Personnel: Bobby Donaldson (guitar); Tim Gordon (flute, saxophone); Ziad Rabie (soprano saxophone); Fred Mangum, Doug Burns (trumpet); Mark Stallings (piano, Hammond b-3 organ, programming).
Recording information: Studioeast, Charlotte, NC.
Charlotte, NC's Rebirth Records was created to provide a recording platform for classic soul acts like the Impressions and Archie Bell & the Drells in their current configurations. It's an admirable undertaking, and in the case of the Impressions, who continue to be an invigorating vocal group (the current lineup includes original members Fred Cash and Sam Gooden, and Reginald Torian, who joined the group in 1972), it's well worth it. I'm Coming Home for Christmas is an absolutely delightful holiday album, and more importantly, it sounds like vintage Impressions from the group's Curtis Mayfield-led years with ABC-Paramount in the early '60s. A new version of Mayfield's gospel soul anthem "Amen" is here, along with the breathtaking title track, "I'm Coming Home (For Christmas)," which sounds for all the world like the joyful ghost of Mayfield is aboard. Add to that fine covers of the O'Jays' "Christmas Just Ain't Christmas" and Charles Brown's timeless "Please Come Home for Christmas," and this set has the feel of a classic holiday album (and believe it or not, it's the first-ever Impressions holiday album). Thanks to Rebirth Records for reminding us that the Impressions are still around and that soul is soul, regardless of how long one has been doing it or what season it is. ~ Steve Leggett