Rhythm and Blues for Christmas: A Holiday Music Treasury

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

As I wrote yesterday, I love Christmas and holiday music. Yesterday I did a piece that had a lot of my Rock and Roll era favorites, and today one about my R&B favorites.

American Christmas music has been enriched by the influence of Jazz, Blues, Gospel and what came to be known as Rhythm and Blues in the 1940.  I have always loved R & B and some of the most memorable songs about Christmas come from the African American experience and the R & B genre.

R&B as it became known was what record labels marketed music by African American artists. It became popular with White Americans as well with audiences in Europe and the musical influence was felt in the early days of Rock and Roll as Elvis Presley’s musical style incorporated many facets of this rich tradition. R&B Christmas music incorporated a good amount of the faith found in African American churches of the time as well as the reality of life including discrimination, segregation, Jim Crow, violence, poverty, brokenness and loneliness.

A couple of years ago I decided to look up some of those great songs by the great R&B artists. Now while I was familiar with many of these artists, for me their Christmas songs were new and refreshing, despite in many cases being recorded before I was born. Some of course were new versions of songs already made popular by people like Bing Crosby or other crooners. But here are some of those great songs, as well as some of the lyrics. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. The songs are in no particular order, and I do hope you enjoy them all.


 

Marvin Gaye’s “I Want to Come Home for Christmas”  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.


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”   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 days leading up to Christmas. Until tomorrow my friends…

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings, music

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