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Charles Brown comes home for Christmas

Cool Christmas Blues
Cool Christmas Blues
By Charles Brown

Rounder Records: 1994

This review first appeared in the November 29, 1994 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Charles Brown, like Nat "King" Cole and Perry Como, will forever be associated with Christmas. Brown was the songwriter of the now-classic "Please Come Home for Christmas," and the original singer of "Merry Christmas Baby," both first recorded in the 1950s.

Odd, then, that this is his first all-holiday offering. On it, he reprises both the above chestnuts, improving upon the originals in the process. Brown is now in his 70s, and a far better, more interesting singer, injecting far more emotion into his still-smooth vocals than he did in his youth. His piano playing, too, has only become more rich with the years.

In addition to the above reinterpretations of his own history, Brown also includes one of the most striking readings of "Silent Night" you'll ever hear.

On every song, Brown's performance is always first-rate, and the backing band is smooth and sophisticated.