Bob Dylan Christmas in the Heart

Bob DylanChristmas in the Heart
For all the praise heaped upon Bob Dylan, he's seldom given credit for his sense of humour, an attribute most amply exhibited throughout his latest and most bizarre release in recent memory. Beyond the obvious oddness of a devout Jew recording 15 Christmas songs, the choices Dylan makes as the producer of this holiday-themed record (whose proceeds go to charity) are certainly bemusing. When he's earnest, he's full-on about it on versions of "Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "O' Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)." But the most effective songs are done for fun, capturing the child-like wonder of the season. With charming, angelic back-up vocalists and a variety of instrumentalists augmenting his crack live band, Dylan clearly enjoyed arranging amusing takes on "Here Comes Santa Claus," "Winter Wonderland," "Christmas Island" and album highlight "Must Be Santa," which can only be described as a hoot. In great command of his weathered voice, Dylan crafts a present for fans with Christmas in the Heart. (Columbia)