Various Artists – Soul Christmas (1968)

FrontCover1Originally issued as an Atlantic compilation back in 1968, Soul Christmas is just what is says: a collection of songs featuring R&B legends such as Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Solomon Burke, Joe Tex, Clarence Carter, William Bell, King Curtis, and Booker T. & the MG’s. But if you’re looking for a compilation of mostly traditional Christmas tunes, this is not the record to buy. Apart from nods to time-honored classics like “White Christmas” (gloriously reinterpreted by Redding), Booker T.’s perky “Jingle Bells,” and the R&B favorite “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” (featuring sax man King Curtis at his bluesy best, along with a guitar solo by Duane Allman), the songs are all tailor-made originals that fit the style of the respective artists. Thus, Carter’s “Back Door Santa” is a hilariously salacious cut; Tex gives us a preacherlike “I’ll Make Everyday Christmas (For My Woman)”; and Thomas is at her most cute and innocent with “Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas.” Redding’s version of “Merry Christmas Baby” (a hit for Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers) is an obvious standout, while Bell’s “Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday” is the only bona fide charted single (albeit back in January 1968). For added value, Rhino has included three bonus tracks, including a 1978 recording by Ray Charles of “Christmas Time.” (by David Nathan)

BackCoverTracklist:
01. Clarence Carter: Back Door Santa (Carter) 2.10
02. King Curtis: The Christmas Song (feat. Duane Allman) (Tormé/Wells) 3.11
03. Otis Redding: White Christmas (feat. Booker T & The MG´s + The Memphis Horns) (Berlin) 3.09
04. Joe Tex: I’ll Make Every Day Christmas (For My Woman) (Tex) 3.32
05. Booker T. & The MG’s: Silver Bells (Evans/Livingstone) 2.33
06. Carla Thomas: Gee Whiz, It’s Christmas (Cropper) 2.47
07. Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby (feat. Booker T & The MG´s + The Memphis Horns) (Traditional) 2.34
08. Solomon Burke: Presents For Christmas )D.Burke/S.Burke) 3.13
09. Booker T. & The MG’s: Jingle Bells (Traditional) 2.238
10. William Bell: Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday (Bell) 2.40
11. King Curtis: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (feat. Duane Allman) (Loesser) 3.45
12. Carla Thomas: All I Want For Christmas Is You (Williams) 1.45
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13. Ray Charles: Christmas Time (Shepard) 4.31
14. Booker T. & The MG’s: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Gillespie/Coots) 2.35

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AlternateFrontCoverAlternate frontcover

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