humble opinion, even better than the original. In the years since then, however, the Steamroller Christmas series has become a cash cow for it's creator, Chip Davis, and he refuses to let go of the project, churning out a new rehash every few years or so. The original concept of combining Renaissance-era instruments, electronica, and full orchestra was a great thing at first, but Mr Davis has run out of fresh ideas and just keeps recycling the same thing over and over. (For example, check out the middle section of "Masters In This Hall"; it sounds like a direct rip-off of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" from the first album, and in keeping with the style of most arrangements on this album, it stops abruptly and feels unfinished.)

A huge pet peeve of mine pops up early in the first two tracks; arrange a song in a different style if you must, but DON'T rewrite the melody, especially in something as familiar as a Christmas song. There are a couple of instances that sound as if Mr. Davis wasn't exactly sure where the standard melody was supposed to go, and he just changed it to something he must have figured was close enough that no one would care, but I'm sure the original songwriters wouldn't appreciate it.
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Format: Audio CD
I want to preface my remarks about this particular CD by extending my sincere thanks to Chip Davis and all Mannheim Steamroller personnel, past and present, for the most beautiful and moving Christmas music I have ever heard. By the end of the 1980s, Mannheim Steamroller had become my all-time favorite Christmas artist. I have looked forward to each new Christmas CD with great anticipation. Based upon my experiences with previous releases, I have quickly added each new album to my collection without having heard any of the songs, and haven't regretted doing so until the purchase of this album. I wholeheartedly recommend the first four "canon" Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs: Christmas, A Fresh Aire Christmas, Christmas In The Aire and Christmas Extraordinaire (available together at a great value as The Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Collection box set). However, I cannot recommend this newest album. Aside from Christmas Live, the largely spoken-word The Christmas Angel, and the 2004 compilation Christmas Celebration, Christmas Song is the first Mannheim Christmas release to revisit the group's earlier material. Each of the aforementioned "canon" albums is full of imaginative, evocative yuletide arrangements. While Christmas Song has some great moments, it is a disappointing effort overall.

"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" starts off the album well, in a style reminiscent of "Winter Wonderland" and "Joy To The World" from previous albums. "The Christmas Song" features lead vocals from Johnny Mathis, who delivers an average performance. The arrangement is nothing special and a far cry from the group's re-imagining of Christmas songs in years gone by. "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" marks the first appearance of a saxophone solo on a Steamroller Christmas track.
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