Picks and Pans Review: Christmas Guitars

updated 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/11/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Various artists

Ideal conditions to listen to this LP: quiet night, kids in bed, presents wrapped, snow falling. Featured here is the nimble work of an all-star succession of guitarists—including Adrian Belew, Larry Coryell, Al Kooper, Taj Mahal, Emily Remler, John Renbourn, Michelle Shocked and Nancy Wilson (of Heart). Most of the cuts are the usual holiday fare, but "Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light" and "Wind Through the Olives" are fresh surprises.

The National Coalition for the Homeless gets the net proceeds for each album sold. (Green Linnet; 800-468-6644)

FERRANTE AND KRIS KRINGLE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS

Don't get your hopes up. Not only is Santa Claus not a better pianist than Teicher, Ferrante's usual partner, but "Kris" is actually Ferrante, who overdubs himself on this seasonal release. Ferrante and Teicher made their last album together in 1988. Neither that nor this solo outing bodes well for their chances of making it back into the Top 40 in the 1990s.

For those who like their holiday songs performed in a by-the-numbers Muzak mode, though, the toy piano-like plinkety-plinkety "Let It Snow," "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" or "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" ought to do the trick. More discerning listeners, however, might be more satisfied with an orange in their Christmas stockings. (Bainbridge)

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