mon 30/01/2023

Album: Macy Gray & the California Jet Club - Christmas with You | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Macy Gray & the California Jet Club - Christmas with You

Album: Macy Gray & the California Jet Club - Christmas with You

It’s a jazzy Christmas round at Macy’s

Christmas with You: Noddy Holder and Roy Wood-free

It’s nice to come across a Christmas album that more-or-less avoids the usual suspects that tend to appear out of the woodwork at this time of year. Macy Gray’s seasonal offering is just such a beast.

There are no poptastic renditions of Christmas carols and certainly none of those hoary rock’n’roll yuletide perennials on Christmas with You. So, neither Noddy Holder nor Roy Wood will be earning any royalties from this set. For, while many artists seem to view the early 1970s as the Golden Age of Christmas Pop, Macy Gray has gone back somewhat further for her winter celebration. In fact, most of these tunes predate modern pop altogether, as she and her touring band, the California Jet Club, have gone distinctly jazzy with their hymns to Santa – and there’s no sign of the Baby Jesus at all.

Things kick off with “Merry Christmas Baby”, a standard that has already been covered by everyone from Elvis Presley and Otis Redding to Rod Stewart and Bruce Springsteen. This version is distinctly more laidback though, with a very cool saxophone driving things along. This bumps into a bossa nova take on Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and a slightly sugary, but fun version of Dr Seuss’ “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch”.

Elsewhere, Macy and her gang dip into James Brown’s “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” and “Christmas Time is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which comes on a bit like Norah Jones, even if it doesn’t sound particularly like her version of the song. In fact, the only tune that sounds especially like the soulful Macy Gray of old is the title track, “Christmas with You”. Nevertheless, her Chrimbo disc largely manages to avoid being either too cheesy or too cool for its own good and will neither freak out your Gran nor bore the hip young things this year.

There are no poptastic renditions of Christmas carols and certainly none of those hoary rock’n’roll yuletide perennials on Christmas with You

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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