Christmas, in many respects the graveyard of good music, but also a time honoured tradition for Funk, Soul, Reggae & Ska Artists to release festive singles and albums. It’s fair to say the quality is often a mixed bag, but there are a fair few treats in the selection box, here are a few for your consideration!
X Project – Walking in the air (1992)
We’ll start out with this bassy / ravey re-rub of the Aled Jones yuletide warbler from way back when:
Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa (1968)
The more famous version of this track is the Run DMC hit from 1987, Christmas In Hollis, which samples this funk stomper from 1968 (which also features in the seminal 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Jingle All The Way”, just don’t ask why the writer knows that!).
Eek A Mouse – Christmas A Come (1981)
Christmas Ska & Reggae has a pretty grand tradition, as the various Trojan Christmas Box Sets will testify. Most of the greats have taken a pass at festive tunes, The Wailers, Horace Andy, The Ethiopians, to name just 3. A brief shout out should also go to the Jamie Bostron remix of Johnny Clarke’s version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (which got a run out at the Christmas Reggae Social). However the grand master of all of these is probably Eek A Mouse showing how to do it in 1981.
James Brown – Soulful Christmas (1968)
The funk & soul festive tradition burns bright, the Phil Spector Christmas Album must warrant a mention, Ramsey Lewis and Booker T & The MG’s also contributed to the genre. But of course the Godfather Of Soul did a raft of Christmas music, perhaps most famously with Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto , but this one is a (christmas) cracker.
Run The Jewels – A Christmas F*cking Miracle (2013)
There’s also a strong tradition in hip hop, most notably right at the get go, with Christmas Rappin’ by Kurtis Blow in 1979. Other examples include Eazy-E & Ghostface Killah, but for a genuinely great and thought provoking track, RTJ are where it’s at (it is, of course, quite sweary):
Just about room for another
There were a few in the running for the bonus track, in particular popular amongst the ear bleeding fraternity DJNoNo tearing up Mariah Carey or Spor Decking The Halls, the Toasters take on Christmas Ska is also plenty of fun. However who doesn’t enjoy some lovely harmonies at this time of year, and props to Skutch for pointing us towards Bad Religion – White Christmas (2013) which has plenty of those.
Bless ups for Christmas from the Funkdub crew we’ll be back with plenty more in store for 2018.