Greg Page's Here Comes Christmas a Sleigh Ride Full of New and Cherished Songs

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Greg Page Wiggles Here Comes Christmas Music Dennis Russo Review Critical Blast

I’ve just settled down to type this review after listening to Greg Page’s “Here Comes Christmas” and I am on cloud nine! I feel so good, so happy and here is why.

I have always been a Greg Page fan since I first saw and heard him on my daughter's “Wiggles” tapes and CD’s. Greg was the original Yellow Wiggle and lead singer for the group. I always enjoyed his voice and the songs they sang. As time went by, as time does, the daughter grew and The Wiggles were replaced by other shows and music -- but I never stopped liking Greg’s singing. I just didn’t have the opportunity to listen to him anymore.

Fast forward to today. When I heard Greg was releasing a Christmas album, I was like, "So what if it may be somewhat skewed towards kids? Christmas is Christmas and everyone is a kid at Christmas."

When I saw the list of songs (listed at the bottom), it was apparent that Greg was covering all spectrums of Christmas music, from traditional kids' songs to family classics, as well as a few original compositions, making this a CD for the whole family.

This is quite an undertaking for anyone to be singing so many different types of songs, and I was eager jump in and listen.

"Wow!" is the all encompassing word here that describes what I heard. The first three songs are original compositions, and are at once easily discernible as both Greg’s wonderful bass voice and also Wiggles influenced. “Here Comes Christmas” and “Christmas Bells” are, to me, sure to become family Christmas classics. They are fun, vibrant, wonderfully arranged, toe tapping, head swaying “sing along to” nuggets of Christmas spirit.

I played this CD first in my car, and it sounded very good there. But it was when I played it on my stereo rig at home that the songs truly bloomed and took on a wonderful life of their own. It is so apparent that this was not just another seasonal album thrown together with traditional arrangements for cheap thrills. Not here. Greg and his co-producer/mixer, Alec Miller, went off the charts in the way they arranged and rearranged familiar melodies, some simply and some very complexly, giving them new life while still maintaining the soul of the originals. They made the songs instantly recognizable but different in a way that even die-hard traditionalists would like. I know because I am one.

I am a big -- strike that -- huge Christmas music fan, and have dozens of records, CD and tapes of Christmas music. I thought I had heard about every fresh way songs like “Little Drummer Boy,” “White Christmas,” “Silent Night," and “The Christmas Song” could be sung, and being the die-hard traditionalist that I am, I thought I would never hear a better version of  “Little Drummer Boy” than the one by The Harry Simeone Choir. And while there are some versions of classics songs here that I still prefer sung by others, I am here to say right now that I consider Greg’s arrangement of “Little Drummer Boy” as the definitive version for me. Between the lush, warm, reverent musical arrangement, to the backing vocals that enveloped Greg’s voice at the perfect instances, the song sent shivers up and down my spine and brought a happy tear to my eye.

At the other end of the spectrum he sings “Dominick the Donkey!” I have not heard anyone else ever sing that song other than Lou Monte. What was I to expect? Lou is an Italian from New Jersey. Greg is Australian! Well, let me tell you the paisano does a really good job, as he also does on "Feliz Navidad." And then there is “I Saw Three Ships.” I have heard this song countless times, but never in a 50’s do-wop style! This could have easily been Dion and the Belmonts, but the arrangement was more modern and mixed to fill my whole listening area. By gum he seems to sing them all!

And that is the core beauty of this CD. It has a Christmas song for everyone, for the whole family, that never gets tiresome or boring. Some of the songs may have you may say, “It’s good, but I like so-and-so’s just as good.” But others will make this an album you’ll pull out year after year.

Capping off the long list of Christmas songs is “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” This is sung in a way that it closes the show, so to speak, with kids and Greg wishing us all a Merry Christmas.

I want to once again say how wonderfully this CD is produced and mixed. These guys are pros in every sense of the word: the instruments, sounds, voices come from everywhere, and so easily discernible that should you want to you could pick an instrument at any point, from a glockenspiel to a gong, with no trouble at all, yet still sit back and listen to them play as the whole. The backing voices, too, billed as the Miller-Page Family Singers, are used perfectly in each song they are in to add just the right touch to make the experience complete.

Included in on this CD, though I’m not exactly sure why, are four non-Christmas bonus tracks from Greg’s new DVD series, BUTTERSCOTCH PLAYGROUND. These do sound very “Wiggle-ish” in nature, but there is nothing wrong with that.

I am so glad I got the opportunity to review this CD. I love Christmas music, and Greg has given us one for the ages--for every age that wants to have fun at Christmas time and be a kid again.

Enthusiastically recommended!

Songs:

  1. Here Comes Christmas!

  2. Christmas Bells

  3. It’s Christmas

  4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

  5. Jingle Bells

  6. Let It Snow

  7. Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer

  8. Winter Wonderland

  9. Little Drummer Boy

  10. The Christmas Song

  11. Frosty The Snowman

  12. Jingle Bell Rock

  13. Dominick The Donkey

  14. White Christmas

  15. Silent Night

  16. Silver Bells

  17. Feliz Navidad

  18. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

  19. I Saw Three Ships

  20. The Twelve Days Of Christmas

  21. O Come All Ye Faithful

  22. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Bonus Tracks From Greg’s New DVD Series “Butterscotch Playground”

  1. Everybody Dance

  2. At The Fire Station

  3. Knead It

  4. Get Down Low and Go, Go, Go

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0