As your resident music lover I'm sure that most of you will not be surprised to learn that I have plenty of Christmas music. This is my favorite time of the year and from the day after Thanksgiving until the day that the gift wrapping is all over my floor I am listening to the sounds of the season. What may surprise many of you is the fact that most of my favorite Christmas music CD's are not always by gospel artists. Here are a few of my favorites that have become classics in our family and I think if you purchase them they will be standards for you too.
Christmas with Yolanda Adams Yolanda Adams
This CD opens with my favorite version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” Yolanda delivers the fullness of fun on the holidays and truly lifts the heart with this song. When she gets to the final ad-lib lyrics of "Have the relatives bring over something good to eat, Have your best girlfriend make something sweet" you know that she knows that the holidays start with friends and family. Next she moves into a beautiful ballad of the "Little Drummer Boy" and with the gift of song she paints a wonderful picture so vivid of the night that a child played his drum to honor the king. Her voice really shines on "Born on this Day" a contemporary tune that allows Yolanda to reach the heights that only she can reach and touch our hearts. Finally her "Joy-Medley" which finishes up the CD with all of my favorites "Joy to the World", "Angels we Have Heard on High", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Ode to Joy" all in one melody is simply wonderful. Produce by Buster and Shavoni for We Fly Music these two can create some wonderful projects and are some of the best producers in the business.
Kirk Franklin and The Family Christmas Kirk Franklin and the Family
Another Buster and Shavoni production, this is truly a favorite of my entire family and it makes me long for this group to be back in action. It opens up with a bumping bass driven rendition of "Silent Night" with Kirk wishing us season’s greetings and the Family blending those harmonious voices. Kirk and the Family serve up the true meaning of Christmas on a silver platter and the birth of Jesus is emphasized on every track. The classic "Now Behold the Lamb" with the lead vocals of Tamela Mann and Dalon Collins has become a standard at almost every church. The fact that Jesus loved us so much that he was as the lyrics state "Born into sin that I may live again" is driven home on this track. Only the Son can really set us free and thank God he came to do just that for us all. "Jesus Is the Reason" makes you get a serious praise groove on and by the end of the tune you are putting your hands together just the way Kirk is telling you to and you are moving to the beat even if you are driving. When the group gets to the end of the tune with the vamp "He is...He's the Reason. One thing you should know wherever you go" and Kirk yells "Santa Clause ain't got nothing on this" you can't help but yell it right back! The smooth flowing "O Come All Ye Faithful" moves you into a mellow mood and this is when the project goes into full praise and worship mode. The jazzy voice of Jeanette Johnson moves you to lift your hands and worship him to the fullest. Finally the song that speaks of the greatest gift that we can receive on Christmas "Love Song" speaks of the love that is patient, kind, unconditional and sweet...the love of Jesus.
Christmas with Babyface Babyface
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and I go way back, (Smile) at least as far as my loving his music is concerned. I have been listening to his music since his days with the Deele and he gets better and better with time. Opening up this project with a smooth flowing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" he takes this standard to the next level. Incorporating a wonderful horn arrangement which is handled with ease by Mark Russo on tenor sax and a great piano arrangement performed by none other than Greg Phillinganes they move this song up a few notches on the jazz chart with ease. By the time he gets to the vamp "Hey Hey Rudolph guide my sleigh” the two step with your honey is in motion. Next light the fire in the fire place and listen to his version of "Winter Wonderland" which showcases his smooth voice once again backed by the best that jazz music has to offer with Greg tinkling those ivory keys like only he can. This project is full of all the standards and he delivers them all wonderfully. The one that I really love is "Silent Night" the full range of his voice carries this tune right to your heart.
Mariah Carey Merry Christmas Mariah Carey
What can you say about this artist with a five octave range? This CD is so good that my best friend has two of them one for her to listen to in the car and one for the home! Speaking of "Silent Night" this project starts with this song and Mariah's voice is backed by the wonderful vocals of Melonie Daniels, Shanrae Price and Kelly Price. The harmony and wonderful blend of these voices make this standard sparkle. Next the fifty's beat flavored "All I Want for Christmas is You" brings out the fun on the project and this is the track where my kids and I put on our socks and have a good old fashioned "sock-hop" right in the living room. This song is pure fun and reminds us of the time when there was a waitress on roller skates bringing out the handmade sundaes and floats. The song that deals with loss at Christmas "Miss You Most" really touches the heart. The loss of a love can be harder to take during the holidays and Mariah sings of this fact with such truth and passion one can't help but admire her honest delivery. The lyrics that really hit home "Every other season comes along and I'm alright but then I miss you most at Christmas time." are something I can really relate to this season. Finally the beautiful "Oh Holy Night" is the song that is my favorite of the entire project. On this song the five octave range that defines the voice of Mariah Carey is on full display and she takes us to the heavens with the gift of that voice. This is when you feel blessed just listening to her sing and truly know that her voice is really a gift from God. Simply put this song is beautiful and nobody can sing it like her. This one is truly a must have CD for your Christmas collection and trust me if you purchase it you will not be sorry.
Well that's just a few of the many Christmas CDs that I love, get them, play them and enjoy! God Bless and Have a great Christmas!