Friday, November 8, 2013

Merry Mathis (Album Review: Johnny Mathis, Sending You A Little Christmas)

I don't know about you, but for me, Johnny Mathis is synonymous to Christmas music. He has recorded a couple of them (if I am not mistaken eight album)  And here he is, at age 78, releasing another one. And the voice, by gollly, is still there. It has thinned out just a little bit, it's still warm, supple, and perfect for these Christmas chestnuts. Even though I  have heard all these songs before (some may be even by a younger Mathis) I never felt bored by him. As an album, I can't think of a bad track, and he is joined by very special guests that just make the album even better. Starting off the album is a duet with Billy Joel on "Christmas Song" and they show a connection in their duet. Later on, a duet with Gloria Estefan, though blandly arranged, is still not a throwaway because they blend well together. He also duets with Susan Boyle and the lilting arrangement here gives a lift to Boyle's wonderful soprano voice, and the over all effect is not as "heavy." It's a standout on an album of standouts. There are even swell originals here: a track with and composed by Jim Brackman, the title track, and "Decorate The Night," a modern soul track. But my favorite track is his "Merry Christmas Darling," which he sings with less sentimentality than normal, and the message of the song comes just a little more clearly. If you have loved and cherished your old Johnny Mathis albums, prepare to add another more to your collection.

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