Music Review – Blake “A Classic Christmas” Featuring Dame Shirley Bassey

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So for this post festive season review we are slightly slipping back into the Christmas spirit of things as this album was listened to and reviewed over the jolly holidays.

Blake’s “A Classic Christmas” featuring Dame Shirley Bassey on the opening song and lead track for the album is an ingenious PR move for the band as well as bringing a harmonious upgrade to those well-known Christmas classics such as Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! , Walking In The Air and Silent Night.  The rest of the album has varying melodies and tones showcasing Blake’s varied talents as a group and also has one original track which in itself is a hard thing to do these days what with all the varying Christmas Songs being released year after year by many artists.

“Back in Your Arms for Christmas” sounds and feels just like an old original and fits very well within the scope of the entire album.  This album is a great one to enjoy a real genuine Christmas experience with and all the trimmings that come with a real cosy family experience.

Keep this one in mind as we approach Christmas once again at the end of 2016 and I guarantee you will not be disappointed by the music choices as we all enjoy opening presents with loved ones and slowly falling asleep in front of the television or fireplace.  All in all a very good effort from Blake and with the collaboration of Dame Bassey herself ensures that this album won’t go unnoticed every Christmas.

Released UK November 20th 2015

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www.blakeofficial.com /thebandblake @thebandblake

BLAKE have an impressive CV of achievements including several No. 1s, multi-platinum selling albums and over 150 TV appearances, as well as having won a Brit Award for Album of the Year. Famous fans include Keira Knightley, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Will Smith. The trio tour constantly and take part in a vast amount of charity work, from performing for the Queen and Prince Harry at the Festival of Remembrance and the launch of the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Challenge, to working with the ‘Sing to Beat Breast Cancer’ Choir. Other charities they have supported include Help For Heroes, The British Legion and MIND. They have fans worldwide, which has sent them on tours to the Philippines, South Korea, Barbados, Russia, and even at the White House in the US.


About this album

British vocal trio BLAKE release ‘A Classic Christmas’, a collection of classic festive songs with Hollywood-style arrangements and BLAKE’s famous, award-winning vocal harmonies. This is an album with a vintage festive party feel & silver screen glamour, bringing back memories of many Christmas pasts and will be enjoyed for many years to come. ‘A Classic Christmas’ features timeless Christmas songs including ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’, ‘Frosty The Snowman’ and ‘Let It Snow’ – and a percentage of the sales of the entire album* will go to Variety, the Children’s Charity.

In addition to the vocals of BLAKE (Ollie Baines, Humphrey Berney and Stephen Bowman), the album also features a fabulous duet with Dame Shirley Bassey – ‘The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)’ – which is Dame Shirley’s first ever Christmas song.

Talking about the collaboration Dame Shirley recalls: “Blake sang Moon River at my 70th birthday party, and then we met again at the reception of [the charity] Variety’s 70th anniversary six months ago. Ollie mentioned singing a Christmas song together, and I said I’ve never done a Christmas song before!” After recording the song she said “I was quite overwhelmed because it just fits my voice so well. I was amazed how well our voices blended.”

BLAKE are known for their ability to perform a huge mix of genres, using vocal harmonies to create their classic sound and that’s exactly what they have achieved in this album. “We wanted to create an album which would be distinctively BLAKE and we’ve achieved that. It’s been a great album to record and we do think it’s a classic Christmas album” says Humphrey. In addition to creating new arrangements of the more well-known songs, BLAKE have enjoyed arranging and recording songs that perhaps are less familiar including ‘Little Saint Nick’ (Beach Boys), ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ (Bing Crosby) and ‘Christmas Time Is Here’ (Charlie Brown/Snoopy). Produced by Ollie Baines, the album also features an original song ‘Back In Your Arms For Christmas’, written by BLAKE, with lyrics that are rather poignant and draw inspiration from people the trio know who have in recent years been away from home at this time over Christmas, particularly friends who have been in the forces and based overseas. “I think we have made a record that really captures the spirit of Christmas” says Ollie, adding “when we were recording and mixing it, my overriding feeling was “If someone wrote a musical about Christmas, what would be in it?” I think this has that feeling written all over it.”

‘A Classic Christmas’ has been funded through crowdfunding site PledgeMusic. *Part of the money raised through the Pledge campaign will go to the charity Variety, with Stephen saying “We are ambassadors of Variety, The Children’s Charity, and were reunited with Dame Shirley at Variety’s gala event this year, so it is fitting that a sizeable donation is being made from the funding of the album to the charity. The work that they do for disadvantaged children in the UK is absolutely essential, and we are very proud to be associated with them.” Dame Shirley is also supporting a children’s charity with the release of the single “It’s so lovely to finally get to release a Christmas song, and my royalties will go to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital, in Cardiff.”


Tracklist:

  1. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
  2. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
  3. Christmas Time Is Here
  4. Frosty the Snowman
  5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  6. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  7. Little Saint Nick
  8. Walking in the Air
  9. In the Bleak Midwinter
  10. O Holy Night
  11. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  12. Back in Your Arms (For Christmas)
  13. Silent Night

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