Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever

Ronnie Spector

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Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever Review

by Mark Deming

Ronnie Spector sang on A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, arguably the greatest rock & roll Christmas album ever made, and even if Darlene Love got the best lead vocals on that classic LP, it still looms large enough in Ronnie's legacy that any time she tries to make a holiday record, it's going to measured against that accomplishment. Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever is an optimistically titled EP that features five Yuletide tunes from the former Ronettes vocalist and girl group icon, and if it predictably doesn't hold a candle to the 1963 classic, it's a solid piece of work and shows that Spector's voice is still in great shape and she knows what to do with it. The real drawback here is that these five songs are serviceable but ultimately nothing special, and while "My Christmas Wish" and "Best Christmas Ever" lean toward '60s style R&B-influenced rock, which plays to Spector's strengths, "It's the Time (Happy Holidays)" is a Latin-flavored number whose style doesn't flatter her, and "Light One Candle" is pre-fab pop with a lamentable sub-Kenny G sax solo. "It's Christmas Once Again" is a sweet and well-crafted bit of '50s-styled pop, but it's also recycled from Spector's 2006 album Last of the Rock Stars. The production and arrangements are competent and professional, if not always inspired, and Spector sounds great and offers moving asides on two numbers in which she shares monologues about her childhood memories of the holiday. No one is likely to recall Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever in 47 years the way folks still remember A Christmas Gift to You in 2010, but it clearly proves she's still one of the great voices of the girl group era, and she still has the pipes and the spunk to make this disc worth hearing, even if the material she's given is flawed.

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