CD: Cerys Matthews - Baby, It's Cold Outside | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Cerys Matthews - Baby, It's Cold Outside
A many-flavoured Christmas album you can play to children without suffering aural indigestion
An album full of tunes you’ve been hearing all your life needs to be adept at reinvention. Cerys Matthews has already proved that she has a gift for repackaging the familiar in her enchanting Tir, which anthologises much loved Welsh folk songs and hymns. But then in that intoxicating voice, which breathily suggests both sweetness and transgression, she has just the instrument for sprinkling a fresh coat of fairy dust over, in this case, children’s carols.
The pleasure of Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Christmas Classics from Cerys Matthews is also partly in the arrangements. There’s a distinct tinge of bluegrass to “Jingle Bells” and a Hispanic flavouring to “Little Donkey”, while “While Shepherds Watch Their Flock” is delivered to the jaunty parping of a Teutonic street organ. Surprise instruments listed include oud, kora and zither, and Matthews herself on flute and kazoo. As for the lush harmonising, the likes of “Ding Dong Merrily on High” typify her pursuit of fresh musical textures.
For fans of Matthews’ Welsh-language singing, there’s “Y Darlun” (The Picture), with shaky whistling, but she also breaks into German in “O Tennenbaum”, and “Silent Night” is delivered in English, Spanish and German. The title track of course features another outing for Matthews’ flirtatious duet with Tom Jones on the Frank Loesser standard. Its ramped-up production values are heavily out of step with the rest of an album positioning the singer as matronly enchantress. Few of the tracks exceed three minutes, and several come in under two. This is a Christmas album you can play to children without suffering aural indigestion.
Cerys Matthews and Tom Jones perform 'Baby, It's Cold Outside'
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