The ‘Broads’ are back – and this time it is with bells on – Christmas bells that is. The first CD to get reviewed this year with the holiday season approaching – and as always we thank Jane Harbury for always delivering the best product for review.
‘The Most Wonderful Time …Maybe’ is the second CD from the these talented women, their first release ‘Old Friends’ met with critical acclaim and great reviews. With the help of Danny Greenspoon and John ‘Beetle’ Bailey, Bernie Cisternas and Jono Grant on the recording side (recording live at the Jazz Bistro and in Studio) this is a great offering to get you in the holiday spirit.
‘Winter Wonderland’ is a jazzy, swing interpretation of this old classic, bringing back a 1940’s feel while keeping it new. The contrast in the girls’ voices really pulls this version together.
‘Carol of the Bells’ continues the great arrangements of what is usually a somber selection but the clever solo of ‘We Three Kings’(Colleen Allen) and the great piano playing of Diane Leah is refreshing.
‘Christmas Time is Here’ is more of a modern classic, and is so sweetly delivered, with soothing vocals and beautiful arrangement.
‘Julie, It’s Cold Outside’ (recorded live) shows the great banter of the girls, bringing the talent and their humour together, adding one liners to the tune turning it into an engaging song.
‘Song For a Winter’s Night’ is the Gordon Lightfoot classic, with Julie Michels soloing, with just piano accompaniment, almost sounding like Bette Midler, with little hints of Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, this really stands out on its own. And it’s CANCON!
‘Jingle Bells/Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ combines the two rock ‘n’ roll classics from Bobby Helms and Brenda Lee, showing off the girls’ harmonies, but also inserting excerpts of other classics like
‘Sleigh Ride’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Deck the Halls’. Over 5 minutes of this medley but it speeds by, chock full of entertainment.
‘Breath of Heaven/Mary Did You Know?’ is a spiritual, soft song, bringing the two titles together, and bringing in the choir feel throughout. Breathtaking.
‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Maybe’, the title track of the CD, re-written with hilarious lyrics, with so many cool things added in –buy the CD even if it is just for this track. (Then you will love the rest of it)
‘Merry Mashup’ features a warm, nostalgic version of ‘Have Yourself a Little Merry Christmas’ and the arrangement is well done.
‘The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)’ is the David Seville hit, that I don’t think anyone has ever attempted to re-do. The girls actually do it ‘live’ where Seville had the help of the studio ‘elves’ to make that sound. Silliness at its best!
‘Christmas Angel’ is the closing track of this unique, entertaining holiday CD and what a perfect choice to close it out.
Broadsway is Heather Bambrick, Julie Michels and Diane Leah. The ‘Broads’ – Beauty, Brains and Talent – it doesn’t get much better than that – wait yes it does! Add their wicked sense of humour and you have a great Holiday season CD without all the typical versions. This CD is going to stay at the top of my rotation for the holidays!
Sandy Graham – Cashbox Magazine Canada