Twelve songs, simply, but effectively, arranged. True, the temptation to use ringing bells on a couple of the songs proved irresistible, but it is the only slight use of schmaltz on a refreshingly schmaltz-free collection of arrangements. And the songs themselves are sung tunefully and well with a totally unself-conscious passion and honesty that truly reflects Danny O’Flaherty’s approach to his music. I should have expected no less. There are no Santa Clauses in this collection, no reindeer, no elves, no tinsel, no trees, no Christmas stockings or puddings, no Scrooges, no TIny Tims, just the meaning of Christmas pared down to its original essentials. That, for millions of Christians, the birth of Jesus Christ meant also the birth of belief, hope, and meaning. Love of God and joy in the promise that Christmas meant to humanity. There. I’ve used the most embarrassing words that a middle-aged ANglo-Saxon cynic can use in one sentence–i.e. “Love” and “God”–an isolated lapse, I’ve no doubt.
However, before I’m tempted to put down my guitar and take up Holy Orders, I’ll finish by urging all those who are not offended by joy, simplicity, and passion, and those who are not embarrassed by the “L” word or the “G” word, to listen to this recording. I think you’ll like it. And if you don’t, then for the l** of G*d, don’t write to me, write to Danny O’Flaherty!