Paul McCartney’s silly, slight “Wonderful Christmastime” gets a much-needed, taut makeover. There is a dreamy opening instrumental, “The Gift of St. Cecilia. ” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” takes on a dark (but not menacing) edge with its arpeggiated bass synthesizer and far-off-thunder drum machine, an apt flipside to the regal drone-and-jangle of the original “Peace Is Here,” which builds into a satisfying rock anthem.
Hall was born into a family of preachers and sang in a Methodist choir that his mom directed. “Home” mixes live orchestration and swinging soul, as demonstrated on the Oates original “No Child Should Ever Cry on Christmas.” A cover of “Jingle Bell Rock” adds welcome stride and sass to the tame 1957 country-rock version by Bobby Helms, and there is a pleading rendition of “O Holy Night.”