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“Not So Silent Night: Christmas with REO Speedwagon” (Special Edition) by REO Speedwagon

Artist: REO Speedwagon
Title: “Not So Silent Night: Christmas with REO Speedwagon” (Special Edition)
Label: Sony Music
Release Date: 8/17/2010
Genre: Holiday Hard Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

Back in the Fall of 2009 the band REO Speedwagon offered up their own take on many holiday classic tunes and I had to admit that the end result was something very enjoyable. This year the band has re-released the album with three additional tracks and since its holiday vibe still rings the same for the original recording, I am re-presenting my views to you about it and then briefly discussing the new additions. Please find a comfortable chair, light a holiday scented candle and enjoy a little eggnog while we revisit those seasonal thoughts.

When I learned that REO Speedwagon was planning on releasing their own album of Christmas material I was unsure of what to expect and this made sense based on the surprising hit that the Twisted Sister became and just how good the Rob Halford “Winter Songs” release was. I’ve always loved what REO was capable of as a band but admit that my favoritism begins and pretty much ends with their juggernaut recording “Hi Infidelity”. Of course there were a few scattered tracks over the years they have been together that I enjoyed but I had gotten into the very heavy stuff not long after that 1980 release so it took a little more to get a rise out of me. Now older and somewhat wiser, I had to say that I was incredibly curious to see how the bands classic sound would be mixed with time honored holiday classics and I am happy to report that the end result is one of the warmest releases of its kind to come along. It’s not at all sarcastic like the Twisted Sister piece nor does it give you a smiting like the Halford one does at times but instead fills you with the spirit of the season on track after track. It begins with the softly delivered “The First Noel” that finds Kevin Cronin in terrific form and from here it launches into a very fun version of “Winter Wonderland”. “Silent Night” is slower and that song works best when done in this fashion and with “Deck The Halls” we see just how rocking this tune can be. So far so good I was thinking as I made sure these songs were on the Holiday Stuff playlist in my music player.
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