For me, this is quite simply the greatest Christmas recording of all time. Throwing all subtlety and good taste to the wind, Swedish chanteuse Shirley Clamp belts her way through this evergreen tale of famine and despair with the strident joie de vivre of Voulez Vous-era ABBA. When she sings ‘Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you’, the woman sounds genuinely elated rather than bitterly ironic. I don’t know that a single penny from this release actually went to charity.
Oh so wrong, but oh so very right.
Shirley Clamp is a genuinely famous singer in Sweden, with several hit singles and albums to her name. Widely considered one of the country’s most powerful female vocalists, her catalogue ranges from balls-out Swedish pop to tender piano ballads and standards. As I’d feel quite guilty about implying that all she does is demented cover versions of songs about starving children, here she is doing a much more respectable rendition of ‘O Holy Night’, another festive favourite of mine.