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Christmas Means Love

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Joan Osborne 9/11/2007

Review

Issued originally in 2005, Christmas Means Love was a Barnes & Noble exclusive. After signing her, Time Life decided to widely reissue this 11-song Christmas album by Joan Osborne. Is it necessary? Not really, but no one really needs any Christmas record. Osborne's voice being what it is, she could sing the back of a cereal box and make it interesting. The program here is diverse, centered on rhythm and blues, with gospel tunes, carols, and blues rounding it out. Osborne contributed one song to the mix, her own blues "What Do Bad Girls Get," which is a new take on an old theme. As for the traditional carols, there are five, including a country version of "Away in a Manger," a beautiful gospel rendering -- inspired no doubt by Mavis Staples' reading of the song -- of "Silent Night," a folksy version of "Angels We Have Heard On High" with so much reverb, her voice is indistinguishable from Emmylou Harris'. Bummer. Far more successful is the radical revisioning of "Children Go Where I Send Thee" full of blues and funky gospel. Better still is her version of Robbie Robertson's "Christmas Must Be Tonight" with its world-weary ethos imbued with just a glimmer of hope, and the breezy "Christmas in New Orleans," written by Joe Van Winkle and Dick Sherman. On "Great Day in December" Osborne wears the deep influence of Etta James on her sleeve, and the Andrews Sisters-sing-the-jump-blues version of "Santa Claus Blues" is solid, if a novelty tune. It's a mixed bag, to be sure, but still unlikely to be like "all the other" Christmas records on your shelf. ~ Thom Jurek
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Introduction Joan Osborne null:null
  3. 1 Christmas Means Love Joan Osborne 3:3
  4. 2 Santa Claus Baby Joan Osborne 2:34
  5. 3 Away in a Manger Joan Osborne 4:34
  6. 4 Christmas Must Be Tonight Joan Osborne 3:59
  7. 5 Cherry Tree Carol Joan Osborne 3:38
  8. 6 Christmas in New Orleans Joan Osborne 3:34
  9. 7 Children Go Where I Send Thee Joan Osborne 4:23
  10. 8 Angels We Have Heard on High Joan Osborne 3:19
  11. 9 What Do Bad Girls Get? Joan Osborne 2:32
  12. 10 Great Day in December Joan Osborne 4:44
  13. 11 Silent Night Joan Osborne 3:2

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