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Cher - Christmas

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 5 / 12 / 2023

Cher - Christmas
Label: Salient Braves
Format: CD


Energetic and appealing album of Christmas song covers from Cher

Ahead of many others - and before the clocks have even gone back, California-born Cher, now 77, has already released her 'Christmas' album for the 2023 holiday season. There is nothing understated about this record! And, from the opening sleigh bells to a rather schmaltzy duet with Michael Buble, the Yuletide spirit dominates throughout. 'Christmas' was made with one of Cher's long-term collaborators, Mark Taylor (who also co-produced her biggest-selling hit, 'Believe”'back in 1998). And the new album is deliberately scattergun in its approach, jumping happily between many genres – pop classics, jazz tunes, country, soul, new dance tracks - all neatly laced together by Cher's huskily powerful voice and infectious sense of fun. This is Cher's first album since her Abba tribute 'Dancing Queen' in 2018 – which was inspired by her role in 'Mamma Mia! Her We Go Again' - and there is a mix of covers and new songs on 'Christmas'. Cher is still a hugely admired icon within the recording industry and she has attracted a stellar array of guests on the new album. Stevie Wonder plays harmonica on 'What Christmas Means To Me' - and Cher comments happily, “Every time I hear that harmonica, I'm a teenager again”. There are duets with Michael Buble ('Home') and Cyndi Lauper (on country number 'Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart'). But the most emotional moment is when Cher pairs with veteran soul star Darlene Love on a brilliant revamp of Darlene's 1963 Christmas number, 'Baby, Please Come Home'. When Darlene Love first recorded this song as a track for Phil Spector's fabled and huge-selling 'A Christmas Gift For You' LP back in 1963, a then unknown 17 year-old Cher sang backing vocals on it (just as she had on The Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' and The Righteous Brothers' 'You've Got That Loving Feeling' - both Spector productions). Now the two singers, who have remained good friends for over sixty years, revisit Love's classic with great warmth and a powerful intensity. Cher is also in her element with Chuck Berry's 'Run Rudolph, Run' and her version of Charles Brown's 'Please Come Home For Christmas' sticks nicely to the blues-style doo-wop sound of the 1960 original. Eartha Kitt's 'Santa Baby' is treated as the novelty number it always was and the modern digital pop sound of new track 'Drop Top Sleigh Ride' is remarkably authentic and credible. At the end of 'Christmas', Cher sings 'This Will Be Our Year' (a big 1968 US hit for British band, The Zombies). This is not a Christmas song but, singing beautifully and in reflective mood, Cher turns it into one. “This will be our year...took a long time to come” she sings softly - with both sparkle and perfection. It is a fine and fitting conclusion to an impressive album.

Track Listing:-
1 DJ Play A Christmas Song
2 What Christmas Means To Me
3 Run Rudolph Run
4 Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
5 Angels In The Snow
6 Home
7 Drop Top Sleigh Ride
8 Please Come Home For Christmas
9 I Like Christmas
10 Christmas Ain't Christmas Without You
11 Santa Baby
12 Put A Little Holiday In Your Heart
13 This Will Be Our Year

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