It seems a little bit ridiculous to be reviewing Christmas albums in October, but given that it’s snowed in parts of the UK over the weekend, perhaps it’s exactly the right time. It certainly felt like Christmas when I was reviewing Engelbert Humperdinck’s new seasonable album, ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’, The Hump’s first Christmas album in almost forty years. The new release is set to come out on November 16.
Although it feels early, this already the third Christmas album I’ve reviewed so far this season, and I can guarantee it’s not going to be the last. And I’m glad to be doing it. We’ve supported Engelbert Humperdinck over the years, and salute his long standing career, which reached the milestone of 50 years in 2017. Enge keeps the good vibes coming, and no less so with ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’. It’s going to be one of those albums we play on high rotation on approach to the big day.
‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ comprises 14 Christmas songs, some classic, some more contemporary. There’s two original tracks, ‘Christmas For The Family’, and ‘Around The Christmas Tree’, which are certain to become instant holiday favourites. Enge gives Chris Rhea’s ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ the Hump treatment, as well as Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Christmas Song’: his big voice crooning in such a way as to bing a smile to the lips of even the most ardent Ebenezer Scrooge among us.
And that’s just it. There’s something about Engelbert Humperdinck that warms the heart. It could be his jolly disposition – any time of the year Enge has that joy de vivre, you know he really makes the best of every moment of his life, even the saddest times, he finds a positive hook. Engelbert always looks like he’s about to laugh, and in any case it’s clear he’s enjoyed making this album.
In speaking of ‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ Engelbert said,
“It’s been such a long time since I recorded a Christmas album, and fans have been asking me, “When are you going to do another one?”…Finally, we decided to do it. I love Christmas. For me growing up with a large family and everybody singing around the Christmas tree, it was a wonderful, wonderful upbringing. So Christmas is very special with me to share.”
This album, like his release last year, ‘The Man I Want To Be’, was produced by Jurgen Korduletsch, arranged by Geoff Stradling, and long-time Engelbert collaborators Johnny Harris and the late Jeff Sturges. It was recorded at some of Los Angeles’ most iconic studios, most notably Capitol Studios, Hollywood and also features many of LAs finest session musicians.
‘Warmest Christmas Wishes’ is set for release on November 16. You can pre-order it here.