Sunday, December 24, 2017

Michael Bolton-A Swingin' Christmas (2007)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 24, 2017

While continuing to gather up my collection of Michael Bolton albums, it occurred to me that I definitely never listened to this second holiday album of his. Well, at least not in its entirety, which I'll explain a little later. "A Swingin' Christmas", as I presumed, sees the Grammy Award-winning singer performing some swingin' jazz interpretations of select traditional holiday classics. And one of my personal favorites gets the honor of being the opening track: "Winter Wonderland" (although Michael puts his own personal zing on it and entitles it "Walkin' In The Winter Wonderland"). I then noticed shortly afterwards that some of the classics he'd already covered on his 1996 holiday song collection appear on this album as well: "The Christmas Song", "White Christmas", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"—all re-recorded in a delightful and elegant ballroom jazz format that is perfect for his versatile voice. My ears and I were most impressed with his lovely take on "I'll Be Home For Christmas" (despite the warming sound, I always find this song to be a bit sad, especially the part of the lyrics that goes 'even if only in my dreams', as if the original songwriter truly was unable to be home with the family and around the fireplace, as an ideal Christmas setting is so often imagined), plus "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Let It Snow" (love the blaring trumpet showcase during the extended instrumental intro before the typically-bubbly-and-bouncy rhythm of the familiar beat settles in). Curious as to why he didn't re-record "Silent Night" and "Joy To The World"; which would have sounded great with the classy jazz production and his stunning vocals leading the way. Both versions here are taken from his previous holiday album, and that is what I alluded to at the outset—me not entirely not having listened to this complete album. So with that being said, "A Swingin' Christmas" is kinda like listening to a bonus remix CD of "This Is the Time: The Christmas Album": you get the pop versions of everything first, then the jazz versions of some of them, with a few extras as an added treat:

1. Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland
2. The Christmas Song
3. I'll Be Home For Christmas
4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
5. White Christmas
6. Let It Snow
7. Jingle Bell Rock
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Silent Night
10. Joy To The World

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