Music: Great Christmas songs

Phil Cunningham Christmas Songbook (Pic: Anne Tuite)
Phil Cunningham Christmas Songbook (Pic: Anne Tuite)

So the Christmas movies are on daily telly now and the DVDs and CDs are back in the shops with very little change from last year – Noddy Holder who co-wrote Merry Christmas Everybody must love this time of year when his pension rolls in.

Impressive new music though too from Country star Sarah Darling with her Winter Wonderland album.

Eight songs with dreamy piano and sensitive arrangements bring new light to some standards we know and love.

Her take on Joni Mitchell’s River for one is a delight and she makes Santa Baby even more sensuous than it ever was.

Emily Smith too we know from the Scottish Folk Clubs and her awards as musician and singer. This week Songs For Christmas has twelve selections to enjoy including her own songs and arrangements.

Find Hope has so many sentiments for the season and her Christian approach continues with Little Road To Bethlehem and The Blessings Of Mary.

Recorded at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire you can see her on BBC One at the Watch Night Service on December 24.

Phil Cunningham’s Christmas Songbook has become an annual event and the resultant album has Phil on accordion (of course), piano & whistles. Karen Matheson and Eddi Reader are among the vocalists where the rendition of In The Bleak Midwinter is worth the cost alone. Blending Winter Wonderland with the Bluebell Polka is just one of the clever diversions on this great album. Another favourite of mine is from a couple of years back and recorded in Fife College.

Vocalist Grace Black and keyboards from Ray Martine released Christmas Music Box and from the opening Marshmallow World the jazz lounge comes alive with tinsel included.