Recorded to benefit the Special Olympics, this has some of the biggest names in contemporary music, most covering seasonal favorites with mixed success. Outstanding tracks include The Pretenders "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," with Chrissie Hynde giving a touching performance. Run-D.M.C.'s topical "Christmas in Hollis" relies heavily on sampling "Back Door Santa," and may head you toward the dance floor. Alison Moyet's stately version of "The Coventry Carol" is beautifully haunting. Only the Material Girl, Madonna, embarrasses herself with an overly campy "Santa Baby".
Every year since 1987, there's been A Very Special Christmas record of one sort or another, the proceeds of which go to the Special Olympics. This year's A Very Special Acoustic Christmas is as great as any previous year's efforts, even though it's deliciously unplugged. Country music superstars like Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, and Wynonna are balanced by such legendary country and bluegrass figures as Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, and Willie Nelson (doing a version of Charles Brown's "Please Come Home for Christmas" that's almost as haunting as Brown's). Throw in the father of newgrass Sam Bush's sparkling "Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!," Tift Merritt's sensual "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and a handful of other luminaries and you get a 16-tune acoustic set long on value that ends with multi-Grammy-winner Norah Jones singing "Peace".
40 soothing ambient grooves. Music inspired and created by Jake Stephenson, David Hendry, Phil Merrall, Simon Williams and Andrew Taylor.