This week, we're getting into the festive spirit with the highly anticipated release of Chris Kamara's debut Christmas record, Here's To Christmas.
Now, you might know Kammy as the voice of your Saturday afternoons on Soccer Saturday, but swapping the stadium for the recording studio might be the best decision he's ever made. There's an awful lot of substance on this debut album, and it's really something to be proud of.
Let It Snow! gets us off to a flying start, with the big band sound really helping Kammy get into the groove of the Christmas classic. His crooning vocal takes centre stage both here and on the rest of Here's To Christmas; the big band behind him works perfectly and the horn sections especially complement him perfectly. There's one song that's been written by the legendary pundit himself, namely the ensuing title track, which is a timeless Christmas tune, it must be said. The overall feeling of it is properly festive and one for the entire family to listen to on Christmas morning.
Kammy's cover of Winter Wonderland slows the pace down a little, with the horn sections working brilliantly in the midst of his rhythmic vocals and the light cymbal work fitting absolutely perfectly. It's a flashback to the legendary crooners of this world like Andy Williams; a fitting tribute to some of the best artists of years gone by. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer is equally sumptuous; picking up the pace a bit, it sees Kammy and the band entwine perfectly as they do throughout the record's path and the musical interludes here fit the song wonderfully. There's always been something compulsive about listening to the big band and swing sound - it just sends this real feel-good feeling inside of you.
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is a lot slower than its predecessor, eking out this real jazzy feeling from the band behind Kammy. This arrangement is a little different to the usual ones heard around this festive period and Kammy's version is a welcome change. This different spin works perfectly. Jingle Bells is a welcome addition to this sterling album, with the faster pace than usual on the chorus complementing the pundit's crooning vocal. In addition, the band's jumpy piano fits the song nicely.
Frosty The Snowman is as iconic as ever, with Kammy and the big band putting a new spin on the Christmas classic. It's one of the best offerings on this record, acting as a swinging bridge between the middle and the end of the album. The band get showcased a little more too, which is all the more welcome considering how great it all sounds. Santa Baby lets Kammy let loose a little, with the band taking a back seat and letting the legendary pundit show off his singing ability. It must be said that his vocal's pretty crisp, and it's a real unexpected surprise!
Towards the end of this album, we're greeted with two final Christmas classics. First comes It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christimas, with Kammy doing the song justice properly. As we've said before, it harks back to the days of Perry Como and he'd be proud of this, there's no doubt. He makes it his own, it must be said, but still keeps to its traditional sentiments. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas slows the album right down for its last hurrah, with the piano-driven backing bouncing off Kammy's vocal wonderfully. It's an effort to be proud of, and by way of overall construction, constitutes one of the album's best offerings bar none.
Not to make any puns or anything, but Chris (tmas) Kamara's festivities have really got us in the festive spirit and it's "Unbelievable Jeff!". In all due seriousness, it's blown everyone's expectations and something to be proud of. There's nothing novelty about this album at all; it'll be the best Christmas gift this year.
If you want to pick up a copy, I’ll leave an Amazon link here: https://amzn.to/2X3aBPa
Or, if you’d prefer, here’s a Spotify link:
More merry musical magnificence to come next week!
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