The Lady Is Sue (Music Thoughts: Christmas Lady, Sue Raney)

christmas-lady-digipackThe holidays are going to be in full swing soon, and the radio station that my officemate listens to have gone to All-Christmas all the time. It truly baffles me that even though there are thousands of Christmas albums in existence, these stations play the same versions of songs over and over again – how many times will I hear Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ in one day? I mean, classic song, but…

But there’s Sue Raney, one of my most favorite singers of all time. Blessed with the smoothest middle range in creation, she has released her first Christmas album, and she has been singing for more than fifty years. The wait has been worth it, because this is as good as Christmas albums get.She sings every wonderful Holiday song here, and she sings it convincingly, with subtle inflections that make every song her own. Even ‘Silent Night’ sounded new to me, with her prayerful version here. She gets festive, she gets pensive, there’s longing in ‘Merry Christmas Darling,’ there’s exuberance in ‘We Need A Little Christmas,’ and the arrangements are thoughtful every step of the way. I especially liked the rarely heard title song ‘Christmas Lady,’ which was written by musician Dick Shreve for his wife. This is an album you can play every Christmas and I bet like an onion you can still peel layers every time. Sue-riffic!

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