Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Very Special Christmas 3
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
Part three of a series of records that benefits the Special Olympics, A Very Special Christmas 3 from 1997 is as excitingly eclectic as its predecessors. Though it features the likes of R&B chart toppers and hip-hoppers Ma... more »
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Part three of a series of records that benefits the Special Olympics, A Very Special Christmas 3 from 1997 is as excitingly eclectic as its predecessors. Though it features the likes of R&B chart toppers and hip-hoppers Mase, Puff Daddy, and Snoop Doggy Dogg and alt-rockers No Doubt, Smashing Pumpkins, , Blues Traveler, and others, the real standout performances belong to Jonny Lang, with his bawdy, barroom version of "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" and Sting, who delivers a proper reading of that old English carol "I Saw Three Ships." The showstopper, though, is Natalie Merchant's "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" in an arrangement so rich and compelling it may top even the many five-star versions of this African-American hymn that have come before it. --Martin Keller
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James A. from WOODSTOCK, GA
Reviewed on 9/16/2006...
Smashing Pumpkins' Christmastime is great!
The Best of the "Very Special Christmas" Series
Sam Bethune | Lincoln, Nebraska USA | 12/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I own all the volumes of "A Very Special Christmas" and consider this one to be the best. Maybe I'm sort of a Grinch, but I detest Whitney Houston's version of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and Stevie Nicks' interpretation of "Silent Night" which appear on previous editions. To be sure, some of the songs are better than others. I for one liked "Christmastime" by the Smashing Pumpkins...it's refreshing to see one of this country's best alternative bands try something a little out of the ordinary. My hands down favorite on this disc is "Christmas" by Blues Traveler. The lyrics are especially interesting and portray John Popper's initial indifference to Christmas, followed by his getting caught up in the Christmas Spirit, followed by his anxiously awaiting next year's Christmas. It's a truly beautiful and well done piece.Also worthy of mention is "Ave Maria" by Chris Cornell and Eleven. Cornell's vocals, as well as a very good arrangement of this classic, make it a standout on this collection and alone justifies the purchase price.The other tracks range from beautiful simplicity (Enya's "Silent Night") to raucous and fun (No Doubt's "Oi to the World). As previously mentioned, this is the best of the "Very Special Christmas" series. Give it a listen."
A Very Worthy Addition to your Christmas Collection
Ken Cook | Chelmsford, MA USA | 11/27/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The third album in this series is mostly a winner and well worth adding to your Christmas collection (as well as the first two volumes). As with any compilation that attempts to cover multiple genres, it is bound to be a hit or miss affair for most, but I think the producers of this series have done a pretty good job of it so far. Like the first volume, this record has very few clunkers and is overall worthy of five stars (I gave Volume 2 only four stars on account of it having a higher number of unworthy tracks).The collection leads off with Sting's short and sweet rendering of the traditional "I Saw Three Ships." Does such a good job with it that you wish the tune went on longer. One of these days, Sting will produce his own Christmas album. Next up is the now defunct alternative band Smashing Pumpkins with their original composition "Christmastime" which you most likely have heard on the radio a number of times. This is one of the top songs on this album. But the best song on this record could very well be Natalie Merchant's "Children Go Where I Send Thee" which is an old gospel song. So the first three songs are already worth the price of this CD alone.Unfortunately, the mood is spoiled by the next track featuring a whole mess of rap artists doing an ugly version of "Santa Baby." I don't know why the producers of this series feel compelled to stick a rap track on every volume but I don't appreciate it. Next is No Doubt doing "Oi To The World" which is a very annoying song that grates on your nerves after repeated listens. This song would no doubt (pardon the pun) drive Noriega out of his compound. Then we have Sheryl Crow doing a version of the overrecorded "Blue Christmas" that doesn't do anything for me but at least it gets the album sounding like a Christmas record again.Now we have Blues Traveler doing an original John Popper composition ("Christmas") that is one of the top tracks on this album and this also gets a lot of radio airplay around the holidays. Following that is Enya's Gaillic version of "Silent Night" ("Oiche Chiun"). This is just superb and very hypnotizing. I like playing this late at night on Christmas Eve by the fireplace once the gifts are under the blinking lights of the tree and the champagne is uncorked. If you are not familiar with the music of Enya, I highly recommend getting some of her albums. Then we have Hootie & The Blowfish (who were one of the hottest bands in music when this collection came out in 1997) doing a version of "The Christmas Song." While the performance is okay, I do not like this song at all as it is recorded by so many other artists and it's getting sort of old. Whatever happened to Hootie & The Blowfish anyway? They sort of disappeared after this.Next is my personal favorite song on this CD, Chris Cornell (of the alternative rock band Soundgarden) doing a spine-tingling version of "Ave Maria." This is another song I like to hear late at night on Christmas Eve. It sets quite an atmosphere. Next is "Christmas In The City" by Mary J. Blige. This soulful track doesn't sound very Christmasy at all and it sort of spoils the mood that was created by Chris Cornell's song. After that is Jonny Lang's version of "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" which is a bluesy rocker which is quite good but it just doesn't flow right here. The producers of this album don't do a very good job ordering the songs. They are all over the place.Next track is probably the one that gets the most radio airplay, that would be the Dave Matthews Band doing a live version of "Christmas Song" which was written by Dave Matthews himself. This is definitely a highlight of this CD. Next is Steve Winwood doing a version of an obscure ancient song called "Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand." I like it but you need to give it a few spins before it starts growing on you. Tracy Chapman then follows with her version of "O Holy Night." This is a very atypical and sparse interpretation of this song and quite interesting to listen to. Like the Steve Winwood track, you have to give it time to grow on you.Finally, the set concludes with Patti Smith doing an eclectic version of "We Three Kings." I've seen some negative comments about this song on other reviews but I like it a lot and consider it one of this album's highpoints.There are enough great songs on this record to make this an essential part of your Christmas collection."