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Thursday, December 10,2009

2009 Holiday CDs Guide

By Alan Sculley

David Archuleta: “Christmas From The Heart”

( Jive) — Aside from including two songs, “Pat-a-Pan” and “Riu Ri Chiu,” that reflect Archuleta’s Latin heritage, the former “American Idol” finalist plays it safe by singing familiar holiday standards. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this approach, but it also means there’s nothing particularly exceptional about this CD, either. — Rating: **1/2

Andrea Bocelli: “My Christmas”

(Sugar) — The famed vocalist brings his stately (and occasionally bilingual) voice to a collection of holiday standards that ranges from “White Christmas” to “What Child Is This” to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas,” plus several carols with international origins. Needless to say, one can’t go wrong with Bocelli’s rich voice inhabiting these songs. — Rating ***

Various Artists: “Merry Kidsmas: Created by the Song Trust”

(Giantslayer) — Here’s something a bit different for the holidays. The Nashville-based songwriting collective, the Song Trust, assembles a dozen holiday songs (nine of them originals) sung by kids that bring us Christmas from a kids’ perspective. Some of the songs are funny, such as “Box Of Rocks” (a plea for Santa to leave a brother a box of rocks for Christmas), some are charming (the cute and a bit off-key rendition of “Wudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”), some are just plain cute (“The Christmas Story”). The topper is the song that put the Song Trust on the map, “Bring Him Home Santa.” Sung by an anonymous six-year-old girl, it’s a request to bring dad home safely from the war for Christmas. The 2007 video for the song became an Internet sensation. A portion of the proceeds from the CD will go to the USO. — Rating: ***

Various Artists: “A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector”

(EMI/Legacy) — It seems like odd timing to rerelease this album, considering the publicity surrounding Spector’s April conviction for second degree murder. Now that’s a buzzkill for any holiday. But the fact is that his album, originally released in 1963 and better known as “Phil Spector’s Christmas Album,” remains a standard setting holiday release. Coming just a few months after he produced the Ronettes’ hit, “Be My Baby,” it helped introduce Spector’s famous “wall of sound” production style. And the singers on the album — the Ronettes, The Cyrstals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans — delivered star-making performances. Put aside Spector’s recent past and enjoy this musical gift. — Rating: ****

KBCO Studio C Volume Twenty-One

Here`s a musical gift that’s a great stocking stuffer or Hanukkah present: 97.3 KBCO’s Studio C Volume Twenty-One CD, featuring the best recordings from KBCO Studio C over the past year. The CD is available at Ultimate Electronics locations for $12. Proceeds will benefit the Boulder County AIDS Project and Food Bank Of The Rockies. Here’s the line-up:

Ray LaMontagne — “You are the best thing”
The Fray — “You found me”
Michael Franti & Spearhead — “Say hey (I love you)”
David Gray — “Fugitive” Brett Dennen — “Make you crazy”
Missy Higgins — “Where I stood”
Gomez — “See the World”
Matt Nathanson — “Come on get higher”
Susan Tedeschi — “People”
Ziggy Marley — “Family Tree”
James Morrison — “Nothing ever hurt like you”
Gregory Alan Isakov — “That moon song”
Widespread Panic — “Up all night”
Brandi Carlile — “The Story”
Keane — “The lovers are losing”
Paolo Nutini — “Coming up easy”
Everlast — “What it’s like”
Ingrid Michaelson — “Maybe”
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears — “Sugarfoot”

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