Various Artists

Holiday Favorites: Christmas Soul

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As tempting as the title sounds, Christmas Soul is little more than a ballads-based interpretation of ten holiday standards, most of them bad choices for the soul treatment. "Joy to the World" and "The Christmas Song" work in this fusion-soaked context, but most of the rest -- "O Holy Night" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" especially -- are bad choices given average performances. The vocalist has most of the clichés down, but the arrangements are maudlin and bland.

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