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Song Swarm: Light My Fire

December 30th, 2010 12 comments

The story goes that Jim Morrison hated Light My Fire, The Doors’ great breakthrough hit. Recorded in August 1966, it was released in January 1967, at the dawn of the so-called Summer of Love. If it was true that Morrison disliked it, I’d sort of concur with his judgment. In fact, he didn’t hate the song, but resented that he had only a small part in writing his band’s signature hit (most of it was written by guitarist Robby Krieger).

I don’t like The Doors much, and have more respect than affection for their version of Light My Fire. No, let me rephrase it. I dislike Jim Morrison and hate his mannered vocals on the song (as opposed to Ray Manzarek’s magnificent keyboard line). It is a great song that has been covered hundreds of times, usually to good effect. It is the mark of a fine song when it is difficult to fuck it up. And when a song is interpreted in so many different ways as Light My Fire is here, it incontrovertibly is a truly great song. I predict that the reader who will listen to all versions offered here in one go won’t get bored with it.

Of the 38 versions collated here, only one is gratingly bad: that by Train, which appeared, of all things, on a Doors tribute album (I have refrained from throwing Will Young’s chart-topping karaoke effort into the mix). I include Train’s version for the sake of curiosity, but the most curious interpretation here is that of Mae West, by then 79 years old. Clearly aiming for the gerontophile market, Mae purrs and pouts and outsexes Jim Morrision himself. The backing track, apparently by an outfit called The Hot Rockers, is quite good. I know nothing more about them, alas.

Some versions here take The Doors’ original as their template; more follow the path created by José Felicianio’s superior cover. The best of these, Minnie Riperton’s posthumously released take, sees Feliciano guesting (he turns up again later on a DVD rip of a Ricky Martin concert, when the somg morphs into Santana’s Oye Como Va)

Feliciano provided the blueprint for the pop and jazz vocalists, with Julie London’s flutey take and Shirley Bassey’s interpretation (which sounds much like a Bond theme) especially good. An early adopter was soul/jazz singer Spanky Wilson. I suspect that her version was as influential as Feliciano’s in attracting the many soul covers. Jackie Wilson, Clarence Carter, Rhetta Hughes (inspiring), Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band (surprisingly understated), Erma Franklin, Stevie Wonder (gloriously overproduced) and the Four Tops (“sizzle, sizzle, sizzle me, baby”) all recorded their covers in 1969; Al Green and Isaac Hayes did so in 1971 and ’73. A few years later Carol Douglas and Amii Stewart issued disco versions. So did Baccara, whom I hold close to my heart, but not for their horrible 1978 version which I decline to inflict upon the kind reader.

Light My Fire has lent itself to instrumental coverage. Some of it is quite excellent (Young Holt Unlimited; Booker T. and the MG’s slower interpretation; Ananda Shankar’s Indian take), some veer into easy listening territory (Edmundo Ros’ cha cha cha flavoured version; Helmut Zacharias’ bizarre violin-dominated James Last-goes-psychedelic job). The Ebony Rhythm Band in 2004 recorded a quite splendid psychedelic retro soul version. And then there is English violinist Nigel Kennedy giving it a classical twist, with the arranging help of former Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman.

Bringing the threads of these different versions together is Mike Flower Pops, the outfit that specialised in recreating the sounds of the 1960s, having been invented for that purpose by restyling Oasis’ Wonderwall, scratchy vinyl and all, as a gag on allegations of the Mancunians’ alleged plagiariasm.

It is fitting, I think, that the mix should end with two recent songs from the Latin genre – Tahta Menezes’ bossa nova take and Uruguayan singer/actress Natalia Oreiro’s moody rendition – signalling that Light My Fire is indeed Feliciano’s song. Can you spot whose version is missing?

The first Song Swarm covered By The Time I Get To Phoenix. Interestingly, five of the 23 performers on that mix return here: Erma Franklin, the Four Tops, Johnny Mathis, Isaac Hayes and, of course, José Feliciano.

TRACKLISTING
1. José Feliciano – Light My Fire
2. Spanky Wilson – Light My Fire
3. Johnny Mathis – Light My Fire
4. BJ Thomas – Light My Fire
5. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity – Light My Fire
6. Julie London – Light My Fire
7. Jackie Wilson – Light My Fire
8. Clarence Carter – Light My Fire
9. Rhetta Hughes – Light My Fire
10. The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Light My Fire
11. Erma Franklin – Light My Fire
12. Booker T. and the MG’s – Light My Fire
13. Young Holt Unlimited – Light My Fire
14. Nancy Sinatra – Light My Fire
15. Astrud Gilberto – Light My Fire
16. Stevie Wonder – Light My Fire
17. The Four Tops – Light My Fire
18. Edmundo Ros – Light My Fire
19. Ananda Shankar – Light My Fire
20. Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire
21. Larry Page Orchestra – Light My Fire
22. Al Green – Light My Fire
23. Free Design – Light My Fire
24. Helmut Zacharias – Light My Fire
25. Mae West – Light My Fire
26. Isaac Hayes – Light My Fire
27. Carol Douglas – Light My Fire
28. Amii Stewart – Light My Fire
29. Minnie Riperton feat José Feliciano – Light My Fire
30. Massive Attack – Light My Fire
31. Mike Flowers Pops – Light My Fire
32. Ricky Martin with José Feliciano & Carlos Santana – Light My Fire/Oye Como Va
33. Nigel Kennedy & Jaz Coleman – Light My Fire
34. Train – Light My Fire
35. Cibo Matto – Light My Fire
36. Ebony Rhythm Band – Light My Fire
37. Tahta Menezes – Light My Fire
38. Natalia Oreiro – Light My Fire

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Any Smooth Christmas

December 20th, 2010 6 comments

The two soul Christmas mixes focussed on soul from the 1960s and ’70s. This mix, the third for Christmas, covers mostly the era from the 1980s to the present (I think the Sweet Divines’ version of Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday is the most recent recording on this mix). One song, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, is represented twice here, but in two very different versions.

The packed file includes a front and back cover, and the mix is timed, as always to fit on a standard CD-R (plus a bonus track, which wouldn’t fit on the notional CD).

Wishing all a joyful Christmas!

TRACKLISTING
1. Graham Parker & Nona Henryx – Soul Christmas
2. Al Green – It Feels Like Christmas
3. The O’Jays – Merry Christmas Baby
4. Lou Rawls – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
5. Bobby Womack – Dear Santa Claus
6. Patti Austin – Christmas Time Is Here
7. Roberta Flack – The Christmas Song
8. The Isley Brothers – Special Gift
9. SWV – Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without You)
10. Diana Ross – This Christmas
11. The Whispers – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
12. The Temptations – White Christmas
13. Diane Schuur – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
14. Vanessa Williams – What Child Is This
15. Martha Reeves – O Holy Night
16. The Sweet Divines – Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday
17. The Stylistics – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
18. Voyce Boxing – Let There Be Peace On Earth
19. Four Tops feat Aretha Franklin – Christmas Here With You
20. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Jingle Bells
Bonus track: Luther Vandross – This Is Christmas

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More Christmas Mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1960s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Bells
Any Major Smooth Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Doop Wop Christmas
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Albums of the Year: 2010

December 16th, 2010 8 comments

A few months ago I complained that few albums released this year had grabbed me; suddenly there came an avalanche of quality albums that compensated for my disappointment in sets by some favourite artists that I had looked forward to.

I have not been able to get on with the Ben Folds and Nick Hornby collaboration, much as I am a Folds fan and as I like Hornby’s books. Joshua Radin’s album is decent enough, but it did not attract the affection I had for his debut album. Jenny Lewis’ collaboration with Jonathan Rice bored me. Even the Weepies’ album, which does make it into my top 20, will not become my favourite of theirs.

I am quite sad to leave out of my Top 20 a few albums that could have been contenders in previous years: Shelby Lynne, Josh Ritter, Patty Griffin, Plants & Animals, Krista Detor, Audrey Assad, Belle & Sebastian, Leif Vollebekk, Merle Haggard, She & Him (which I took a while to like) and Bruno Mars.

So, on to my top 20, which is rather dominated by the Americana and country thing. It comprises albums I enjoy playing; it’s not intended to be a list of the year’s best albums, nor are they the most groundbreaking or experimental releases. These albums simply just gave me joy (which is why I listen to music). The songs listed with the album appear in the compilation linked to at the end of this post.

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Lloyd Cole – Broken Record
The music mags’ reviews were respectfully lukewarm to what is a hugely appealing set. This warm and intelligent album is Lloyd’s county record, with slide guitars, banjos and harmonicas. Funny enough, it’s a song called Rhinestone that sounds least like country and most like Cole’s stuff with the Commotions (one of whom turns up in this album). Lyrically, the album is standard Cole with clever turns of phrase and endearing self-deprecations. The vocals of Joan Wasser (Joan As Policewoman) are much welcome. Homepage
Lloyd Cole – Like A Broken Record
Lloyd Cole – Oh Geneviève

Brian Wilson – Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin
Brian Wilson reports his earliest musical memory as hearing Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue (which bookends this set). It makes sense that the great American songwriter of the ’60s should record an album of music by the great American songwriter of the ’30s. The standards – They Can’t Take That Away from Me, Someone to Watch Over Me, I Got Rhythm, It Ain’t Necessarily So etc – are engagingly recreated, and even the overdone Summertime, so often violated by mannered interpretations, is bearable here. Of particular interest are the previously unrecorded Gershwin songs, completed by Wilson at the invitation of Gershwin’s estate. Wilson’s style is so distinctive that it is difficult to imagine how they might have sounded in interpretations by, say, Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra. They are nonetheless quite lovely. One of these originals, The Like In I Love You, sounds a lot like a song from Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man. Homepage
Brian Wilson – I’ve Got A Crush On You

Caitlin Rose – On The Town
Caitlin Rose is receiving massive buzz, deservedly so. The Nashville native’s debut album recalls Tift Merritt at her country-folkiest: mellow melodies and vulnerable vocals. It’s a mature album that belies Rose’s 23 years – even if some of these songs were written when Caitlin was a teenager. Homepage
Caitlin Rose – Own Side

Mavis Staples – You Are Not Alone
Mavis and her family are probably best known for soul hits such as Respect Yourself and I’ll Take You There, but their primary genre was gospel. Now 71 years old, Mavis continues to work the gospel beat, using the genre’s traditional sounds as well as new approaches. Produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy — who on tracks such as In Christ There Is No East Or West marries the Wilco sound with the gospel sensibilities which Pop Staples would have approved of with— You Are Not Alone will rightly feature high on many end-of-year lists. Homepage
Mavis Staples – In Christ There Is No East Or West

Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses – Junky Star
I know a music journalist who has stated his objection to musicians going by their civilian names if these sound like those of school teachers. My pal might not review Ryan Bingham’s album because of his name, though his interest might be peaked that it also serves as George Clooney’s character’s name in Up In The Air. Or he might listen up because Bingham has won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his song The Weary Kind, the theme song of the film Crazy Heart. Don’t expect Junky Star to be a pure country album; this is Steve Earle and  Tom Waits territory, before Waits’ voice became excruciating. One almost expects Bingham, blessed with a gruff, expressive voice himself, to likewise lose his voice by the end of this powerful album. Homepage
Ryan Bingham – Depression

Dylan LeBlanc – Paupers Fields
If the critics are right, 20-year-old Dylan LeBlanc is the new saviour of the country music heritage. The happy news is that, despite his age and name, this is no male version of Taylor Swift, whose primary relationship with country resides in marketing, nor is he likely to don a black Stetson, wifebeater and sing masculine tunes about the good ole U S of A. LeBlanc is a serious country musician, of the Gram Parsons or Townes van Zandt school (true enough, Emmylou Harris turns up to lend harmonies on one track, which also invites comparison to another much-hyped prodigy, Conner Oberst). His young age is no issue: he sounds much more mature than a lad just out of his teens. Even if he doesn’t sing from experience – if he does, then he has lived the life of a man twice his age – his delivery is credible. Homepage
Dylan LeBlanc – If Time Was For Wasting

Bill Kirchen – Word To The Wise
A veteran musician and guitar maestro who released his first solo record in 1972 and not much else before 2007’s brilliantly titled Hammer Of The Honky Tonk Gods, Kirchen has issued a fun rock & roll album with the likes of Nick Lowe, Chris O’Connell, Maria Muldaur and Elvis Costello collaborating. It’s unfair, actually, to reduce the album to rock & roll: it draws from the traditions in the melting pot that produced the genre: blues, rockabilly, boogie woogie, honky tonk. It’s an eclectic album: opener Bump Wood sounds like Jerry Lee Lewis, it is followed by a Merle Haggard ballad, which in turn is followed by a blues-rock number with Elvis Costello, and so on. His duet with Asleep At The Wheel’s O’Connell, Roger Miller’s Husbands and Wives, is particularly well executed. Homepage
Bill Kirchen (with Nick Lowe and Paul Carrack) – Shelly’s Winter Love

Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ And The Creek Don’t Rise
The reviewers’ meme with this album refers to Neil Young, Harvest era. If so, then I’m grateful that Lamontagne has a raspier voice than whiney Neil. Lamontagne’s fourth album is folk-rock, but heavily country influenced. Maybe a reference to the Byrds would be more apt. And when Lamontagne slows things down (even more), one might recall Joni Mitchell. A most captivating album. Homepage
Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs – Devil’s In The Jukebox

Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
Regular readers will be in no doubt about my abiding love for the rich repository of soul music, but I have little patience for the current crop of high-pitched auto-tuned R&B gubbins, nor for stylised retro singers like Amy Whitehouse or the frog-voiced Duffy. Even John Legend, who does understand his soul heritage, doesn’t excite me. I am, however, hugely excited by the Gnarls Barkley singer’s album, which draws from different eras of soul. On It’s OK he sounds like namesake Al on Motown steroids, Old Fashioned draws from the 1960s, Bodies recalls Bobby Womack, Cry Baby and Satisfied a nods to ’80s soul-pop. Green has a couple guests on his album, but none are likely to blind him with dental bling, brag about their wealth or threaten to bust caps in his ass. Paradiso Girls’ Lauren Bennett turns up; it’s a delicious irony that the author of the ubiquitous Don’t Cha gets a member of a Pussycat Dolls knock-off band to guest. The other guest is Earth, Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey, on a song that sounds more contemporary  than most of the material here. It’s also a funny album: when Cee Lo subtitles the title track “Licence To Kill” it seems to be a tongue-in-cheek finger at his cliché-mongering R&B contemporaries, and the Gold Digger reference in the fantastic Fuck You is inspired. Homepage
Cee Lo Green – It’s OK

Raul Malo – Sinners and Saints
The former Mavericks frontman’s sixth solo album is eclectic, to say the least. Opener Living For Today sounds like Little Feat jamming with Lynyrd Skynyrd; that’s followed by the mariachi horns and telecaster guitar dominated title track, followed by a Tex-Mex rocker, then a country song performed as if by Springsteen (Rodney Crowell’s Til I Gain Control Again),  later a Spanish ballad, and so on. Raul Malo, a multi-instrumentalist whose powerful voice is full of character, clearly enjoyed making this album. And the result is hugely agreeable. Homepage
Raul Malo – Living For Today

The Watson Twins – Talking To You Talking To Me
Chandra and Leigh Watson (who actually are twins) harmonise the hell out of catchy tracks with shots of experimentation that takes them over the alt.county boundaries of their reputation, at times sounding like Sade if she was an Indie musicians (Savin’ Me, Harpeth River). And, yes, there are songs where they sound like Rilo Kiley, whose frontwoman Jenny Lewis they backed on their fine 2006 collaboration (Savin’ You). Homepage
The Watson Twins – Devil In You

Johnny Cash – American VI:  Ain’t No Grave
Seven years after Johnny Cash died, we get another collection of his Rick Rubin-produced American series, apparently the final release. It is a fine way of going out. There’s nothing new here, but the special poignancy of knowing that Cash recorded these ten songs in the four months between the death of his beloved June in May 2003 and his own in September, with Cash acutely aware of his mortality without descending into morbidity, and to the end insisting on communicating his deep religious faith. Some songs I can live without (Aloha Oe!), and some cannot compete with the previous versions (Kristofferson’s For The Good Times). But the minimalist arrangements and intimacy of Cash’s fragile yet forceful and soulful voice wrap the songs in a warmth and appealing sense of yearning. Buy
Johnny Cash – Redemption Day

Lissie – Catch A Tiger
Lissie Mauros reminds me a lot of Neko Case, with a heavy dose of ’80s pop influence. Or maybe Stevie Nicks, in attitude and voice – In Sleep sounds like Fleetwood Mac ripping off Blondie (Atomic-era). And, seeing as I’m grappling to find comparison to female singers, there’s a hint of Nicole Atkins, if the wonderful Atkins was a folk-rock singer. Almost every song here is utterly catchy, some even exhilaratingly poppy  (Loosen The Knot, Stranger). Homepage
Lissie – Stranger

Carl Broemel – All The Birds Say
As guitarist and some-time saxophonist of My Morning Jacket, Carl Broemel was not an obvious candidate for the release of a solo album, much less such a sweet one. This, his second solo effort after 2004’s Lose What’s Left, is a perfect Sunday morning record; played while one sips the morning coffee, bites into the croissant and opens the newspaper. Think of it as a lighter version of Ron Sexsmith, an artist influenced (and highly rated) by Paul McCartney, as clearly is Broemel. Homepage
Carl Broemel – Enough

Willie Nelson – Country Music
This is a T-Bone Burnett-produced tribute to the country songs that reside in the juke box of Willie Nelson’s memory. Cover albums are a precarious beast. Some artists feel they need to re-interpret, re-invent and update the songs they profess to love. Others will give us the very best in karaoke. Nelson just damn well sings the songs, straight and without bullshit. He knows these songs and their context, and preserves them there. The sound is timeless. And some of the song choices are inspired. Homepage
Willie Nelson – Satisfied Mind

Crowded House – Intriguer
The trouble with Crowded House is that their songs are really made to be heard live. The second post-reunion album is something of a grower. The hooks that at first seem to be absent reveal themselves over time. The album was produced by Jim Scott, who also produced Wilco’s last album. It shows, even as the album is very recognisably a Crowded House effort. Homepage
Crowded House – Twice If You’re Lucky

Walt Cronin – California I Gotta Run
Already in his 50s Walt Cronin’s gravelly baritone and sound reflect the experience of life, wistfully and defiantly. “I would never count the days of my life, but I’ll always let the dawn greet my eyes,” the former medic in the Vietnam war sings in Shinin’ Through, one of several sweet love songs on this most appealing set. Homepage
Walt Cronin – Road I’m Takin’

Tift Merritt – See You On The Moon
I am bound to love an album that kicks off with a song about making a mix-tape (“with home-made covers”). Of Merritt’s three preceding studio albums, two were filled with slow-burning ballads, one was a rootsy affair. See You On The Moon has a bit of both; she is both plugging into the templates of both Harris and Ronstadt (even if she has evidently departed the world of county). I expected that her cover of Loggins & Messina’s Danny’s Song would make me wince; happily it is tender and amiable. Homepage
Tift Merritt – The Things That Everybody Does

The Weepies – Be My Thrill
In this post’s introduction I declared myself vaguely disappointed by Be My Thrill, but this is only in relation to the album’s three predecessors. Like them, Be My Thrill is very likeable. Deb Talan and Steve Tannen are happily married, have a happy family and are (no surprise twist coming up) very obviously happy (“I was made for sunny days,” Talan sings, “and I was mad for you”). The streaks of darkness from the debut have been usurped by all the colours of the rainbow. The album is relentlessly happy (with the jarring exception of Tannen’s “How Do You Get High?”) and unless one’s demeanour is governed by inexorable melancholy, the occasional burst of happiness can be richly welcome. So Be My Thrill is a bit like a double strawberry milkshake.  Homepage
The Weepies – Please Speak Well Of Me

Sahara Smith – Myth Of The Heart
T-Bone Burnett is on a golden streak. Among his protégés is Texan Sahara Smith, a former child prodigy who has been writing songs since she was 14. Blessed with a beautiful and expressive voice, Smith writes smart lyrics set to appealing melodies, some of them very memorable. Train Man sounds much like Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. Smith might have a name that conjures images of pop muppetry, but she is a very talented artist who has created an impressive debut. MySpace
Sahara Smith – Are You Lonely

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Previous Albums of the Year

Star-making

December 13th, 2010 4 comments

The two of you who wish you could have more of Any Major Dude With A Too Long Name, there is some respite: I am now part of the collective over at Star Maker Machine that blogs and posts music on a weekly theme. The SMM blog has long been a favourite (I think I found it through the now sadly defunct and much missed Setting The Woods On Fire country music blog). Readers who have sampled my blogroll might also have happened upon Cover Laydown (or came here via Boyhowdy’s fine blog).

Star Maker Machine is named after a phrase in Joni Mitchell’s 1974 song Free Man In Paris: “I’d go back there tomorrow but for the work I’ve taken on stoking the star-maker machinery behind the popular song.” So I’ll post that song and six others (look at the URL of Star Maker Machine to see why that number) that deal with the concept of stars and stardom (or in one case, the lack of necessity to be one).

Hope to see you over at Star Maker Machine.

Joni Mitchell – Free Man In Paris (1974).mp3
Kiki Dee – Star (1981).mp3
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. – You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be in My Show) (1976).mp3
Mojave 3 – Big Star Baby (2006).mp3
Roger Miller – Kansas City Star (1965).mp3
The Kinks – Starstruck (1969).mp3
Altered Images – Dead Pop Stars (1981).mp3

Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2

December 9th, 2010 14 comments

The first Christmas soul mix was very popular. Thank you to all the kind people who took the time to say nice things about it (and about my efforts here in general). Comments are always appreciated.

As I pointed out in the blurb for the first mix, I held back a lot of great stuff for the follow-up. So this one might be even better than the first compilation. You be the judge of that.

Be advised that in this batch are a couple of tracks that might not appeal to your mother: Rufus Thomas (Carla’s dad) makes little effort to disguise his punnery, missing out only on Santa coming only once a year. It may be necessary to point out that Clarence Carter’s Back Door Santa is not an invitation for yuletide anal sex (and here we welcome the lost and probably disappointed Google user); the back door of the title is just that: a door. With hinges.

Charles Brown, who appears here with Christmas In Heaven (not the Monty Python song), incidentally wrote one of the great Christmas pop songs: I’ll Be Home For Christmas. As in the first mix, the voice on the Rotary Connection’s track – here a psychedelic take on Silent Night – is that of the great Minnie Riperton. And there is a justification for the inclusion two takes of Silent Night: they are both excellent and very different from both, one another and the standard versions.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R. It also includes a really good (though long) bonus track and front/back covers.

TRACKLISTING
1. J Hines and the Boys – A Funky Christmas To You
2. Smokey Robinson – Christmas Everyday
3. Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and the Clowns – Silent Night
4. Lee Rogers – You Won’t Have To Wait Till Christmas
5. Carla Thomas – All I Want For Christmas Is You
6. Brook Benton – Soul Santa
7. Roscoe Robinson – Tis Yuletide
8. Baby Washington – White Christmas
9. Stevie Wonder – Christmastime
10. Solomon Burke – Presents For Christmas
11. Electric Jungle – Funky Funky Christmas
12. Rufus Thomas – I’ll Be Your Santa, Baby
13. Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa
14. Jimmy McGriff – Christmas With McGriff Pt1
15. The Twistin’ Kings – Xmas Twist
16. Otis Redding – Merry Christmas, Baby
17. The Soul Stirrers – Christmas Joy
18. The Persuasions – You’re All I Want for Christmas
19. Meditation Singers – Blue Christmas
20. Gene Toone – Baby Boy
21. Charles Brown – Christmas In Heaven
22. The Emotions – Black Christmas
23. Rotary Connection – Silent Night
24. Marvin Gaye – Purple Snowflakes
25. The Supremes – Silver Bells
26. The Temptations – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
27. The Funk Brothers – Winter Wonderland
Bonus track: Ohio Players – Happy Holidays

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Categories: 60s soul, 70s Soul, X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1

December 2nd, 2010 16 comments

Christmas got funky, Christmas got soul! The analytical eagle-eyed reader may have deduced, by astute observation of the post’s title, that this year’s Christmas mix is dominated by soul music, and that there will be at least one more compilation. Indeed, there will be at least a second mix of Christmas soul tracks from the heyday of the genre – the 1960s and ’70s. I have held back a few cracking numbers anyway. Still, this is a really great bunch of songs.

The Flirtations, one of the great girl-bands of the late 1960s, are unjustly forgotten. One singer appears twice on this selection: Minnie Riperton first duets with Sydney Barnes on the Rotary Connection’s Christmas Love, and later reappears as the lead singer of the girl group The Gems, whom she split from in 1965.

As always, the mix is times to fit on a standard CD-R. It also includes a front and back cover.

TRACKLISTING
1. The Flirtations – Christmas Time Is Here Again
2. Rotary Connection feat. Minnie Riperton – Christmas Love
3. The Emotions – What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas
4. The O’Jays – Christmas Ain’t Christmas (Without The One You Love)
5. William Bell – Everyday Will Be A Holiday
6. The Salem Travellers – Merry Christmas To You
7. Isaac Hayes – The Mistletoe And Me
8. The Staples Singers – Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas
9. Soul Duo – Just A Sad Christmas
10. Carla Thomas – Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas
11. Kim Weston – Wish You A Merry Christmas
12. The Supremes – Twinkle Twinkle Little Me
13. The Skyliners – You’re My Christmas Present
14. Stevie Wonder – A Warm Little Home On A Hill
15. The Soul Stirrers – Christmas Means Love
16. The Gems – Love For Christmas
17. The Jackson 5 – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
18. Al Green – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
19. Marvin Gaye – I Want To Come Home For Christmas
20. Ike & Tina Turner – Merry Christmas Baby
21. Gary Walker – Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag
22. Otis Redding – White Christmas
23. Joe Tex – I’ll Make Everyday Christmas (For My Woman)
24. Soul Searchers – Christmas In Vietnam
25. Smokey Robinson & The Temptations – The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You)
26. Booker T. & The MG’s – Jingle Bells

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More Christmas mixes
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
The Christmas Originals
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Any Major Christmas Favourites

Categories: 60s soul, 70s Soul, X-Mas Tags: