wed 08/12/2021

Album: Chris Kamara - And a Happy New Year | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Chris Kamara - ...And a Happy New Year

Album: Chris Kamara - ...And a Happy New Year

Unlikely second Christmas cracker from genial pundit

Chris Kamara makes an "unbelievable" budget Sinatra

Now this is exactly what I want for Christmas: a beloved fixture of Saturday afternoon TV putting a lounge jazz spin on some festive classics, backed by an 18-piece swing band.

…And a Happy New Year is, somewhat implausibly, the second holiday collection in as many years from Chris “Kammy” Kamara – last year’s debut being the sort of unexpected Top 10 success to justify another run for the former professional footballer turned genial Sky Sports pundit and occasional light entertainment star.

With Rudolph, Frosty and the rest of the lowest-hanging festive fruit anchoring last year’s selection, this year’s combines your dad’s favourites – Wizzard, Elvis, Nat King Cole – with some lightweight carolling and even two new songs, written for Kammy by pop songwriters Richard Scott and Kelvin Andrews, co-writers of a chunk of Robbie Williams’s late ‘00s output. And while there are some missteps in the mix – Kammy’s budget Sinatra croon steamrolls “I Believe in Father Christmas”, Greg Lake’s 1975 anti-consumerist lament, into submission, and his swing-time “In The Bleak Midwinter” would make the cherubim and seraphim blush – there’s something tremendously endearing about this collection, particularly in a year when most of the extended family members Kammy’s enthusiastic performances bring to mind will likely be excluded from our state-sanctioned bubbles.

And nowhere is Kammy’s charm more apparent than on “Mr Claus”, the tongue-in-cheek letter to Santa that is one of his new additions to the Christmas canon. “I am appalled I doubted your existence from the age of five to 34,” he swoons, a lovelorn Casanova wishing his wife home after a lengthy absence, “I’ve been a good boy, as good as I can be”. Singalong classics, a Zoomed-in Roy Wood cameo and a slightly menacing refusal to get off the doorstep without some figgy pudding – there’s really something for everyone on this festive collection. It is, to steal a catchphrase, unbelievable.

Below: hear Kammy's Roy Wood-approved take on "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"

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