Sandra's Country Music Presents
CD REVIEW OF
"Alabama Christmas, Volume II"
by Sandra L. Toney
This is something I've been waiting for since 1985. A follow-up
to Alabama's sensational and original Christmas album, "Alabama
Christmas." And so comes the long-awaited sequel, "Alabama
Christmas, Volume II." With four of the ten singles written
or co-written by one or more of the Alabama group members, the
album re-introduces some of Alabama's well-known originality in
And, as we grow weary of the traditional Christmas songs, Alabama
includes only two Christmas classics, "Little Drummer Boy,"
and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (which Alabama puts
their own country spin on), as well as the 50's hit, "Rockin'
Around the Christmas Tree."
The rest of the selections, however, are what we've come to expect
from the decade old supergroup -- country originals. The opening
single, "The Blessings," co-written by Ronnie Rogers,
Greg Fowler, and Alabama members, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen,
is definitely the best on the release. Although it wouldn't have
to even be a Christmas song per se, the message it sends is one
we all wish for during the Holidays. As one verse so eloquently
explains, "Sometimes I fall asleep at the end of the day/And
I forget to thank you, I'm ashamed to say/But as I lay me down
to sleep/I pray the Lord my soul to keep/I know you can hear me
here on Earth/Thank you for giving me more than I deserve."
Another Teddy Gentry/Randy Owen collaboration (again with co-writer
Ronnie Rogers) is the spiritual cut, "The Christmas Spirit."
This story reminds us of what Christmas is really all about, "The
Christmas spirit is in the air/The Christmas spirit is everywhere/Like
the day Christ was born in Bethlehem/The Christmas spirit has
been coming down." A nice surprise on this song is the tempo
change after the second chorus. Alabama sings two up-tempo verses
before slowing back down for the ending, "Since the day Christ
was born in Bethlehem/The Christmas spirit has been coming down."
As well as Alabama knows how to touch the Christmas spirit in
all of us, they can also remind us to have fun during this special
season as well. "Christmas in Your Arms" tells us it
doesn't really matter WHERE you spend Christmas, as long as it's
in the arms of a loved one. And, the rockin' tune, "The Night
Before Christmas," has Randy Owen sounding mysteriously like
the King of Rock himself, Elvis.
"When It Comes to Christmas," another Gentry/Owen/Rogers
collaboration, tells us that there's still a kid in all of us
at Christmas time, "I still like shakin' presents underneath
the tree/And tryin' to figure out what ole Santa's got for me/Oh,
I get so excited on Christmas Eve/I try my best to close my eyes,
but I can't sleep." Even as an adult, Christmas has a special
magic . . .
"Alabama Christmas, Volume II," has so many wonderful
selections on it. My only complaint is that it took eleven long
years to release it! When it comes to remembering our "blessings"
this Christmas, let's not forget about "Alabama Christmas,
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