Friday, December 23, 2016

BLAKE-A Classic Christmas (2015)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 23, 2016

Then from that once single most elusive boyband from my music collection to an older group of boys whose music has been eluding my ears altogether—I've returned to the good graces of the fine British classic pop troupe calling itself BLAKE with their first gathering of holiday recordings appropriately entitled "A Classic Christmas". Appropriate on three different fronts, in fact: first, the dreamy orchestral overtures that always serve as the primary attraction to the majestically classical production; second, the classy, antiquated and operatic pop style; and third, just the mere presence of these traditional holiday tunes that have eternally been timeless classics. Even a fourth point attributing to classiness could be made when the BLAKE boys present the opening familiar number "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)", as they invite the legendary Shirley Bassey and her amazingly soaring and soulful vocals to put a sensational showstopping stamp on this annual favorite. Shirley Bassey—a lady whose name has been recommended to me once or twice, yet someone else from the oldies music catalog whose music I've yet to get into. Well, listening to this particularly ringing guest performance of hers will make you want to listen to some Shirley Bassey! Found myself skipping around to indulge in my personal holiday faves immediately after that, sliding all the way down to the end to hear the BLAKE boys' warming, acapella interpretation of "Silent Night", followed by "O Holy Night" (this one's presented exquisitely well with the soft piano accompaniment and orchestral overtures backing up their mighty voices), "Christmas Time Is Here" (I instantly get that 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' imagery with Linus and Snoopy and the rest of the "Peanuts" gang in my head listening to this one) and the forever-so-bouncy-and-bubbly "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" (this BLAKE version sounds like a 'toy soldiers' march of sorts tailor-made for those stage, theater and animated "Dr. Seuss" story soundtracks before the tempo picks up speed for a distinct spell towards the end). Thinking more about the selections that merrily skip along, there's the perky "Little Saint Nick" that makes me very happy, especially the fun part where their ad lib harmony of 'doo-doo-dap-dap-da-do-da' midway through. Then as for some non-traditional treats, there's "In The Bleak Midwinter" (at least I myself have never heard an original version of this), which serves as their other marvelous acapella offering on this album, and the "Back In Your Arms (For Christmas)" (I like hearing these kinds of romantic Christmas songs; this one speaks of reuniting with a special someone, and that is one of the greatest gifts they can give and/or receive). Whether you're listening to this on headphones for private enjoyment or letting it fill the room with background music for family, friends and guests, "A Classic Christmas" is the perfect holiday soundtrack to keep your ears elegantly entertained:

1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
2. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
3. Christmas Time Is Here
4. Frosty The Snowman
5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
6. It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
7. Little Saint Nick
8. Walking In The Air
09. In The Bleak Midwinter
10. O Holy Night
11. I'll Be Home For Christmas
12. Back In Your Arms (For Christmas)
13. Silent Night

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