Various Artists

Soulful Christmas [Time Life]

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Though soul singers aren't as perfect a match for a Christmas compilation as professional standard bearers like Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald (or even Elvis Presley), Time-Life's Soulful Christmas is an excellent compilation of holiday soul by some of the best performers in pop music history. Charles Brown brings a quiet warmth to "Please Come Home for Christmas," while Smokey Robinson brings a bit of magic to the hoary "Deck the Halls." There are plenty of other highlights, including "I'll Be Home for Christmas" by the Stylistics, "Winter Wonderland" by Aretha Franklin, a grooving "Jingle Bells" by Booker T. & the MG's, and the moving "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway. Most of the tracks are remastered and in the best condition they've ever been heard.

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