If you are looking for that perfect musical stocking stuffer for the casual music fan in your life, there is a lot to choose from this year. From mother appropriate interpretations of the Great American songbook to some old reliable artists that always are pleasing to the ears, there is something for everyone. Here are five particular cool gift ideas.
Bette Midler – It’s the Girls
Bette Midler dials it back mostly to the fifties here with her on-point interpretations of “One Fine Day,” “Mr. Sand Man,” “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and several other top hits. “Waterfalls” is about as contemporary as she gets here, but every song is pretty much a gem, and your mom just might get up and dance.
Smokey Robinson – Smokey and Friends
Smoky still has it, and his pipes are in fine form on this duets album where he covers most all of his hits with an eclectically cool stable of artists including Elton John, Michael Buble, and James Taylor. “You Really Got a Hold on Me” surprisingly enough, works really well especially with the organ in the arrangement. The purists won’t necessarily like it since it is pretty obvious the artists were not in the same room when the recording was made, but for the rest of us it is a great reminder of the great music that Smokey has produced over the years. “Tears of a Clown with Sheryl Crow” is worth the price of admission alone.
Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga – Cheek to Cheek
This was pulled off with just enough panache and swing to make it cool. Unlike most of the old codger, young chick collaborations there seems to be some real chemistry here, and Tony still seems to be at the top of his game.
Barbra Streisand – Partners
Barbra usually comes around as often as Halley’s comet, and it is usually an event when she does grace us with her presence. The partnerships here are pretty tried and true with Michael Buble and Billy Joel joining the fray, but the real highlight here is “People” featuring Stevie Wonder. There is even a collaboration with Elvis, and it works. This is good stuff.
She & Him – Classics
Somehow the classic songbook seems to be a perfect vehicle to bring out the coolness in She and Him, Zooey Deschanel. Vintage Pop at its finest, with the Dusty Springfield classic “Stay Awhile,” and Ella and Louis inspired “Would You Like to Take a Walk” standing out as center pieces.