Daily Archives: December 14, 2013

Give Love for Christmas: More of Padre Steve’s R & B Christmas Favorites


Yesterday I reposted an article from last year about my R & B Christmas favorites. As I listened to each song again I decided to look at some other songs from this genre. It is really fascinating because I am familiar with a lot of them performed in a multitude of musical genres but also because of the diversity represented in this collection.

Some of the songs are traditional carols while others are more secular sung by artists across the style, racial and religious spectrum. In the United States one thing that it is not uncommon to see people who are not Christians singing or recording what are most usually categorized as Christian Christmas carols.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s article the Rhythm and Blues genre has its roots in the heritage of the African American experience and it includes some forms of Jazz.  These songs like yesterday’s span the spectrum of R & B. Some are songs that come directly from the experience of African Americans while others are traditional carols as well as secular Christmas and holiday songs.

So here we go into the second set of my R & B Christmas favorites from some of the greats.


We’ll begin with guitarist John Lee Hooker and his classic Blues For Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuNf0kqf-HU


The Godfather of Soul, James Brown has a good number of Christmas song out. Here are a Soulful Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcQJj7d18eA and Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBW3fc15iVg


The girl group the Emotions have a haunting song that rings true to a lot of people’s experience, What do the Lonely Do at Christmas?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OBKkmXgXJU


The O’Jays “I can Hardly Wait for Christmas”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAYXXf-XyNc sums up much of how we anticipate Christmas throughout the year.


The Temptations’ tremendous vocals on this very original interpretation of Silent Night  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfgNR_aiSTg are amazing.


Now we go to two versions of Merry Christmas Baby by Otis Redding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEyV8gnC4aQ  and Ray Charles  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAPvi9Oe29A


Ray Charles and Dione Warwick performed this duet of It’s Cold Outside http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmWvR-kdnCo at the Grammy Awards but a version I like better is Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton. The only problem with this one is that we don’t actually see the two performers playing off of each other because it had to be fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZBFk-Y-4Jo


Lou Rawls rendition of Silver Bells http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll_VVOcjaFs is always a nice listen.  While Isaac Hayes wrote, produced and recorded Mistletoe and Me  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ_qbUwzyLo  in 1969.



Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul is always amazing. Here are her versions of the classic Spiritual, Go Tell it On the Mountain from which she then segues into O Christmas Tree  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-HHh-pSkiA and her rendition of O Holy Night  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbzCqZRjugc


R & B legend Patti LaBelle displays her vocals on this for the most part a cappella performance of O Holy Night   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6NeBp8YJY0


Marvin Gaye’s “I Want to Come Home for Christmas”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6rpnKZR02o is a song that those who can’t be home for Christmas, in this case that of a Vietnam Prisoner of War set in 1972. It is a song that anyone who has served in a combat zone at Christmas can understand.


No R & B Christmas would be complete without Stevie Wonder and That’s What Christmas Means to Me  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgigrz8nU7A 


But for a song that I think speaks of the human meaning of the season; something that anyone, of any faith or simply anyone who just want’s to be a good human being can understand it is The Jackson 5’s Give Love on Christmas Day”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUc20MmFeAs. I like it because love is something that any of us can give to someone else if we want.

People making lists

Hiding special gifts

Taking time to be kind to one and all

It’s that time of year

When good friends are dear

And you wish you could give more

Than just presents from a store

Why don’t you give love on Christmas day

Oh, even the man who has everything

Would be so happy if you would bring

Him love on Christmas day

No greater gift is there than love

People you don’t know

Smile and nod hello

Everywhere there’s an air of Christmas joy

It’s that once a year

When the world’s sincere

And you’d like to find a way

To show the things that words can’t say.

Why don’t you give love on Christmas day

Oh, the man on the street and the couple upstairs

Who need to know there’s someone who cares

Give love on Christmas day.

No greater gift is there than love

What the world needs is love

Yes, the world needs your love.

Why don’t you give love on Christmas day

Every little child on Santa’s knee

Has room for your love underneath his tree

Give love on Christmas day

No greater gift is there than love

What the world needs is love

Yes, the world needs your love.

Give love, oh give love on Christmas day

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry, every Susie too

Needs love every bit as much as you

Give love on Christmas day

So with that message I wish you the best in these next few days leading up to Christmas. Until tomorrow my friends…


Padre Steve+

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