Friday, December 11, 2015

JETS-Christmas With The Jets (1986)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 11, 2015

My first Christmas album to be featured for this 2015 season sees me reuniting with the family pop/soul group who rocked the music charts back in the 80's with such memorable hits as "Cross My Broken Heart", "You Got It All" and, my #1 personal favorite, "Make It Real", which really feels like something magical every time I hear it. The family did something just as magical beyond that "Magic" album, from which that "Make It Real" treasure can be found, when they recorded their first—and only—Christmas album back in 1986. Although it's always nice to hear those familiar traditional holiday tunes that everyone knows the words to, it's just as nice when a new holiday original graces your ears, especially when the song has a starry, romantic theme. Charming me the most are all of the selections where sibling Elizabeth Wolfgramm is leading the way on vocals: first "Christmas In My Heart"; then "On Christmas Night", which has that 80's soft rock-radio glow and reminds me just how versatile the range is in Liz's voice—powerful and sultry or gentle and sweet; then the soft piano ballad "Christmas Is My Favorite Time Of Year". I forget which of the brothers of the Wolfgramm Family shared the lead vocal duties with sister Liz, but he's quite amazing himself when he leads the way on the bubbly opener, "This Christmas", plus the acoustic guitar offering, "All Alone On Christmas Eve", "You Make It Christmas" (again, I felt myself being blanketed by that 80's soft rock/pop glow), the twinkly "Love So Rare" (ahh, now there's a refreshing one for the ears!) and the warming "I'll Be Home For Christmas", where his soaring, soulful vocals are the star of the show! An unexpected surprise greeted me on this album's sixth track, where the voices of Elizabeth and her brother join forces to wield more dazzling magic on their cover of "Somewhere Out There", the unforgettable duet featured in the Disney animated film, "An American Tail". The movie version performed by the characters Fievel and Tanya Mousekewitz is cute while the popular radio version performed by James Ingram and Linda Ronstadt is simply timeless. So where does that leave this version by THE JETS? Somewhere out of this world, I must say, and the nicely jazzed-up instrumental break with the saxophone midway through only made this already-magical rendition even more special:

1. This Christmas
2. Christmas In My Heart
3. All Alone On Christmas Eve
4. On Christmas Night
5. I'm Home For Christmas
6. Somewhere Out There
7. Love's So Rare
8. Christmas Is My Favorite Time Of Year
9. You Make It Christmas
10. This Christmas, This Year

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