4.0 out of 5 stars Great version of O Holy Night!
Volume 2 fits right in with a great series of Christmas music. Most tracks are fun to listen to and its a great CD for Christmas parties. Tevin Campbell's O Holy Night is excellent and stands out. The first 3 tracks (Petty, Travis, and Vandross) are great leadoffs. Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper's Santa Claus is Coming to Town is also fun.
Published on Dec 9 2002 by Dan Knight
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3.0 out of 5 stars Only a Few Shining Gems
There are very few songs on this second collection in the "Very Special Christmas Series" that I consider memorable. I love the opening song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Christmas All Over Again" which is a very upbeat, original song and a great lead off. Most of the other songs do not follow suit, however. The only stand-outs to me were Luther Vandross' jazzy...
Published on Dec 7 2002 by D. Movahedpour
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great version of O Holy Night!,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)Volume 2 fits right in with a great series of Christmas music. Most tracks are fun to listen to and its a great CD for Christmas parties. Tevin Campbell's O Holy Night is excellent and stands out. The first 3 tracks (Petty, Travis, and Vandross) are great leadoffs. Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper's Santa Claus is Coming to Town is also fun.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only a Few Shining Gems,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)There are very few songs on this second collection in the "Very Special Christmas Series" that I consider memorable. I love the opening song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Christmas All Over Again" which is a very upbeat, original song and a great lead off. Most of the other songs do not follow suit, however. The only stand-outs to me were Luther Vandross' jazzy version of the traditional "Christmas Song" and the fun "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree" by Darlene Love. My favorite on the album is the original "Christmas Time Again" by the long-defunct 90's band, Extreme, and Tevin Campbell's heart felt version of "Oh Holy Night." I found myself skipping over most of the other songs, and we won't even go near Michael Bolton's travesty of "White Christmas." Thank goodness for CD's and the "skip" feature.
4.0 out of 5 stars Yule Get Your Money's Worth,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)The second volume of "A Very Special Christmas", released in 1992, is crammed with 19 tracks, though at least three of them should have been left on the shelf which is why this set gets four stars instead of five. Still, I highly recommend this album which is a worthy successor to Volume 1 (to which I gave five stars). Of the 19 tracks, 5 are timeless "gems", 3 are simply horrible and the other 11 range from "OK" to pretty darn good.
Lead-off track is the first gem of this set, the Tom Petty song "Christmas All Over Again" which you have probably heard on the radio a thousand times by now. Still, I'm not tired of it and look forward to hearing it "all over again" each Christmas. Next is a version of "Jingle Bell Rock" by Randy Travis with a false ending. I'm sort of tired of this song but this version of it is pretty good. This is followed by Luther Vandross' version of "The Christmas Song," another song I'm tired of but this particular version is soulful and smooth. Not bad at all.
I'm not too crazy about the pairing of Frank Sinatra with the awful Cyndi Lauper ("Santa Claus Is Coming To Town") but they somehow make it work. Boyz II Men was a very annoying band back in the late 1980s/early 1990s but their "Birth Of Christ" is not a bad effort at all. I like it well enough. Then Jon Bon Jovi sort of mails in "Please Come Home For Christmas" - yet another Christmas song that is getting overrecorded. Not a clunker but nothing special either.
Here, the album picks up for a while. Paul Young's "What Christmas Means To Me" is a sprightly tune that still gets plenty of airtime during Christmas. Next is the second gem on this compilation, Aretha Franklin's very moving and soulful take of "O Christmas Tree", practically turning it into a gospel song in the process. This is first rate stuff. Next up is Ronnie Spector and the ubiquitous Darlene Love doing a rollicking version of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree."
At this point, the album takes a horrible turn with Michael Bolton's butchering of "White Christmas." Do you remember the old SNL skit of John Belushi doing a Joe Cocker imitation? Well this is sort of like a SNL parody of Michael Bolton only it's Michael Bolton for real! Scary stuff. Next is Run-DMC with "Christmas Is" and it just doesn't have the magic of their "Christmas In Hollis" from Volume 1. They should have left this one in the can. It's jarring and just doesn't put you in the holiday spirit at all. The only thing going for it is that it follows a Michael Bolton song. Finally the album is back on track with Extreme (a defunct 1980s band) doing "Christmas Time Again", a song that they wrote. And it's pretty darn good.
Now we get into some blues with Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown doing the classic "Merry Christmas Baby" and they do a good job with it. Next up is the third gem which is Tevin Campbell's "O Holy Night" which I never get tired of hearing each and every year. Then we come to our third "clunker" which is the simply horrid Debbie Gibson doing an uninspiring and lame version of a song that is lame to begin with ("Sleigh Ride"). It's a good thing she never married Michael Bolton or the government would have had to step in to keep them from having kids.
But the album is rescued once again with the fourth gem, a jazzy version of "What Child Is This" that just never gets tired no matter how many times you hear it. The next two tracks are just "okay." Ann & Nancy Wilson (nucleus of "Heart") doing a perfunctory version of "Blue Christmas" and Wilson Phillips (remember them?) doing a version of "Silent Night." Not bad but not memorable either.
Finally the album closes out with the fifth and final "gem." This would be Sinead O'Connor's "I Believe In You." Not technically a Christmas song (it was penned by Bob Dylan) but it definitely has that Christmas feel to it. Say what you want about Sinead O'Connor but she really knows how to carry a tune.
5.0 out of 5 stars Maintaining the standard of the first volume,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)The first volume of A very special Christmas was incredible, but this follow-up is just as good and even more eclectic. Now, I have wide musical tastes but I can't believe there are too many people who enjoy listening to Randy Travis (singing Jingle bell rock here) and also enjoy the music of Run DMC (rapping Christmas is). Country and rap just do not mix, even though the Bellamy brothers once recorded a song called Country rap - it was a good try but didn't really work. And even if you are in the minority that enjoy both Randy Travis and Run DMC, will you also enjoy Michael Bolton, Debbie Gibson and everything else here? Probably not. In my case, I can tolerate one rap track for the sheer brilliance and diversity of the rest of this collection.
Tom Petty sets the standard with the opening track, Christmas all over again. Darlene Love, one of the stars of the Phil Spector Christmas album, reminds us all how Christmas rock music really began, here to be heard singing a cover of Rocking around the Christmas tree. Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown bring a touch of the blues to the collection with their rendition of Merry Christmas baby. Santa Claus is coming to town features Cyndi Lauper and Frank Sinatra, though this is not a true duet - Cyndi's vocals were overdubbed on Frank's original recording. Jon Bon Jovi does an excellent cover of the Eagles classic Please come home for Christmas.
There are so many superb songs here, brilliantly performed. It may not be possible to like every track, but if you enjoy most of them (I enjoyed almost all of them), their quality will more than make up for the others.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great non-traditional Christmas Songs,
By A Customer
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)I enjoy this album every year, Sinead O'Connor is a beautiful, sad song that works for many situations and is not just a Christmas song. I would buy the CD for just that song.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vanessa Williams Is the Whole Show,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)I went out and bought this CD for the elegant and jazzy Vanessa Williams version of "What Child Is This?" after just a single viewing of the extraordinary video on VH1--I couldn't get the video or William's beautiful execution of the song out of my head! I love it so much I play it year round, not just on the holidays.
Some of the other songs are nice as well, particularly Ann and Nancy Wilson's "Blue Christmas" and the fun, better-than-I-thought-it-would-be Frank Sinatra-Cyndi Lauper duet "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." But Vanessa Williams's "What Child Is This?" alone is worth the cost of the CD.
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated, but good,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)I have the A very Special Christmas 1, 2, and 3. This is my least favorite of the three, but I still like this one a lot. Sinead O'Conner's I Belive in You is very haunting. My favorite tracks are Tom Petty & and Heartbreakers "Christmas All Over again" and Jon Bon Jovi's "Please Come Home for Christmas". Unfortunately, this CD has tracks by Extreme, Tevin Cambell, and Debbie Gibson, so it feels a little old. But Christmas Music is Christmas music, and if you liked those artists, it won't bother you too much.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Better Mix Makes it Better the Second Time Around,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)I liked the first installment of the series, A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS (see my review), but I like this second one even better.
I was glad to see the inclusion of country (Randy Travis), soul (Aretha Franklin), and oldies (Ronnie Spector) artists. I think the mixture made this effort supercede its predecessor.
Some of the more notable songs for me included Randy Travis's fun country swing on "Jingle Bell Rock." I was expecting a slick, glossy, and forgetable version of "The Christmas Song" from Luther Vandross; but I think he did a fine job. A surprising duo from Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper was a delight. Lauper's voice fluctuated ever so slightly between a nice, mature singing style and the off-beat kiddie voice she's most known for; but she held her own.
Paul Young gives a rendition of "What Christmas Means to Me" that is worthy of much hand clapping and toe tapping. Bonnie Raitt and Charles Brown do justice on the bluesy "Merry Christmas Baby." And Ann and Nancy Wilson tingle the senses with their version of "Blue Christmas," a cross between a blues style and a knock-down-drag-out country torch song!
I was a little disappointed with Boyz II Men's "The Birth of Christ" and Michael Bolton's "White Christmas." As usual, BIIM's harmonies were beautiful on their acappella offering, but somehow it just didn't matter. Michael Bolton has a nice voice, in my opinion, but on this song, he sounded as if he was trying too darn hard.
But the winner hands down, in my opinion, is the Queen of Soul herself: Aretha Franklin. Aretha is my all-time favorite female artist, and she literally sent chills up and down my spine with her rendition of "O Christmas Tree." Her execution of the song is not flawless. I could do without the spoken word part, and there are a few phrases where she doesn't seem to hit it quite right. But in most places, Aretha's vocals practically soar, and she turns this Christmas chestnut of a song into a majestic, triumphant work of beauty. Maybe it's the contrast between Aretha's gospel-soaked vocals against the strains of the orchestra, and all the emotion she puts into the words and her voice climbs and descends, ending in a soft hiss as she sings "how lovely are your branchesssss."
Anyway, Aretha's song is worth my getting this CD, no doubt. But even without "O Christmas Tree," this CD would be a good addition to any Christmas music enthusiast's collection.
3.0 out of 5 stars Fair But Should Have Been Much Better,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)I only play this to hear the cover songs done by Ronnie & Darlene, Tom Petty, Paul Young, Heart & Bonnie Raitt & Charles Brown, sorry but the rest is just filler/fluff to me. Vol.1 is the best of the lot in the Very Special Christmas series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Holiday CD,
This review is from: V2 A Very Special Christmas (Audio CD)I received this CD as a gift and put it away. I was asked to bring some music over for a holiday party my friends were giving. I put it one as an after-thought and to my dis-belief people stopped talking and started listening to some of the tracks. There are some great duets in this version and it is well worth having. Now my friends borrow it all the time. The sounds are refrshing and put a new spin on the old holiday songs. I am going to buy the other CD's in the series as well.
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