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Ray Stevens

Through a Different Window – 1997 (MCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Ray Stevens

If Jeff Foxworthy were a singer instead of a standup comedian, this is what his Christmas album would sound like. In "Xerox Christmas Letter" the singer gets annoyed some at families's practice of sending a form letter to everyone they've ever met, so he writes his own: "We took down the front-yard tire swing /Now that Junior's in the pen /But it looks like a happy new year /They moved him off death-row again." "The Little Drummer Boy - Next Door" is a man's rantings against the neighbor boy who got a drum set for Christmas, and "The Annual Office Party" is an hour-by-hour account of the annual Christmas disaster at the workplace.

Of course, Stevens's holiday classic "Santa Claus Is Watching You" closes the disc. As the writer of nine of the 11 hilariously clever songs, C.W. Kalb Jr. is the real mastermind here, but give Stevens credit for the delivery and the great vocal imitations. Although quite entertaining, it could easily wear thin after repeated listening.