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Ray Charles 

Celebrates A Gospel Christmas


Ray Charles
Celebrates A Gospel Christmas
(UrbanWorks)
This DVD concert features a performance by Ray Charles, but it is anything but a Ray Charles DVD. Instead, it should be titled The Voices Of Jubilation Cash in on Ray Charles Before it’s Too Late. Far from a Christmas disc, it features poor audio mixing, unflattering angles and an ancient-looking Charles dwarfed by an overrated choir singing a few Christmas songs and a bulk of poorly selected non-holiday tunes, including Bette Midler’s “From A Distance.” The few highlights are Charles’s inspired rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and his bluesy “Little Drummer Boy.” The remainder of the disc, however, is not so much a celebration of the season as it is an opportunity for the choir to perform in front of a larger audience. The viewing experience is even further jaded by Charles’s use of a cheesy electric keyboard while a grand piano stands idly by.
—Jon Bruhm

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