BeBe Winans

My Christmas Prayer

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BeBe Winans' Christmas album is, not surprisingly, a very reverent collection. The gospel singer has turned largely to traditional and religious material, which he performs effectively in his passionate style on My Christmas Prayer. The title song is an original ballad that is given great play on the album, boasting two different versions: one a duet with Rob Thomas of matchbox twenty, the other with Winans' mother, Delores Winans. The only thing that mars the album is Winans' lack of reverence for songwriters. It is a minor irritation that he finds it necessary to substitute "Lord" for "fates" in the opening song, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," but his unacknowledged rewrite of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," which retains not much more than the chorus (and certainly not the "Hare Krishna" chant!), is a travesty. Winans arrogantly may feel that his faith justifies these transgressions (and, to be fair, Harrison himself was not above altering other people's lyrics on occasion to make them more religious), but, like all interpretive singers, he should be respectful of what songwriters actually wrote. The cardinal rule is, if you have a problem with the lyrics, just don't sing the song. As a songwriter himself, he no doubt would be scandalized if some singer changed his lyrics to alter the meaning of one of his songs, and he should treat the songs of others as he would wish his own to be treated.

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