The Original Soul Christmas
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It can’t get much classier than toasting the holidays with soul music. The elegant sleigh bells and brass arrangements compliment each other almost as perfectly as presents and loved ones.
Bring SOUL CHRISTMAS to your holiday gatherings, and you’ll be sure to please. Booker T & The MGs’ jumping versions of favorites like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “Jingle Bells” bring back the childlike joy of the holiday season. To hear Otis Redding and Ray Charles wrap themselves around “White Christmas” and “Christmas Time” makes it only better.
SOUL CHRISTMAS is the hippest, most soulful Christmas album on the market. These timeless soul renditions of holiday classics will please even after the last snowfall.
1. Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa 2:08
2. King Curtis – The Christmas Song 2:55
3. Otis Redding – White Christmas 3:06
4. Joe Tex – I’ll Make Everyday Christmas (For My Woman) 3:04
5. Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Silver Bells 2:28
6. Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas 2:40
7. Otis Redding – Merry Christmas Baby 2:30
8. Solomon Burke – Presents For Christmas 2:40
9. Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Jingle Bells 2:32
10. William Bell – Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday 2:35
11. King Curtis – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve 3:20
12. Carla Thomas – All I Want For Christmas Is You 1.44
13. Ray Charles – Christmas Time 4.31
14. Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 2.34
Far too many times, artists of much grit and verve – including soul men as prominent as Jackie Wilson and Al Green – cut fairly tepid, even lame Christmas albums. Not so here. In 1968, Atco Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic) culled Christmas tracks – some previously released, some newly recorded – from their best and brightest stars, including ones signed to fabled Stax Records. They called this instant classic SOUL CHRISTMAS, and whoa, baby, this is the real thing! Every single cut is a bona fide masterpiece.
The magic of 60’s soul music – the gospel intensity, the ribald humor, the sensual conviction- comes to bear with its most powerful alchemy on Soul Christmas. Nowhere is this as apparent as on the amazing opener, Clarence Carter’s “Back Door Santa,” a wicked festival of double entendre. Carter gets the show started with a bang in every sense of the word. Clarence ain’t like old St. Nick, you see, ’cause he don’t come but once a year. And then he laughs – “Ho! Ho! Ho!” – in a manner so wicked and lubricious it removes all hint of pretense.
All in all, Soul Christmas is a classic of both genres – soul and Christmas – one that belongs in the collection of anyone who claims to know anything about either. The most amazing aspect of Soul Christmas is that these songs are among the very best that these artists – all giants of soul – ever recorded. Take, for instance, the two tracks Otis Redding contributes. This humble man from Macon radically reinterprets two hoary favorites, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and Charles Brown’s “Merry Christmas, Baby,” with able assistance from Booker T. & The MG’s. The former song is transformed from a warm Christmas wish into an abject howl of loneliness. The latter, meanwhile, is dramatically rearranged from Brown’s sexy ballad into Otis’ irresistible stomp – the arrangement Bruce Springsteen copped on A Very Special Christmas nearly 20 years later.
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