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CD: Carole King - A Christmas Carole | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Carole King - A Christmas Carole

CD: Carole King - A Christmas Carole

No gift of new songs from the great songwriter, but that old Tapestry sound sneaks in

Carole King's 'A Christmas Carole': more chance of becoming a perennial than 'The Wurzels Christmas Album'

Readers in America might be perplexed. Stateside, A Christmas Carole hits the streets as A Holiday Carole. Play spot the difference by comparing the images above and below. It’s not the only disconnect on offer. King is Jewish, so a Christmas-themed album seems offbeat – especially as it features “Chanukah Prayer”. Then there’s the minor matter that one of pop’s greatest songwriters doesn’t contribute any songs to the album.

Carole King A Holiday Carole coverIt’s been 10 years since King's last album, Love Makes the World, and once the brow furrowing is over, A Christmas Carole deserves little further thought beyond registering the punning title. Undemanding, tasteful stuff, it scoops up some stage and film standards that aren’t necessarily Christmas songs along with a couple of light soul covers (a sort of reverse "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" move) and a few co-writes by daughter Louise Goffin (one with Guy Chambers), who produces the album.

The opening run through of “My Favorite Things” is arranged to edge it towards the Tapestry sound. It’s recognisably Carole King. The next three tracks – “Carol of the Bells”, “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas Paradise” – are explicitly seasonal twinklers and jog along happily. “Everyday Will be Like a Holiday” also evokes the vintage, barefoot, brown-rice Carole King of 40 years ago. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has wonderful layered vocals, but the jazzified “Chanukah Prayer” is the centrepiece, with King, Goffin and grandson Hayden Wells taking the vocals. Whether it’s cloying or agreeable depends on how coal-hearted you feel. It does exude a warm, all-but-irresistible glow though. Only time will show if A Christmas Carole will be rolled out year after year, but it’s got more of a chance than The Wurzels Christmas Album.

Watch the Electronic Press Kit for Carole King’s A Holiday Carole

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