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Christmas Means Love

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Album Review

Issued originally in 2005, Christmas Means Love was a Barnes & Noble exclusive. After signing her, Time Life decided to widely reissue this 11-song Christmas album by Joan Osborne. Is it necessary? Not really, but no one really needs any Christmas record. Osborne's voice being what it is, she could sing the back of a cereal box and make it interesting. The program here is diverse, centered on rhythm and blues, with gospel tunes, carols, and blues rounding it out. Osborne contributed one song to the mix, her own blues "What Do Bad Girls Get," which is a new take on an old theme. As for the traditional carols, there are five, including a country version of "Away in a Manger," a beautiful gospel rendering — inspired no doubt by Mavis Staples' reading of the song — of "Silent Night," a folksy version of "Angels We Have Heard On High" with so much reverb, her voice is indistinguishable from Emmylou Harris'. Bummer. Far more successful is the radical revisioning of "Children Go Where I Send Thee" full of blues and funky gospel. Better still is her version of Robbie Robertson's "Christmas Must Be Tonight" with its world-weary ethos imbued with just a glimmer of hope, and the breezy "Christmas in New Orleans," written by Joe Van Winkle and Dick Sherman. On "Great Day in December" Osborne wears the deep influence of Etta James on her sleeve, and the Andrews Sisters-sing-the-jump-blues version of "Santa Claus Blues" is solid, if a novelty tune. It's a mixed bag, to be sure, but still unlikely to be like "all the other" Christmas records on your shelf.

Customer Reviews

Joan makes a comeback with Christmas

Haven't heard much from Joan recently. This album is great. I have never bought an album on Itunes yet, however, I purchased the entire album. Her voice is amazing and she does a fantastic job with the songs. Some of my picks are: Christmas Means Love, Santa Claus Baby, Christmas in New Orleans. What Do Bad Girls Get? is the next "Santa Baby". Fantastic!

Take Us To Heaven!

The funkiest, grooviest, most soulful Christmas album this side of Bethlehem. And I ain't talkin' Pennysylvania folks. Wow. This release and a country CD put out in two weeks?! And she just got off the road with the Phil Lesh & Friends group. When could she possibly find the time to record all this amazing music? Unbelievable talent that shines through any material and any genre. Joan Osborne continues to prove herself to be head and shoulders above any other vocalist out there. Sheer brilliance, not like any other X-Mas disc you've ever heard.

Amazing and festive and a great Christmas, well, anytime CD

It's so nice to hear Joan sing. This album feels very true and authentic, the way she really's very organic, unprocessed and real. Excellent production and great song choices...not your ordinary Christmas album. In fact, I would listen to this all year round! Thanks, Joan.


Born: July 8, 1962 in Anchorage, KY

Genre: Pop

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

Singer Joan Osborne was born on July 8, 1962, in the town of Anchorage, Kentucky, but it wasn't until relocating to New York City in the early '90s (to study at NYU's film school) that she began to take a singing career seriously after performing Billie Holiday's classic "God Bless the Child" at a local bar's open-mike night. In addition to Holiday, Osborne looked to such legendary vocalists as Etta James and Ray Charles as role models, as the up-and-coming singer decided not to cater to major record...
Full Bio
Christmas Means Love, Joan Osborne
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