Classic Christmas (Epic)

Billy Gilman Album

Didn't take long for that little Rhode Island rascal Billy Gilman to grace us with his first Yuletide album.

Billy gives a pre-teen twist to songs that - let's admit it - are often best sung by kids. He lends a jazzy spin to "Warm And Fuzzy" and an innocent child's-eye feel to "Winter Wonderland" and "Silent Night," while adopting a reverent approach for "There's A New Kid In Town." There's a too-jangly version of "Jingle Bell Rock," sounding as bothersome today as it did the day Bobby Helms released it in 1957, and a reprise of Brenda Lee's bouncy "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree." Billy's duet with Charlotte Church on "Sleigh Ride" sounds a tad like the Chipmunks on laughing gas, but he recoups with a young master's version of "O Holy Night" done to a lush pop arrangement.

-Gerry Wood

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