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Reviewed by - Matt Rowe

Darlene Love
It's Christmas, Of Course

Darlene Love, whose full-bodied voice has graced songs for The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and a host of other luminaries has entered the Christmas season of 2007 with her own collection of Christmas covers from later periods, and not earlier classics re-rendered.  Instead, she sifts through songs like John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Christmas Must Be Tonight,” an outtake from The Band, “2000 Miles,” from The Pretenders, and “Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas,” by the gospel band, The Staples Singers. 

It’s Christmas, Of Course from Darlene Love is a newer tack on holiday songs.  Straying from the traditionals like “Silent Night,” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” as well as wintry favourites like “Jingle Bells,” and “Frosty the Snowman,” Love angles with pop/rock star creations from the ‘70s and ‘80s.  Selecting known but little used material as the basis of her first Christmas album is a bit of a gamble as many folks have a penchant for those old classics.  Newer creations are nice but need years to nurture, many never gaining much in the way of respect.

Darlene Love hopes to remedy that with her ‘off the cuff’ release of holiday music as she puts her rich vocal touch onto many of those newer songs.  “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” a song that has gained plenty of respect and is quite prevalent even today, is done very well here.  She makes the song musically interesting after her vocals have finished singing in a gospel style, and, in a sense reinventing the song.

All of the songs carry a definite R&B flavour and are nicely done.  If you’re in the mood for something a little different in the way of holiday music, then Darlene Love renditions of XTC, Stevie Wonder, Billy Squier, John Lennon, NRBQ, Tom Petty, and The Staples Singers songs could be what makes your Christmas time shine a little brighter.

Release Date: October 02, 2007
Produced by: Shawn Amos and Kevin Killen
Format: CD

Track Listing:

Christmas All Over Again / Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas / Christmas Wish / Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto / Please Come Home For Christmas / 2000 Miles / Christmas is the Time to Say "I Love You" / What Christmas Means to Me / Christmas Must Be Tonight / Thanks For Christmas / Happy Xmas (War is Over) / Night of Peace.

Darlene Love:

Darlene Love - Vocals
Gerry Leonard - Guitars
Zev Katz - Electric and Acoustic Bass
Billy J Stein - Piano / Hammond B3 / Wurlitzer / Rhodes / Synthesizers
Nir Z - Drums / Percussion
Patti Darcy Jones - Backing Vocals
Ula Hedwig - Backing Vocals
Cissy Houston - Guest Vocalist on Happy Xmas (War is Over)
Steve Bernstein - Trumpet
Paul Shapiro - Saxophones (Alto/Tenor)
Erci Lawrence - Saxophones (Tenor/Baritone).

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