Various Artists

A Very Soulful Christmas

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A Very Soulful Christmas is an 11-song session featuring a veritable who's who of soul and gospel music pioneers from the '70s and '80s. The recordings were made over a wide period of time, giving several tunes a very dated production sound, especially in the case of the O'Jays' rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and Deniece Williams' nearly indecipherable new jack rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" While the lineup looks promising, many of these performances sound flat and uninspired. Nevertheless, it's a decent alternative to stodgy budget-line compilations that promise to spread holiday cheer but fall painfully short on delivering the goods.

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