Reviewed by Tony Cummings
I recognised some of the carols collected here, like the opener "Sing We Now Of Christmas" based on the French carol "Noel Nouvelt", the old spiritual "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and, with my Scrooge Christmas record reviewer persona rising to the surface, the hugely banal "Jingle Bells". Hearteningly, there were a goodly number of new Christmas songs here. The title track, an excellent song, is composed by award-winning American CCM man Bernie Herms, which as the Songsters' leader Dorothy A Nancekievill writes in her sleevenote, "sums up the sense of wonder of that first Christmas and the love that is available for all who choose it." In view of such sentiments, it's a mystery that this album found room for songs like "Jingle Bells" and the standard "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", when they could have put in more songs of the quality of Will Todd's "Softly". Interestingly, "Softly" as well as being, to my ears, the best track on the album is the only one sung acapella. Elsewhere, it's Richard Phillips' piano which is the only accompaniment noticeable (can't say I registered the percussionist and bass guitarist listed on the sleeve). The Songsters are a good choir and the blend between these soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices is, at times, heavenly, particularly on "Softly". But some of the arrangements are too fussy for my taste. Not one of the Army's most successful Christmas albums.
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