Album: Carole King, A Christmas Carole (Hear Music)

 

There's an inter-denominational inclusivity theme to Carole King's seasonal offering. The star turn is "Chanukah Prayer", a haunting, jazz-inflected Jewish hymn on which she's joined by her daughter Louise Goffin (who also produced the album) and grandson Hayden Wells.

Kwanzaa, meanwhile, is celebrated through accomplished versions of William Bell's soulful "Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday" and Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas", the latter treated to a sophisticated Steely Dan-style arrangement of electric piano and horns.

The beach-themed samba "Christmas Paradise" seems a clumsy attempt to spread excess cheer to holidaymakers who ought to be happy enough with their lot, quite frankly, while contrarily, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is far too solemn and glum to bear out its own instruction.

DOWNLOAD THIS: Chanukah Prayer; This Christmas; Carol of the Bells

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