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Stevie WonderOf the relatively small number of Christmas albums recorded during Motown's "Golden Decade," Someday At Christmas (1967) by Stevie Wonder is both one of the earliest and one of the least impressive. Recorded well before Wonder's celebrated emancipation from the Motown regimen - freedom that resulted in five of the best albums of the 1970's - most of Someday At Christmas is straight off the Motown assembly line. True, Motown's standards were high, but the LP is notable mainly for its surprising title track, a genuwine anti-war protest song, and "What Christmas Means To Me," a punchbowl full of pure Motown froth - both of which are included on A Motown Christmas (read more).

Note that Wonder's original Motown LP had an entirely different cover from most later reissues (both LP and CD), all of which suffered from lackluster mastering. These include the common 1986 CD reissue and a relatively rare 1990 CD reissue pairing Wonder's Christmas album with the Supremes' 1965 holiday effort (read more).

Instead, I recommended The Best Of Stevie Wonder: The Christmas Collection (2004), a much needed sonic upgrade replete with two rare 60's bonus tracks previously issued only on Motown's Christmas In The City (1993). The Christmas Collection even incorporates photos from the original LP! While parent company Universal released the disc under the mammoth, generic umbrella of their 20th Century Masters series, this edition sure beats Motown's earlier, dry-sounding, no-frills iterations. So, Stevie finally gets his propers, even if for an album of somewhat dubious accomplishment.... (Much later, Motown reissue the original vinyl album with restored cover art.)

Over 30 years later, Wonder contributed a couple of unremarkable duets to A Very Special Christmas 5 (2001), one with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees and another with undistinguished singer Kimberly Brewer (read more). Perhaps Stevie should stick to "Superstition" and leave Santa Claus alone!

Albums Albums

SongsSongs

  • One Little Christmas Tree
  • Someday At Christmas
  • What Christmas Means To Me

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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