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To Shorten the Winter - An Irish Christmas

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Album Review

With this album, Irish singer and songwriter Tommy Sands makes an interesting and generally successful attempt to create a Christmas mood without recourse to traditional Christmas songs. Instead, he has written a program of songs that deal with childhood Christmas memories, themes of hospitality and welcome, and the story of Jesus' birth. The most ambitious song is the lead track, the awkwardly titled "Like the First Time It's Christmas Time," which obliquely addresses Ireland's troubled political history while expressing hope in the context of the Christmas season; the most ill-fitting song is an absolutely surreal cover version of "Whiter Shade of Pale." Everything else falls somewhere in between, and all of it is quite nice. Highlights include a great version of the traditional "Matt Hyland" and a lovely original song of parting titled "Slan Abhaile." There is also a humorous — if hardly Christmasy — duet with Dolores Keane called "The Mixed Marriage." Maybe not utterly essential, but very nice all in all.

Biography

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The multi-talented Tommy Sands was born August 27, 1937, in Chicago, IL, to show-business parents. His entry into the business was no mistake, surprise, or happenstance, but genetic and inevitable. His father played piano and his mother sang. He took guitar lessons when he was eight years old and became an adequate axeman. By this time the Sands had moved to Houston, TX, where Sands got the acting bug. He moved to Los Angeles after high school and landed a job on Cliffie Stone's country & western...
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To Shorten the Winter - An Irish Christmas, Tommy Sands
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