0 Darlene Love Shines on It's Christmas of Course 2007

Darlene Love, the famous voice of The Crystals, has released her first Christmas Album.

It's Christmas Of Course features a welcome blend of contemporary holiday songs from the 1970's and 1980's.

Darlene digs right into a variety neo-classics, showing her versatility as a singer.

You won't find Irving Berlin or Felix Mendelssohn inspired Christmas music on this upbeat release. Darlene Love is a child of the rock and soul era. She punches out these multi-genre holiday anthems with allegiance to the rhythmic pop beat.

"We had a rule on this album: no oldies. We wanted to leave the '50s and '60s behind," according to Shawn Amos, Vice President of A&R for Shout! Factory, (the record label releasing Love's It's Christmas Of Course).

Darlene is an example of how talent and luck can keep one in the game for the long haul.

She's had her share of hits with The Crystals under the guidance of Phil Spector. She's paid her dues singing background vocals for Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, The Mamas and Papas, Dionne Warwick, The Beach Boys, and Cher.

What I like the most about It's Christmas Of Course is how Darlene Love sings such a wide range of material with authority, refinement, and subtlety.

But then, she's worked with the best.

I like all of the tracks on It's Christmas Of Course, however, 4 of my favorites are:

  • "Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas"
  • "Please Come Home For Christmas"
  • "What Christmas Means To Me"
  • "Thanks For Christmas"

Here are all of the tracks with a notation about the original artists:

  1. "Christmas All Over Again" (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
  2. "Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas" (The Staple Singers)
  3. "Christmas Wish" (NRBQ)
  4. "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto" (James Brown)
  5. "Please Come Home For Christmas" (Charles Brown)
  6. "2000 Miles" (The Pretenders)
  7. "Christmas Is The Time To Say 'I Love You'" (Billy Squier)
  8. "What Christmas Means To Me" (Stevie Wonder)
  9. "Christmas Must Be Tonight" (The Band)
  10. "Thanks For Christmas" (XTC)
  11. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (John & Yoko & The Plastic Ono Band w/the Harlem Community Choir)
  12. "Night Of Peace" (Original Song)

Cissy Houston, the famous mother of Whitney, is a guest vocalist on "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."

The first track, "Christmas All Over Again," features a nice retro arrangement bringing to mind some classic Spectoresque girl group gusto. You know it's Darlene Love when you hear this one.

Darlene gets gritty on "Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas," and "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto." She's got a lot of soul in her powerful voice.

Whatever your musical taste, these 12 songs offer a fresh and enjoyable take on a cross-section of neo-classic holiday favorites.

Even though this is Darlene's first solo Christmas album, she recorded "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for Phil Spector's Christmas album in 1963.

Love has performed the song for the past 20 years on David Letterman's Late Show television broadcast. Dave says that the performance is his favorite thing about Christmas.

What else has Darlene been doing in recent years? Just Lighting up Broadway with her performances in... 1) "Grease," 2) the Tony-Award nominated "Leader of the Pack," and 3) her current 2-year run as Motormouth Maybelle in the Tony-Award winning "Hairspray."

Darlene Love will appear at the Lincoln Center in New York City on December 17, 2007 for her annual Christmas Concert performance.

She'll also appear on The David Letterman Show for the 22nd consecutive year on December 24, 2007.

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Darlene Love Shines on It's Christmas of Course 2007
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