Sunday, December 25, 2016

T. Graham Brown-Christmas With T. Graham Brown (2015)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 25, 2016

I'm spending part of my Christmas Day with T. Graham Brown, this third holiday music treat of mine for the 2016 year seeing me and my ears getting newly acquainted with yet another music legend who's been around for ages. Turns out this was just what I needed in order to motivate me to indulge in future formal music-listenings with this guy somewhere down the road. I would become captivated with his distinctively husky, stunning voice the instant I received the words and the accompanying slow, easy-flowing groove to the opening traditional favorite, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". Feels like it has been a while since I last enjoyed a voice such as T. Graham's, and that's even considering the oodles of other music goodies that I've been finding pleasure in lately. In fact, I enjoyed his voice the most on all of the selections here where the slowed-down tempo allowed him to perform with extra-spirited grit and emotion. There's his smooth jazz rendition of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" (you know, I'd never quite taken the time to really get into the lyrics to this classic, never realizing how sad the song was until the thought of only being home in one's dreams got to me), followed by "Silver Bells" (another classic whose words now affect me in some way, particularly because of T. Graham's intimate, spoken word-style delivery) and "White Christmas" (always a classy tune, and I'm always imagining one of those old soul crooners from the 50's and 60's belting out the' I'm dreaming of a White Christmas ' in the opening verse). The final two selections get to real heart of the matter: the gospel-tinged, old-fashioned country-spirited "Away In A Manger" and "Mary Had A Little Lamb", which is not a direct cover of the children's nursery rhyme, but sees T. Graham taking the idea of Mother Mary having a lamb and leading it into his own message about The One who was born for every man. Christmas tunes are especially fun when they're on the bouncy, upbeat side, and that's when his renditions of "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" (both of these feature some excellent instrumental breaks midway through, highlighted by the saxophone and piano solos, respectively), and "Jingle Bell Rock" (one of my personal holiday faves) comes into play. The tunes are even more fun when all holiday tradition is broken in favor of something with a twist! Save some of that jingle bell rockin' and rockin' around the Christmas tree for some country dancin' with "Run Run Rudolph". Then instead of riding with Santa on a one horse open sleigh, soar through outer space in the speed of light on "Santa Claus Is Coming In A UFO". Huh?! UFO's on Christmas? I suppose if you're gonna deliver toys to millions of children across the globe, you'd better do it the fastest way possible:

1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
2. Here Comes Santa Claus
3. I'll Be Home For Christmas
4. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
5. Silver Bells
6. Run Run Rudolph
7. Jingle Bell Rock
8. White Christmas
9. Santa Claus Is Coming In A UFO
10. Away In A Manger
11. Mary Had A Little Lamb

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