Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Music: The Gatlin Brothers

I've been a fan of Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers since I first heard their songs when I was in college. The combination of Larry's songwriting talent and the beautiful blending of the brothers' voices never fails to wow me. I've been fortunate to see them in concert several times, and they are true showmen; they always give fans their money's worth and then some, including lingering after concerts to greet fans and sign photos.

If you're looking for some new-to-you Christmas music this year, I highly recommend any of the Gatlins' albums. (I'm listening to one as I post this...)

A GATLIN FAMILY CHRISTMAS is the oldest of their Christmas albums. It dates back to their heyday at the top of the country-pop charts in the early '80s. The tracks include Larry's lovely compositions "Sweet Baby Jesus," "Steps," and "Alleluia," which they use to close every concert, as well as a number of traditional Christmas carols. This album might be my favorite of their three Christmas albums, just because I've listened to it the longest and associate it with many Christmases past.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE GATLINS, also sold under the title CHRISTMAS WITH THE GATLIN BROTHERS, contains many Christmas standards and Larry's song "Christmas All Year 'Round." His "Sweet Baby Jesus" also appears on this album. Two-thirds of the tracks on this album are religious carols, but they also included my two favorite "secular" Christmas songs, "White Christmas" and "Silver Bells."

A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION WITH THE GATLIN BROTHERS is a bit different in that it has a number of new Christmas songs which weren't written by Larry, including "I Have Held My King," performed as a solo by Rudy, "They Saw a King," and the rousing choral number "I Have Seen the Light." Larry's songs "No Star Tonight in Bethlehem" and "All We Like Sheep" also appear on the album, along with a closing performance of "Alleluia." This stirring album in particular causes one to reflect on the miracle of Christ's birth.

While Amazon's vendors sell the CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION CD at a steep price, you can purcase it directly from the Gatlins' website (see subject link) for a more reasonable $13.50. I have purchased directly from them before and received excellent service. The CHRISTMASTIME DVD available on the website is fun too. :)


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