Judge Clark Douglas knows that the beat goes on at Christmas, too!
Classics to share with the whole family.
Hey kids, wake up! It's Christmas morning, and we've got a very special treat for you. Now close your eyes, and don't peek. You're gonna really love this. Okay, okay, look out for the furniture, we're almost there. All right, you can open your eyes now! Wow, isn't it great? Isn't this the coolest thing you've ever seen? It's Wallace "Scotty" Scott, Walter Scott, Nicolas Caldwell, and Leaveil Degree wearing purple pajamas! Yes, you get to spend Christmas morning with The Whispers! What do you mean? Of course it's a great Christmas present. They're going to sing all of your favorite holiday tunes, and you're going to sit there and like it.
It seems like every musical artist or group puts out a Christmas album or DVD at some point, so why not let The Whispers have their turn? After the aforementioned Christmas morning pajama party featuring a cheerfully funky version of "White Christmas," we move along to a few interviews with fans of the group. After four or five minutes of hearing, "The Whispers? Are they still around? I loved the Whispers when I was a kid. Heck yeah, I'll buy their Christmas DVD and/or CD," we move along to an uninterrupted set of songs, beginning with "Funky Christmas." As you might expect, the tune successfully establishes that 'tis the season for funk. Yeah! The songs are rather elaborately staged…moreso than your average stage performance, but less so than a typical music video. For instance, while everyone is in pajamas sitting around the Christmas tree for "White Christmas," the guys hang out in a bar playing cards during "Funky Christmas."
It's back to the PJs (red instead of purple this time) for the electric keyboard-dominated "This Christmas," while long-sleeved shirts and jeans and employed for a very low-key take on "The Christmas Song." Everybody hops into Santa's sleigh for the "Girl From Ipenama"-inspired take on "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (I'm serious!). This is followed by a disastrously terrible take on "My Favorite Things"—no, really, it's quite unexpectedly wretched. Ugh. By the way, when did "My Favorite Things" become a holiday song, anyway? Oh well. Time for a break. Let's chat with the guys for a minute. They marvel over the wonders of DVD technology. "I can't believe we're able to record these songs, put them on a DVD, and release it. It's just amazing." Oh, Whispers, you're so cute. They also offer some brief thoughts on just how important Christmas is.
A slightly banal yet reasonably satisfactory take on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is up next, followed by a trip back to the fake bar for a version of "Merry Christmas Baby" that aims for lusty but ends up feeling a bit precious. A bit of vague preaching about the holiday season is presented in the genial "This Time of Year" ("Christmas, alias X-Mas/God must respect us, this time of year"), while the generic "Happy Holidays" is sure to be used by Bill O'Reilly as evidence of the secular war on Christmas. At least until he hears the next song, a slightly cheesy but heartfelt worship number called "I Sing This Song for You." Halfway through the number, a full-sized gospel choir appears to add some enthusiastic backup. Hey, it's time for another interview with the guys. "This DVD is so important, because it will immortalize us in the eyes of our fans, and they will remember us forever." Everything wraps up with a medley that plays over a montage of children saying "Merry Christmas!"
Personally, I think that almost any DVD like this one comes with a well-established set of cautions. First of all, you're only going to want to watch the DVD during the holiday season, making it a bit useless the rest of the year. I mean, if you really want to watch Christmas with the Whispers in May, more power to you, but I sincerely doubt that you will feel such an urge. Second, I know I'm not the only one who finds that a whole set of familiar Christmas songs performed by the same group or artist gets old pretty fast. If I'm going to be hearing the same set of songs for the entire month of December (and these days, November and October, too), then I need a diverse group of artists delivering that set of songs. I'd have to be a pretty huge fan of The Whispers to want to hear them perform this set of tunes more than once. Third, there are usually nearly as many misses as hits on a compilation like this, and that is certainly the case here. For every entertaining and fresh cover, there's another misguided version that makes you yearn for someone else's take.
All of those predictable caveats aside, Christmas with the Whispers
delivers precisely what the title promises, and fans of the group will
undoubtedly find this to be a perfectly pleasant nostalgia-filled hour of music.
The transfer is pretty solid, with well-balanced colors and reasonably sharp
background detail. The 2.0 stereo sound is perfectly adequate. A brief making-of
featurette is the only supplement included on the disc. "Not guilty,"
the judge whispered, as he was uncertain about the soundness of his verdict.
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