Like last week, we take a look at another various-artist special Christmas project. Though last week’s was released through Sparrow Records, this one was released two years later by Word Records, and was the second in the “Our” series: Our Christmas.
Like it’s Our Hymns predecessor, this takes the cream-of-the-crop artists of the time and gives us contemporary renditions of traditional songs. However, a couple of songs are original, such as Michael W. Smith’s album opener and David Meece’s tender, yet powerful “One Small Child.”
Starting off, Michael W. Smith finally records his hit song Emmanuel, which he penned for Amy Grant’s 1983 Christmas album, and adds to it a boys choir for the song’s introduction, “Reve du Noel.”
And speaking of Amy Grant, here we see her teamed up with the one and only Sandi Patty, arguably one of the best duet pairings in Christian music history. What made this interesting was not only that they were the top female singers of the time, but because their audiences were somewhat polar opposites, an Amy/Sandi pairing could hardly be imagined (there was a bit of a divide–certainly a generation gap–among some of Sandy’s “inspirational” listeners and Amy’s “Devil’s music” listeners). But their beautifully recorded rendition of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear/O Little Town of Bethlehem” has become certainly one of the best Contemporary Christian Christmas recordings of all time.
Other highlights include another great pairing–Kim Hill and Phil Keaggy–whose beautifully-blended voices come together nicely for the duet of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” complete with Phil’s fancy fingerpicking to open the track; preceded by Mylon Lefevre’s stellar “O Holy Night,” which is one of the best contemporary Christian recordings of that song.
Altogether, this is a timeless Christmas album by some of Contemporary Christian Music’s finest artists of the 80s and 90s; and like many other great recordings of that era, is unfortunately rare and hard to find in hard copy these days.