Michael McLean

Forgotten Carols: Anniversary Edition

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Like a similar release in 2001 (Greater Than Us All: 10th Anniversary Edition), this album is a bigger-budget redux of a very successful album in the Shadow Mountain/Deseret Book label history. Unlike Greater Than Us All: 10th Anniversary Edition, this re-imagining was better off being left to the imagination. Tweaking tracks and refining vocals is one thing, but changing the basic entity is a whole other ball game, and the result is very frustrating with this specific album. McLean unwisely sings some of the numbers, which is charming on his album Michael Sings McLean, but totally inappropriate here. He also tries to push his son on listeners again with a disappointing rendition of the normally moving "Three Kings Found the Lord." The song "Arise and Shine Forth" is being shoved on listeners yet again in this album. It was fine in the context of an annual women's conference; it's completely out of place in a Christmas story -- just plain aggravating. Clearly McLean has a lot of clout with his label when it comes to his artistic vision. Unfortunately, his vision fell far short on this outing. Better stick with the original version. The only bright spot, incidentally, is Katie Thompson as the voice of Connie Lou. She is fantastic as usual, and is equally excellent to her predecessor in the role, Felicia Sorensen.

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