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Download A Legendary Christmas

by John Legend
  • Release type: Album
  • Year: 2018
  • Tracks: 14
  • Duration: 49:46
  • Size, Mb: 117.98
  • Bitrate: MP3 336
  • Genre: R&B, Pop/Rock

Review

John Legend did not need any prodding to record a holiday album and is in the spirit throughout A Legendary Christmas. Produced by Raphael Saadiq, with whom Legend collaborated on Once Again highlight "Show Me," the LP is joyously nostalgic, decked with strings, horns, and a trio of background vocalists including secret weapon Sy Smith. The majority of the material dates from the '40s through the '70s, while the six originals are similarly styled. Most of the new songs hold their own. The dashing "Wrap Me Up in Your Love" could pass for a vocalese version of a song intended for a Sky High Productions holiday album shelved since 1974, as it resembles something Fonce and Larry Mizell might've whipped up for Bobbi Humphrey or Donald Byrd. Another standout, "Bring Me Love," fits in with the thoughtful mix of Motown numbers: "What Christmas Means to Me" (popularized by Stevie Wonder, heard here on harmonica), "Give Love on Christmas Day" (recorded by Jackson 5, coincidentally co-written by Fonce Mizell), and "Purple Snowflakes" (originally cut by Marvin Gaye but not released until 1992, 27 years after the original composition was reworked/repurposed as the single "Pretty Little Baby"). Legend brought the ham to the recordings of the best-known selections. These include the Esperanza Spalding duet "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and especially "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)." They're straightforward renditions, whereas Saadiq and Jamelle Adisa's upbeat, uptown soul-style arrangement of "Silver Bells" brims with energy, and Legend beams through it like he can't wait to make Another Legendary Christmas. The booklet, filled with Legend family photos, make a strong case for physical over digital.

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