Wynonna Judd

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Amazing Grace
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Michael Bolton, Wynonna Judd - This Is The Time
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Elvis Presley, Wynonna Judd - Santa Claus Is Back In Town
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Wynonna Judd is one of the foremost country recording artists and songwriters who began her career in a duo called the Judds with her mother Naomi. In their initial incarnation (the pair would record together again and release a new album in 2011) the Judds recorded 9 albums, one of which was a Christmas album called 'Christmas With The Judds'. Although this 1987 release was only 9 tracks long it contained a pair of lesser known gems in 'Beautiful Star of Bethlehem' and 'Who Is This Babe' (an original written specially for the occasion) that are not often showcased. Elsewhere the mother and daughter act stuck to the tried and tested formulas of 'Winter Wonderland', 'Away In A Manger' and 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town'. The pair played the album traditionally with the artwork taken straight from the template as laid down by the classic Christmas releases of the sixties. Despite their alignment with the country scene 'Christmas Time With The Judds' sounds like a Christmas album rather than a country one with Christmas lyrics and for that they should be commended. With their close harmonies, sparse but impressive playing and children's choir (particularly impressive on 'Away In A Manger') 'Christmas Time With The Judds' makes for a joyous family listen. In 1994 several tracks off 'Christmas Time With The Judds' reappeared on a beautifully packaged compilation album called 'Christmas With The Judds & Alabama' which also featured a quartet off Alabama's own festive album 'Alabama Christmas' from 1985.

Following the Judds dissolution in 1991 Wynonna went solo and has kept a high profile over a succession of albums including 2006's 'A Classic Christmas'. Before that she had delved into the season on many occasions including an original song from her 1993 album 'Tell Me Why' called 'Let's Make A Baby King' which told the story of the nativity and Mary's plans for the baby Jesus. Wynonna also contributed vocals to several Christmas albums by other artists including Michael Bolton for the title track of his Christmas album 'This Is The Time' and Kenny Rogers 1997' 'The Gift' where she teamed up with the country legend on 'Mary, Did You Know?' 4 years later Wynonna recorded vocals for 'Mary’s Song' which appeared on Kelly Price's 2001 album 'One Family: A Christmas Album'.

Wynonna's first solo Christmas album 'A Classic Christmas' featured 10 covers of festive standards and a new track called 'It's the Messiah'. Although there was plenty of familiarity Judd added her own unique twist to proceedings such as on 'Ave Maria' which appeared in its Latin form. The album was mostly a quiet affair but her genuine interest in the project is exemplified by the fact that she brought her own kids Elijah and Grace on-board for 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'. She also invited her old backroom team that was responsible for much of the Judds greatest offerings to add to the party atmosphere. While there was a little crossover between Wynonna's Christmas album and the one she recorded with her mother this time tracks such as 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song' came with full orchestral backing which added an extra dimension to proceedings. And while some singers might have gotten lost in a sea of strings Wynonna proved how effective her soprano was on her renditions of tracks like the powerful 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel'.

In 2008 Wynonna was one of several contemporary female country artists to record a duet with a posthumous Elvis Presley for the album 'Christmas Duets'. Once you get over the unusual pairing/scenario 'Santa Claus Is Back In Town' is a blast with Wynonna throwing herself gleefully into the project.

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