The Staple Singers – 1962 – The 25th Day of December

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Recorded in 1962 but then out of print for decades, this is a forgotten classic: Christmas-themed gospel sung by three amazing sisters (the mighty Mavis Staples was only 23), backed with just organ, drums, and “Pops,” their father, playing funky electric guitar.

The Staples’ first pop hits were still years away, but they already had talent and passion to spare. Regardless of your religious beliefs, when you hear “The Savior Is Born“, you’ll want to get up and testify.

This set is the honest to goodness real deal, an undeniably great Christmas album that not only includes simple but striking arrangements of several holiday classics but also plays and feels very much like an album of tracks that really belong together, and it builds as it goes into a striking and powerful listen. Recorded in 1962 at Universal Studios in Chicago, the album features the classic Staple Singers lineup of Pops, Mavis, Yvonne, and Pervis Staples on vocals, with Pops doubling on his trademark reverb-drenched guitar alongside Maceo Woods on organ and Al Duncan on drums.

The arrangements are simple and natural, leaving plenty of room for the vocals, and versions here of “The Last Month of the Year“, “Joy to the World” and Thomas Dorsey’s “The Savior Is Born” are nothing short of an easy, natural perfection. Pops’ spooky guitar work gives extra atmosphere to the lightly funky “No Room at the Inn” and the gorgeous rendition of “Silent Night” that ends the album. 

The 25th Day of December is a wonderful outing, and a classic holiday album.

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