Charlie Daniels Band

Merry Christmas to All – 2002 (Blue Hat)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

CDs by Charlie Daniels Band

Charlie Daniels does so much good for the world - from supporting charities like Habitat for Humanity and St. Jude Children's Hospital to traveling overseas to perform for American troops - that it's hard to criticize him. But this album is bad.

It starts off nicely enough with a few seconds of pretty strings on "I'll Be Home for Christmas," but then Daniels starts crooning, and he's clearly no Bing Crosby. His rough, weathered voice is far better suited to country rock than to holiday standards. If the standards are bad, "Blue Christmas" is practically unlistenable thanks to Daniels' obnoxious oversinging. The two new Daniels-written songs are better - "God Bless the Mother" is a prosaic but inoffensive patriotic song, and "It's Bad to Have the Blues (At Christmas Time)" is a blues romp that suits Daniels well.

Overall, the production is unoriginal, the vocals range from bad to worse, and the new songs are the lackluster highlights. For diehard CDB fans only.