Now some of you might think I’ve been a little grumpy with my recent Christmas CD reviews and while that might be true (bah humbug!) this Christmas album by Maria Muldaur got my Grinch heart to grow at least three sizes. Unlike the usual drivel that every recording artist seems to be compelled to assault us with this time of year, Maria Muldaur has brought a big dose of freshness and energy to Christmas tunes. Christmas At the Oasis will win you over from first listen. Infused with plenty of jazz, swing, blues, Dixieland, and razzmatazz Muldaur has steadfastly refused to give us warmed over versions of songs. Nor does she do songs that we have heard a million times over. Other than Santa Baby and Winter Wonderland, most of the other 11 tracks (there are 13 on the album in total) are songs that you don’t hear every day. These are Christmas songs from the past and by the past I mean originally done by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith and Louie Prima. The rareness of hearing them today is made that much better as these songs were all recorded live in San Francisco’s The Razz Room. The energy of the swinging band coupled with Muldaur stellar vocals and the electricity of the appreciative crowd adds up to something special. You will be swaying, jiving, and humming along.
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