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A Christmas Gift of Love

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Album Review

Barry Manilow's second seasonal collection, following 1990's Because It's Christmas, was released on Columbia Records, but that label berth appears to be a one-off for the singer, who followed his long tenure at Arista by signing to the jazz independent Concord for his last album, 2001's Here at the Mayflower. Maybe Columbia offered a bigger budget, since Manilow is awash in strings on a set of holiday standards. Those strings are arranged festively, and Manilow is in an appropriately festive mood, really throwing himself into the proceedings; it's his enthusiasm that makes this Christmas album a winner. There are songs actually written as Christmas carols, such as "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," but Manilow also expands the usual repertoire to take in a number of tunes that have become associated with the holiday season over the years, even if they were not intended to be originally, notably Rodgers & Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music and Joni Mitchell's melancholy "River" from her Blue album, which is certainly set at Christmas time even if it doesn't share the usual holiday sentiments. Inevitably, Manilow ends with his own new Christmas original, "A Gift of Love," which is a good song even if it isn't likely to join the ranks of the perennial copyrights. This is an enjoyable Christmas album in a traditional pop style likely to please both Manilow fans and others.

Customer Reviews

Very Good

Wow, I'm usually not much of a "Barry Manilow" kind of person, but this album is great. Fun, festive, and full of christmas spirit. I know that sounds cheesier than cheese itself, but hey...what can i say? lol Good album.

Short and Short.

Barry chose secular swingers for his second Christmas album, he didn't leave Concord for this cd, it's a joint venture between the two labels. All the song producton is huge, even Joni Mitchell's "River" is given a lush, subdued string arrangement. This cd is damn short, it clocks in just under 30 minutes. "My Favorite Things" is a standout, it's Rogers and Hammerstein meets "West Side Story" and my complaint is that the song is too short, in fact it's too short as a whole, making the end of this cd feel abrupt, there are cd5's that are longer than this. Buying this cd track by track instead of a whole will make you feel less cheated but I'm feeling more generous regarding the rating, five stars for production value including vocal, a zero for length of content.


This album show the talent Barry has for taking songs and making them his own and making them even better than before. He has given these songs new life they are uptempo and add that something special to your Holiday season. This album is the perfect addition to every Christmas party it will surely put everyone in the Holiday season spirit. Purchasing this album would be money well spent. I would have given it 10 stars if I had been able to. Barry just gets better with age he never goes out of style. I have been a fan of his for 33 years and enjoy him more with each passing year.


Born: June 17, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In terms of record sales and career longevity, Barry Manilow is one of the most successful adult contemporary singers ever. That success hasn't necessarily translated to respect (or even ironic hipster appreciation) in most quarters; instead, Manilow's music has been much maligned by critics and listeners alike, particularly the romantic ballads that defined his career, which were derided as maudlin schlock even during his heyday. It's true that Manilow's taste for swelling choruses and lush arrangements...
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