Sandra's Country Music Presents
CD REVIEW OF
"Christmas to Christmas"
by Sandra L. Toney
Toby Keith. Although the name isn't really one to be taken seriously,
anyone who has heard Toby's soothing, country voice knows this
man is one serious music maker. His first Christmas album, "Christmas
to Christmas," is just the right blend of toe-tappin' tunes
and solemn singles.
Toby Keith as songwriter emerges on this release as well. Of the
twelve hits on this album, Keith wrote or co-wrote four of them.
His sole creation, "Blame It On the Mistletoe," is a
beautiful ballad about two lonely strangers meeting by chance
at Christmas time and how magic takes over as Keith croons the
chorus, "Blame it on the mistletoe/'Cause what happened here
nobody knows/How could something simple as a kiss/Change my holiday
like this/And we held each other all night long/And we fell asleep
to a Christmas song/Playin' on the radio/Blame it on the mistletoe
. . ."
Ron Reynolds joins songwriter Keith on "Santa's Gonna Take
It All Back," an upbeat, rockin' song that tells the story
of a woman wanting so many things for Christmas that love takes
a backseat. That's when Toby offers his warning, "If you
ain't a good girl by Christmas/He said he's gonna take it all
back/If you ain't got it right come Christmas night/He's gonna
put it back in the sack/You've got a lot of things on your list/And
you better straighten up your act/Cause if you ain't a good girl
by Christmas/Santa's gonna take it all back." This is one
fun song! Let's just hope it never really happens.
Speaking of fun, the Keith-penned "Hot Rod Sleigh" offers
more than enough as well as "All I Want for Christmas"
and "Christmas Rock," the story of a man's other half
going a little overboard for Christmas "She don't want no
pots and pan/Just something shinin' on her hand/With an emerald
or a diamond on it/I had a budget but she's gone and blown it/Down
to the jewelry store, here I go/Hear the clerk say Ho! Ho! Ho!/She
wants a Christmas rock/But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll .
. ." I think we're supposed to feel sorry for the hard workin'
Keith chose his Christmas album to tackle a social issue that
many people don't like to think about, especially during the holidays
as we're all snuggled in our beds -- homelessness. Songwriter
Ron Reynolds brings this sad plight (that many people face) to
light in his song, "Santa, I'm right here." Keith uses
it as his opening on the album and sings it so touchingly, you'd
believe it has actually happened to him and his family.
The song begins with a man walking down a busy street during the
holidays and finding a note written in a child's hand. The note
is to Santa Claus. This is what it says, "Oh, Santa, if you
can't find me, we're livin' out here on the street/But I'll be
watchin' for you, you're not gonna forget me, are you/Daddy says
he knows you'll try/But we might be too hard to find this year/Oh,
Santa, I'm right here."
No one can listen to that song and ignore the fact that homelessness
exists in every city and every town. Kudos to Toby Keith for reminding
us that there are others out there to think about besides ourselves.
Not just at Christmas, but all year 'round -- from "Christmas
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