CD Review: Blake: A Classic Christmas

Blake: A Classic Christmas

Blake: A Classic Christmas - Credit: Archant

Have yourself a merry little Christmas with the boys from Blake...

If you’re sick of Michael Buble belting out the same old arrangements of familiar songs every Christmas, but are still hankering for some festive classics, then this could be the perfect stocking filler.

Vocal harmonies group Blake, school days pals who formed a group as adults after reuniting on Facebook, offer their own take on some seasonal stand-bys with this Yuletide collection, a crowdfunded effort which also helps support the children’s charity Variety.

There are new arrangements on many well-known songs, but also some less familiar tracks like Christmas Time Is Here (originally by Charlie Brown and Snoopy!) and their original song Back In Your Arms for Christmas.

But although the group have a sufficiently large fan base to ensure this was always going to be a hit – including celebs like Keira Knightley, Will Smith, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor – there is one special ingredient to this festive mix which almost guarantees them a shot at the Christmas Number One.

Enter Dame Shirley Bassey, who collaborates with the boys on a new version of The Christmas Song (That’s Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), which is not only her first Christmas song in a career spanning more than 60 years, but legitimately does have a chance at that coveted slot at the top of the charts on December 25.

You don’t buy an album like this expecting anything unconventional, and it’s hard to offer any scintillating insight into the compositions when they’re playing it so safe, especially after the opening Bassey number sets the bar so high.

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Blake are consummate professionals, delivering admirably on every note, and the original number displays their songwriting talent with a message sure to resonate with those who have friends and family in the forces overseas.

There’s a sense of black and white Hollywood which oozes through this collection, evoking memories of perfect holidays which never existed outside of old films. It’s as sweet as eggnog, and could perhaps have done with a shot of brandy for a bit of an edge, but you just know your mum or nan would be overjoyed to receive this on Christmas morning, and it’s certainly an improvement on a pair of socks.