The Edie Adams Christmas Album Is A Gift In Itself

Courtesy: Omnivore Recordings

Christmas albums are a dime a dozen.  It seems that every year, every major pop star under the sun puts out a Christmas album with his or her own interpretation of the holiday standards.  It’s gotten so bad that it makes a person want to not want to pick up any of them.  Thankfully though, a new album has been released that shines among the masses courtesy of Omnivore Recordings.  The album in question features some true classics recorded by the legendary singer, Edie Adams.  It’s simply titled, The Edie Adams Christmas Album featuring Ernie Kovacs (1952).

The Edie Adams Christmas Album features Adams putting her own truly original take on some of the most beloved holiday standards.  There’s something special about her renditions of ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town’, ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You).  The playfulness of ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ To Town’ is something that so few of today’s artists do.  She really makes it more than just a song.  She gives it a life all its own.  The same thing applies in ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ and ‘The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You).’  There is such gentility to her voice.  She didn’t just sing.  Her dynamic contrasts throughout each one add so much emotion.  Listeners can tell that Adams wasn’t just trying to do covers.  She truly wanted to make them her own.  That’s the difference between legends such as Adams and so many of today’s pop stars.  And her duets with husband Ernie Kovacs were just as enjoyable. 

The standards included in this compilation will be instant favorites both with those who grew up listening to Adams in her heyday and with their children and grandchildren.  The addition of lesser known pieces such as ‘It’s Christmas Time’, ‘I Wonder As I Wander’, and ‘Christmas in Killarney’ add even more enjoyment.  For many audiences, hearing them here might be their first time ever hearing them.  That makes this compilation that much more special.  Add in the nostalgia of hearing the static on the recordings, and it will take any audience young or old back in time.  That nostalgia will be made even greater when listeners read through the liner notes written by Adams’ son, Josh Mills. 

Audiences will enjoy reading Mills’ memories of his mom.  He shares many fond memories of growing up with his mom, telling readers of his mom’s love of the holidays.  He even includes a story of meeting acting legends Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.  He writes of Lemmon that he was “as kind, funny, and normal as everyone said he was.”  Mills explains how Lemmon actually gave him his first computer in 1984.  He also shares with audiences what few might have known in that Lemmon was quite the accomplished piano player.  Through his story of Lemmon, he goes on to explain about how Walter Matthau taught him a “mind-reading” card trick when he was just twelve years old.  There’s even a little note about Matthau’s wife being the influence for part of a very famous movie.

Stories of celebrities are just part of the joy of what Mills shares with audiences in the liner notes of the album.  He also shares a funny story of how his mother apparently couldn’t cook.  He tells of how his mother had forgotten to clean out a pan one Christmas before cooking some Canadian bacon, and the resultant effect.  It will leave audiences laughing.  It’s just one more of so much that listeners will enjoy in reading through the album’s companion booklet.  And now fans can check out those stories and the songs any time as The Edie Adams Christmas Album is available in stores and online now.  Whether being used for a Christmas party, or simply for the sake of enjoyment this holiday season, The Edie Adams Christmas Album is one Christmas album that every audience young or old should definitely have in their holiday collection.

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Home Run Showdown A “Hit” For Families

Courtesy: Image Entertainment

Home Run Showdown is a “hit” for families.  But it is in itself not a home run.  One part Bad News Bears (the 1976 original, not the most recent remake), one part Mighty Ducks, and one part Little Giants (just on a baseball field), this story mixes the standard underdog sports story with the family split plotline that’s seen in Little Giants(1994).  On the surface, the comparisons to The Bad News Bears (1976) are far too obvious.  Just as in that original baseball flick, a young ragtag group of baseball players is led by a washed up ex-minor leaguer to great heights.  Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo 2) fills the shoes of the late great Walter Matthau this time out. 

The Bad News Bears isn’t the only movie from which this movie very liberally lifts.  Just as Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neill went toe to toe in the pee-wee football movie, Little Giants (1994), so do Lillard and co-star Dean Cain (Lois & Clark:  The Adventures of Superman) here.  To their credit, the feud between Joey and Rico is very believable.  The sibling rivalry between these brothers is very real.  There are so many families out there today who still suffer great rifts because of something that happened many years ago.  And as angry as Joey gets at Rico at some points, some older audiences may just be waiting for Joey to punch out Rico.

Audiences will love to hate Rico.  And that audiences will so love to hate him shows that Cain did his job.  At the same time, watching Joey (Lillard) grow from not caring what he was doing to really caring about the whole team will make older audiences cheer for him that much more.  At the same time, his lack of drive early on will make audiences want to hit him on the head and tell him to get up just as much as the kids on his team wanted.  Just as Rico made audiences hate him, Lillard’s ability to garner an emotional response from viewers means that he did his job, too.  In the same vein, Barry Bostwick (Spin City) is just as believable as the brothers’ frustrated father.

Lillard, Cain, and Bostwick did a wonderful job in this movie.  The trio carried it on its own.  But they weren’t the only cast to make the movie worth a watch.  Supporting actor Wayne Duvall was just as despicable as Commissioner Simpson.  In Simpson, audiences see a man who was stuck in his old ways, doing everything he could to keep a girl off of a baseball team, and basically keep the Cubs down for his own personal biases.  While he wasn’t a major player in the cast, Duvall’s portrayal of Simpson added that much more enjoyment to the story, as there are sadly still people like Simpson out there, too.
Home Run Showdown may not be the most original sports movie ever written.  But it does boast a cast that makes for a lot of heart.  It makes for enough heart that it’s worth at least one watch.  Home Run Showdown is available in stores and online now on DVD and blu-ray.

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