Various Artists

A Gift of Christmas: A Superstar Celebraton of Caring

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Since A Gift of Christmas: A Superstar Celebration of Caring has got good intentions on its side, it feels a little churlish to criticize that it doesn't really hold together as an album. Then again, it's not supposed to -- the big names sell the record in hopes of raising money for charity. And there is some good stuff here -- the Chieftains' "I Saw Three Ships A Sailing," Etta James' "Merry Christmas Baby," Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song," Elvis Presley's "O Little Town of Bethlehem," even Paul McCartney's ingratiating "Wonderful Christmastime." As a matter of fact, there's not really a bad track here, even though a couple are average. The main problem is that it's a little odd to hear Judy Collins, Kenny G, N' Sync, Jewel, Eurythmics, George Winston, and Placido Domingo all sonically rub elbows. Even so, that's not entirely a bad thing, and the individual moments of the album work well enough to make it worth a donation.

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