various artists,
A Family Christmas
(Putumayo, 2009)

If I had to name a favorite record label, it would have to be Putumayo because they have brought me music from all over the world and exposed me to some of my new favorite artists, from African to Celtic They've also brought out a new Christmas CD almost every year, and it's always something fun and unexpected. The 11 tracks on this year's offering are no different.

Folkie Martin Sexton is singing "Holly Jolly Christmas," the song I most often associate with Burl Ives and Frosty the Snowman Follow that with Big Bad VooDoo Daddy doing a version of "Is Zat You Senata Claus" with a gorgeous big-band arrangement. "Let It Snow" sounds like it's being sung from a mountain cabin's front porch when Leon Redbone gives it his treatment. The biggest surprise for me was hearing Maria Muldaur after all these years doing "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" with the Christmas Jug Band and Angela Strehil in fine old funky style.

You literally don't know what's going to happen next with this recording and that's probably the best thing about it. While the music's all been played before, you're not going to hear it done like this any time soon.

review by
Becky Kyle

12 December 2009

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