A Funky16Corners Christmas!
Ho Ho Ho!!! I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong....I love the classics, and I still get choked up when I hear someone like Tony Bennett work out on ‘O Holy Night’ or some such, but I am not one of those people that torture their family and co-workers with musical Christmas novelties from Thanksgiving until the day they burn the withered Christmas tree at the dump. That said, I couldn’t let the holiday arrive without a couple of quality slices of Christmas-related soul. I figured that one of the cuts ought to be fun, in a shake-yo-jingle-belled ass way, and who better to get things going than the mighty Count Sidney (and his Dukes). I’ve rapped about the Count in this space before, so I’ll spare you the history lesson and remind you that this might be the only record I’ve ever heard where they attempt to play ‘Jingle Bells’ on a ride cymbal. This model comes with a number of luxury features, including Count Sidney’s raspy voice, combo organ, twangy guitar and some cool lyrics. Listen as the Count goes on about his ‘Soul Christmas Party’ with ‘soul poppin’ music’ and how there’s ‘no Christmas like a soul Christmas’. He reps the shingaling, soul dance #3, and insists that Santa Claus got to have some soul to go around the world from Pole to Pole. The overall effect is that of a smoky, mistletoe laden go-go bar on the edge of the bayou with a slightly out of shape, tattooed stripper in a santa hat and little else. Everyone’s smiling, but it’s mostly the beer. Ho Ho Ho, indeed! The second selection comes to us from none other than the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. James laid down a buttload of Christmas recordings in the 60’s, from funky cuts like ‘Go Power at Christmas Time’ and ‘Santa Claus Go Straight To the Ghetto’, to mellow ballads like Mel Torme’s ‘The Christmas Song’. In the latter category we can surely include today’s selection, ‘It’s Christmas Time’. Never one to let people suggest that he’s anything but an old softie, ‘It’s Christmas Time’ sees Mr. Brown in a contemplative, sentimental mood. He’s missing his sweetie, and Christmas just won’t be the same. While I’ve never been partial to James Brown’s ballads – he is after all Mr. Dynamite, not Mr. Tears On My Pillow – it’s nice to hear him work it out in a mellow stylee. Unfortunately I am – at least as it stands now – unaware of any funky Chanukah sides. We celebrate both Christmas and Chanukah in our house, and since they fall on the same day this year, it’s only fair to send a shout out to our Jewish brothers and sisters, and to remember that some of our most beloved Christmas tunes were penned by Jewish composers: White Christmas – Irving Berlin The Christmas Song – Mel Torme Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Johnny Marks Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow – Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne ...all the more reason to join hands across religious lines and remember that even if you decide not to celebrate a religious holiday this month, it’s still a great time to let the folks close to you know how much you dig them, and to show the rest of the world a little love. Also keep in mind the poor folks stuck over in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'll be taking the rest of the week off for the Holidays, so have a great time, and I'll see you on Monday!