O Christmas Three

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Now that Chicago have recorded their third collection of Christmas music -- cleverly titled O Christmas Three -- it's a reasonable question to ask whether there are still new carols for the group to sing. Naturally, the answer is yes, there are songs that they missed on their first two seasonal LPs, and they do a fair bit of them here, including songs like "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Jingle Bells," and, of course, "O Christmas Tree," all songs they missed the first time around. Also, they have upped the quotient of originals and recent holiday tunes, opening the record with a rendition of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time" featuring Dolly Parton. She's not the only guest here, either, with America lending harmonies to "I Saw Three Ships," BeBe Winans singing "Merry Christmas Darling," and Steve Cropper laying down some guitar on "Rockin' and Rollin' on Christmas Day." Generally, Oh Christmas Three is brighter and cheerier than Chicago's two previous Christmas albums -- and those records were hardly dour, of course -- and that bit of good spirit is enough to make this the rare three-quel that doesn't dampen the legacy of whatever came before.

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