STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 32915-18713 LABEL: Marshalls MRT1004 FORMAT: 12 inch vinyl Album RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
After the success of 'The Passion' in 1980 with its big stage production and tour and premiere on Radio One, the BBC station commissioned Snell to create a Christmas recording. Released in 1981 and broadcast on Radio One that Christmas, Snell composed the project with long time collaborator Phil Thomson. After the success of 'The Passion' and the use of the rhythms section of the incredible drummer Simon Phillips and bassist John G Perry, Snell used those musicians on his album 'The Cut' and again on this release, helping to create a uniquely recognisable sound. The cast of characters includes vocal cameos from Paul Field, John Pantry and Norman Barratt. Adrian himself plays Joseph and Mary is played by Shirlie Roden whose voice is reminiscent of Sheila Walsh. American singer Bonnie Bramlett makes an appearance as Elizabeth and brings her own soulful slant to things and fellow American and former Wings drummer Joe English is Gabriel. So there's plenty of talent on show including an early recorded appearance by Iona's Dave Bainbridge adding some guitar. As you'd imagine, the album tells the Christmas story from the perspective of Mary with all the drama of the events unfolding from the low point of "What Do You Mean, A Baby?" when Mary gives Joseph the news she's pregnant through to the triumphant to the final triumph of "Light Of The World". Musically you can't argue with the quality but in the grander scheme of things, this isn't one of Snell's most accomplished big musical offerings.
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