Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

You might think that the title of this recent Daily Mail freebie says it all.

Frankly, you'd be right, which let's be honest is no bad thing.

After all, whatever you think of the man, the two facts remain that Cliff has a beautiful voice, and everybody loves the last week of December. (except poultry, Santa's accountant, and the world-weary)

This then is a mixture of Cliff's relatively recent harmonies of Christmas carols and yuletide number ones. Yes, thrill at last to all those releases of his that various radio stations banned at the time believing that would somehow stop you buying them. I'd brand such programme directors as Scrooges, but hey, I've got the album playing as I write this, and it's just too darn uplifting.

The last five songs are billed as 'bonus tracks', apparently just to clear some room in the track listing on the back to advertise Cliff's 'Soulicious' CD / DVD. Now that's what I call the commercialisation of Christmas!

Or that's what I thought until I heard them. After a three-minute silence on the end of track 10, the five bonus numbers actually turn out to be from another source entirely - specifically the St. Mary's Marlborough Cathedral Choir… without Cliff!

These all sound nice and Christmassy too (even if some of the words are a bit hard to make out), but the fact remains that I was honestly expecting to listen to another five songs by Sir Cliff here. I suppose that's why it's called 'Christmas WITH Cliff'. The final hymn - Oh Come All Ye Faithful - sounds like it's come off an old black-and-white movie or something.

Truly, an album that takes you on a journey. It actually is a perfect Christmas party album.

Perhaps in June we could have a similar release of his songs relating to tennis?

Track Listing:

1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.
2. Mistletoe And Wine.
3. Saviour's Day.
4. White Christmas.
5. The Christmas Song.
6. Winter Wonderland.
7. Let It Snow.
8. The Millennium Prayer.
9. Mary's Boy Child. (duet with Helmut Lotti)
10. When A Child Is Born.
11. Away In A Manger.
12. Ding Dong Merrily On High.
13. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
14. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
15. Oh Come All Ye Faithfull.


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