Thirty four years and some fourteen albums later, McDonald returns with his fifteenth release and third Christmas effort, this one titled This Christmas. Twelve tracks deep, McDonald shares the cheer over a vast array of musical stylings that is sure to excite the staunchest musical purist.
While a bulk of the album features tracks reissued from McDonald's previous Christmas albums, the entire album manages to flow seamlessly, showcasing the timeless nature of McDonald's presentation.
New music on the album includes "That's What Christmas Means To Me", which features the incomparable Tommy Sims, who handles rhythm and horn arrangements and plays bass and guitars. The combo of Sims and McDonald makes for a very soulful groove to this Christmas classic. The album's title cut is McDonald's take on the Donny Hathaway classic. His distinct vocal texture works very well with this popular holiday tune.
Proving McDonald can switch styles with the best of them, "I'll Be Home For Christmas" gets a bluesy, "juke-joint" like makeover, complete with clarinet, tuba, trombone, and piano. Scarlett McDonald adds her vocals to this fun presentation.
Several of the reissued cuts are certainly worthy of mention. Twinkie Clark joins McDonald on "Children Go Where I Send Thee". Backed by The Delegation Choir, Clark and McDonald take this Christmas jam straight to church and leave you wanting an immediate reprise.
Amy Holland McDonald teams with McDonald for a great duet on "Wexford Carol". The harmonies in this arrangement will easily require additional spins.
Other great cuts on the album include "Come, O Come Emmanuel/What Month Was Jesus Born", "Peace", and "On This Night".
McDonald's voice is a treat during any time of the year, especially during the Christmas season. Thankfully, this album is so good that you will want to check it out throughout the entire year. Definitely add this one to your Christmas collection.
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— review by Gerard Bonner —
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