Darlene Love - It's Christmas, of Course [$15.98]
Darlene Love has one of the most iconic voices of the holiday season. Come December, her Phil Spector-produced "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" from the classic 1963 album A Christmas Gift for You is a staple on the airwaves. Five decades since that landmark recording, Darlene Love has finally released her own album in tribute to the holidays. It's Christmas, Of Course stands apart from other similarly themed efforts with renditions of strictly contemporary Christmas compositions. You won't find "Silent Night" or "The Christmas Song". Instead, Love tackles songs by Robbie Robertson, Tom Petty, and John Lennon with her full-bodied and gospel-inflected phrasing. Producers Shawn Amos and Kevin Killen have assembled a wonderful group of musicians to back Love. Her take on The Pretenders' "2000 Miles" is given a slightly jazz makeover while NRBQ's "Christmas Wish" is lovely and loping. Her voice is imbued with more than just the Christmas spirit. There's an authentic, joyful soul emanating from each one of these songs making It's Christmas, Of Course an indispensable addition to anyone's holiday music collection.