Cliff Richard

Cliff at Christmas

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Given that many of Cliff Richard's biggest hits of the '80s and beyond tended to be his seasonal offerings, Christmas compilations such as this have long been a sure-fire banker, and Cliff at Christmas did not disappoint, either commercially or creatively. A Top Ten hit in December 2003, Cliff at Christmas gathers up nine past festive hits, including the inevitable "Mistletoe and Wine," "Saviour's Day," "Little Town," and "Millennium Prayer" -- albeit with the occasional remix thrown in to give them a more contemporary sheen. The real meat, however, are the eight new recordings that complete the set, and if the album does veer more towards the crasser side of the holidays (does anybody ever need to re-record "Walking in the Air," the theme from The Snowman?), then that only adds to the lightheartedness of the affair. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Winter Wonderland," and "Let It Snow" are so much a part of the modern holidays that Cliff at Christmas would have seemed incomplete without them. For obvious reasons, this is not an album you feel like listening to for 11 months of the year. But once the Advent calendar is hung on the wall, and before you start sweeping the pine needles off the carpet, you'll certainly want to spin it at least once. And if you happen to press "repeat" by accident -- oh, what the hell, it's Christmas, after all.

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