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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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 

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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…

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Look at Christmas Rhythm and Blues

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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 American 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 faith found in Black Churches of the time as well as the reality of life including poverty, brokenness and loneliness.

Rather than listening to political commentary, news or sports lately I have been spending a lot of time this year listening to a wide variety of Christmas music. For me it was a time of rediscovery of the variety of Christmas music that is part of our life including that of the legendary 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. I know I have heard almost all of these songs but to hear so many of them was a joy for me. Some caused me to laugh even as others brought tears to my eyes.

So enjoy some of the great Christmas songs recorded by the legends of Blues, Jazz and R&B.

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Fats Domino Christmas is a Special Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTgBZfA6LQE

Christmas time
Everybody sings hopeful of joy
Ding-a-ling bell rings
Christmas day will soon be here
Thou’ get come but once a year
Christmas is a special day
Don’t forget to go to church and pray
Santaday we’re never ‘lone
That’s the day our saviour is born
Yes one day when we will lost
Yes he died upon a cross
Yes he died for one and all
So our soul wouldn’t be lost

Yes he died for our sins
The 3rd day he rose again
What a man, oh what a friend
Let all his life for our sins
Jesus did on Calvary at the age of 33
Yes he died for our sins
The 3rd day he rose up again
What a man, oh what a friend
Let all his life for our sins
Jesus did on Calvary at the age of 33
Christmas day is finally here
Don’t get come but once a year
Christmas is a special day
Don’t forget to go to church an pray
Don’t forget to go to church an pray
Don’t forget to go to church an pray

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Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOMmSbxB_Sg

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Charles Brown, Please Come Home for Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itdNoGtPQ3I

Bells will be ringing the glad glad news.

Oh, what a Christmas to have the blues.
My baby’s gone. I have no friends
To wish me greetings once again.
Choirs will be singing Silent Night.
Christmas carols by candlelight.
Please come home for Christmas.
Please come home for Christmas.
If not for Christmas, by New Year’s Night.

Friends and relations send salutations
Sure as the stars shine above,
Because it’s Christmastime, my dear.
The time of year to be with the one you love.

Dear, won’t you tell me you’ll never go wrong.
Christmas and New Year’s will find you home.
There’ll be no more sorrow, no grief and no pain,
‘Cause I’ll be happy, happy once again.

Mmmmm, no more sorrow, no grief and no pain,
‘Cause I’ll be happy Christmas once again.

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Lionel Hampton Boogie Woogie Santa Claus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQlJSgqzXzY

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Booker T and the MGs  Merry Christmas Baby http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAuVbtCYChs

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Etta James This Time of Year, When Christmas is Near http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKyuaTun5R8

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The O-Jays Christmas Just Ain’t Christmas and New Years Just Ain’t New Years Without the One You Love http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xttf75_o-jays-christmas-just-ain-t-christmas-new-year-s-just-ain-t-new-year-s-without-the-one-you-love-1973_music

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The Platters (Paul Roby) Christmas Time http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aci25FzNiIQ

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The Drifters White Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgGcrvApljY

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Ella Fitzgerald The Christmas Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGtiLouJWuU

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Pearl Bailey 5 Pound Box of Money http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIflovCenXA and It’s Cold Outside http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeGXHKzdZwg

Hey Santa Claus, You want to make me happy this year?

Listen to me, honey, Give Pearl something that would be of some use to me, Like a five pound box of money

Now there’s a little gift, That’s loaded with, Lots of sentiment

See, when I get blue, Santa, I’m gonna think of you

But at the same time have a little change to pay my rent

Now, money isn’t everything, There’s no two ways about it

But while we’re here, Santa dear, It’s much better with it than without it

So really, I could be real good, And not do nothin’ funny, If you do like I ask you

Stop by right on Christmas night, And try me, try me, try me on that money

Just try me, honey, Santa, can you hear me?

Have you listened to everything I’ve been asking you about?

Listen honey, Santa dear,, The New Year would be so bright and sunny

Just bring me that simple thing that I’ve been speaking to you about

And bring me a five pound box of money, That’s all, that’s all

It would be so heavenly, And help me meet both ends, yes indeed

But old Pearl been needin’ bad, A five pound box of tens, Really, how much could that weigh?

I don’t want the whole money tree, What good is that big thing to me?

You keep the branches, the trunk, and the roots, ‘Cause all I want is just a little bit of the fruit

So if you wanna be sure I’ll be yours,Little old honey, honey bunny

You can start me off on Christmas night

With a five pound – no, I better increase that, ten pounds

No, I better beg big while I’m beggin’

‘Cause you know, I might not catch you next year

‘Cause sometimes people go out and you don’t see them no more

So bring the money, Santa! Do you hear me?

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Louis Armstrong Christmas in New Orleans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVFEadOKBYE

Magnolia trees, At night, Sparkling bright

Fields of cotton, Look Wintery white

When it’s Christmas time, In New Orleans

A barefoot choir, In prayer, Fills the air

Mississippi folks, Are gathering there

When it’s, Christmas time, In New Orleans

You’ll see, A dixieland Santa Claus

Leading the band, To a good old Creole beat

And golly what a spirit, You can only hear it

Down on Basin Street

Your cares will disappear, When you hear

Hallelujah, St. Nicholas is here

When it’s Christmas time, In New Orleans

Oh, yeah, baby, You’ll see

A dixieland Santa Claus, Leading the band

To a good old Creole beat, And golly what a spirit

You can only hear it, Down on Basin Street

Your cares will disappear, When you hear

Hallelujah, Old St. Nicholas is here

When it’s Christmas time, In New Orleans

When it’s, Christmas time in, In New Orleans

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Ray Charles The Spirit of Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWmgTXuNoRY

I was sittin’ by the fire side

Taking a walk through the snow

Listening to a children’s choir

Singing songs about Jesus

The blessed way that he came to us

Why can’t it remain all through the year…

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Stevie Wonder Someday at Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ1-duv_zNk

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Count Basie Orchestra Good Morning Blues  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhFFXHr8iO0

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John Lee Hooker Blues for Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIOcxEsX2pE

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The Temptations Silent Night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFc7STuQF0U

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Nat King Cole The Christmas Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__kQ1PCP6B0

So have a very bluesy Christmas.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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