We were expecting to mock this: a cursory play through, a pithy review, job done. Unfortunately, it’s pretty good; if it was more Christmassy, it’d come with free reindeer poo and tinsel. We played it about six times on the run.
Armstrong is not only the voice of Dangermouse, he went to St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, where he was a chorister at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, and attended Trinity College, Cambridge on a music scholarship. He plays the piano, cello, and oboe. He’s a bass baritone, as was Bing Crosby, and there are shades of Bing throughout this.
He sings a variety of tunes: opener Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal is one of the surprises, and there are classic Christmas tunes, such as The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and Let It Snow, a carol (Silent Night) and some songs he wrote himself.
More money from royalties for him than the covers, but they’re not bad.
He knows about music and he keeps it simple and traditional, with no sudden outbreaks into big band. It’s got a comforting feel to it, all Christmas jumpers, open fires and sherry. It’s a CD you’ll only play at Christmas but it’s a Christmas CD’s Christmas CD. Rather nice.
Buy it cheap for next Christmas: