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Holiday Music

XGet past the usual Holiday fare -- with our hand-picked selection of seasonal grooves!

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Close matches: 2
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Mars WilliamsAyler Xmas 4 – Chicago Vs New York ... CD
Soul What/Astral Spirits, 2020. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 18.00
Mars Williams presents a great installment in this surprisingly long-running series – a really unusual mix of Christmas songs with the avant jazz inspiration of Albert Ayler – served up here in two different performances – one recorded in Chicago, the other in New York! As with the previous volumes, there's a stunning mix of sounds going on – some of the sentiment you might get in a Holiday tune, which seems to open up the more human corners of Ayler music – which includes snippets of "Spirits", "The Truth Is Marching In", "Omega", and "Change Has Come" – folded together with Christmas themes on these beautiful long improvisations! The Chicago group features Williams on saxes and toy instruments – plus Josh Berman on cornet, Jim Baker on piano and viola, Kent Kessler on bass, Brian Sandstrom on bass and guitar, and Steve Hunt on drums – and the New York group features Steve Swell on trombone, Hilliard Greene on bass, Chris Corsano on drums, Nels Cline on guitar, and Fred Lonberg Holm on cello. Titles include "The Heavenly Home Bashing Of The Bells", "The Hanukkah Xamas March Of Truth For 12 Days Of Jingling Bells With Spirits In Chicago", "Did You Hear They Found Light In Darkness Looking For Chestnuts", and "Noel Omega Change Has Come For The Three Kings Who Lit The Tiny Candles In NYC". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Mars Williams with Witches & DevilsAyler Xmas 2 ... CD
ESP/Soul What, 2018. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Finally – the world of free jazz gives us a tremendous Christmas album – Mars Williams' second installment in his Ayler Xmas series, and maybe even better than the first! The music here is fantastic – an assortment of older Holiday standards, but performed as if they were handled by the legendary avant saxophonist Albert Ayler – so that the initial melodies are expressed at points, but much of the music is overtaken with freer jazz improvisation! There's a few Ayler themes thrown into the mix – which stand in nice contrast to some of the more traditional tunes, which soon disappear once the solos take off. Three of the five tracks feature a group with Williams on saxes and toy instruments, alongside Josh Berman on cornet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Jim Baker on piano, Kent Kessler on bass, and Jeb Bishop on trombone – and two others feature an overseas quintet, with Williams alongside Thomas Berger on trumpet, Didi Kern on drums, Hermann Stangassinger on bass, and Christof Kurzmann on lloopp and a bit of voice. Titles include "Universal Indians/We Wish You A Merry Christmas", "Xmas Medley", "Carol Of The Drum/Bells/O Come Emmanuel/Joy To The World", "Love Cry/Christmas Wrapping", and "O Tannebaum/Spirits/12 Days Of Christmas". CD
 
Possible matches: 18
Possible matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Candi Cane CrewSouth Beach Christmas ... CD
Nu York Disco/Essential, 2017. New Copy ... $4.99 14.99
Christmas happens all around the globe, even in spots where the snowfall is light, and a White Christmas is unlikely to happen – and while we're not entirely sure this is the way they celebrate the holiday on the South Beach of Miami, Dio and the Candi Cane Crew try to imagine what such a celebration might sound like! The approach here is electro soul with gentle bass – mostly using familiar Christmas tunes, reworked with a mode that's almost that crossover holiday soul style from the late 80s – but with the inclusion of a few new raps by group members from time to time. Titles include versions of "Frosty The Snowman", "Jingle Bells", "Sleigh Ride", "Last Christmas", "Santa Baby", "Let It Snow", and "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer". CD

Possible matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ray CharlesSpirit Of Christmas (remastered with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/Concord, 1985. Used ... $12.99
A great holiday album from Ray Charles – recorded in the 80s, but with a sound that's pretty classic all the way through! Ray's vocals are excellent – with that raspy intimate quality that persists all through his later years – and the sweetly jazzy arrangements work perfectly with the voice to bring new life to old classics like "What Child Is This", "Little Drummer Boy", "Winter Wonderland", and "Santa Claus Is Comin To Town". There's also a few nice obscurer numbers – like the country soul "That Spirit Of Christmas", plus "All I Want For Christmas" and "Christmas In My Heart", which both feature Ray on electric piano. Also features a classic bonus track – Ray's duet with Betty Carter on "Baby It's Cold Outside". CD
(Out of print, punch through barcode.)

Possible matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Earth Wind & FireClassic Christmas Album (Holiday plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Sony, 2015. New Copy ... $8.99
Earth Wind & Fire are plenty darn spiritual most of the rest of the year, but here they bring a special sort of spirit to a great set of seasonal tunes – one that's maybe one of the best soul Christmas albums we've heard in a long time! The group have lost none of their groove over the years – and the overall vibe of the music is right up there with their classics of the late 70s – an upbeat, righteous sort of crackle that really keeps things moving throughout, and which brings lots of new energy to old Holiday favorites like "Joy To the World", "What Child Is This", "Little Drummer Boy", "Sleigh Ride", "Snow", "December", and "Jingle Bell Rock". CD features the whole album Holiday from 2014 – plus other bonus Christmas tracks that include "Gather Round" and "One World", and the tracks "Get Your Hump On This Christmas" with Cleveland Brown, "I Asked For A Miracle (God gave me you mix)" by Philip Bailey with Full Force, and "Open Your Heart" by Maurice White. CD

Possible matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Ella Fitzgerald/Ramsey Lewis/Jimmy Smith/Kenny BurrellVerve Wishes You A Swinging Christmas (Swinging Christmas/Sound Of Christmas/Christmas 64/Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas) (180 gram 4LP set) ... LP
Verve, Mid 60s. New Copy 4LP ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Four Christmas classics in one package – two from Verve, two from Chess Records! First up is the album Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You A Swinging Christmas – a wonderful Holiday album that's stayed fresh for years! Ella's got a perfect style to interpret these numbers – working with Frank DeVol and Russ Garcia in a set of lightly jazzy versions of Christmas favorites like "Sleigh Ride", "Jingle Bells", "Winter Wonderland", "White Christmas", "Frosty The Snowman", and one of the best versions of "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" ever recorded! The Sound Of Christmas album by Ramsey Lewis is a classic – and probably one of the best-selling Christmas jazz albums of all time! Ramsey and his classic trio with Redd Holt and Eldee Young serve up a tight set of grooves based around Holiday favorites like "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", "Winter Wonderland", "Here Comes Santa Claus", "The Christmas Song", and "Sleigh Ride" – and also carve out a few nice originals like "Christmas Blues" and "The Sound Of Christmas". Side one features the trio on its own, and side two features added arrangements by Riley Hampton – swirling around to expand the groove even more! Christmas 64 – also issued as Christmas Cookin – is as cookin a Christmas album as you'll ever find! Jazz organ giant Jimmy Smith works with Billy Byers to craft some sublime instrumentals that have his Hammond interpreting Christmas classics like "We Three Kings", "White Christmas", "Silent Night", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". If you know Jimmy from the time, you know that he can really make tracks like these groove nicely – and take them to places you never expected! Last up is the album Have Yourself A Soulful Little Christmas, from guitarist Kenny Burrell – on which he grooves nicely and gently over arrangements by Richard Evans, perfectly crafted in that soul jazz mode of his 60s work for Chess – not Kenny's most challenging format, to be sure, but proof that he often works better in a more structured environment than a freer one. Titles include "Away In A Manger", "My Favorite Things", "Little Drummer Boy", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "Merry Christmas Baby", and "Go Where I Send Thee". LP, Vinyl record album
(All four albums with original cover art on the jackets – in a cool slipcover too!)

Possible matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Harlem Children's ChorusChristmas Time With The Harlem Children's Chorus ... LP
Commonwealth United, Early 70s. Very Good+ ... Just Sold Out!
A pretty hip little Christmas album – one recorded by a kid's chorus, but in a style that's got plenty of soul touches! In a way, the style here is kind of a cross between the Voices Of East Harlem approach and some of the younger soul groups of the time – although applied, of course, to Christmas tunes. Arrangements are by Richard Wolfe, and there's a number of tunes here that sound like they've been lifted right from some cool 70s soul Christmas TV special. The greatest number is probably the original "Black Christmas" – which has a wonderful Motown-styled sort of approach, with really great harmonies – and other tunes include "Christmas Is For Children", "Donde Este Santa Claus", "Do You Hear What I Hear", and "Go Tell It On The Mountain". LP, Vinyl record album
(White label promo. Cover has a Demonstration stamp on back.)

Possible matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Isley BrothersI'll Be Home For Christmas (red colored vinyl) ... LP
Def Soul, 2007. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
It's records like this that will keep us loving the Isley Brothers year after year – and with such great Holiday tunes on the set, you can bet we'll be pulling this one out for many Christmases to come! Despite the slightly postured look on the front cover, the duo's sounding nicely laidback here – those warm Ronald Isley vocals sliding out just as they did back in the day – illuminating both Christmas classics and a few new tunes as well – all served up with a gently soulful groove. There's nothing too smooth, or too sleepy about this album – and the whole thing's just as great as you might hope! Titles include the exclusive tracks "I'm In Love" and "What Can I Buy You" – plus "Isley Christmas Medley", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", and "Silent Night". LP, Vinyl record album

Possible matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Gladys Knight & The PipsBless This House ... LP
Buddah, 1975. Sealed ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A relatively ambitious Christmas album from Gladys Knight & The Pips – done in a rich style that's clearly meant to be more seriously reverent of the Holiday than their usual soul hits of the time! The best numbers here are the ones that are the most laidback – letting the group drift through old favorites without the overblown style that mars a few of the other tunes. Titles include "Silent Night", "Bless This House", "Away In A Manger", "Ave Maria", "Do You Hear What I Hear", a "Gospel Medley", and a strange spoken version of "The Night Before Christmas". LP, Vinyl record album

Possible matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Patti LabelleMiss Patti's Christmas ... CD
Def Soul, 2007. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
It's Miss Patti's Christmas, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are along for the ride to make sure things come out right! But unlike in the old days, the newly-reinvented Jam/Lewis team has a great ear for subtlety here – and they help keep the album in just the right spot – unique enough to really stand out on its own, and not just be some simple rehash of Christmas favorites – but also balanced enough so that it's never too over the top or gimmicky. In a way, Patti Labelle might well be at her most mature in this setting – hitting the mellower tunes with a nice sort of sophistication – and picking up on the groovers with an equally solid feel. Titles include "Holidays Mean More To Me", "What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas", "Christmas Jam", "Do You Hear What I Hear", "Nativity", "It's Going To Be A Merry Christmas", "Every Year Every Christmas", and "Away In A Manger". CD

Possible matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
John LegendLegendary Christmas (deluxe edition) ... CD
Sony, 2019. New Copy 2CD ... $13.99
John Legend recreates the classic soul music Christmas album in more ways than one! First, he works with just the right blend of soul and seasonal touches – at a level that recalls the way that Motown transformed its own music for its famous Christmas albums back in the day! And also, Legend works with a number of songs that have gone on to become soul-specific Christmas classics – in addition to his own takes on other holiday favorites. Raphael Saadiq produced, which is a big part of the success of the set – and titles include "Purple Snowflakes", "Silver Bells", "Wrap Me Up In Your Love", "No Place Like Home", "Bring Me Love", "What Christmas Means To Me", "Please Come Home For Christmas", "Waiting For Christmas", and "Christmas Time Is Here". Special deluxe version – with four bonus tracks not on the regular version, including a duet with Kelly Clarkson on "Baby It's Cold Outside". CD

Possible matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Frank Sinatra/Phil Spector/Elvis Presley/Bing Crosby/Ella FitzgeraldChristmas Tale – Timeless Classic Albums (Jolly Christmas/Christmas Gift To You/Christmas Album/Merry Christmas/Swinging Christmas) (5CD set) ... CD
Vinylogy (UK), 1950s/Early 60s. New Copy 5CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A great set of Christmas classics – five albums, each represented with LP-styled artwork in a box of 5 CDs! First up is Jolly Christmas by Frank Sinatra – one of the greatest Christmas albums of the 20th century – a rich tapestry of sadness and longing from Ol' Blue Eyes himself! Sure, most folks think that Christmas albums are supposed to be cheery and celebratory – but Frank, coming off of his best Wee Small Hours years at Capitol, rightly chose the sadder side of Christmas – and put together an album full of songs that really get at the bluer side of the holiday. Side one of the set includes some tremendous secular songs – the kind of mid-century tunes that often had a dark undercurrent of separation and unfulfilled desire – masquerading as holiday tunes, but in Frank's hands, coming off more like smokey late night tunes of lost love and wasted life. Side two's got some more spiritual-oriented tunes – but again, done by Frank, with arrangements by Gordon Jenkins, these tunes come off with a lot less celebratory spirit than you'd expect. Titles include "The Christmas Waltz", "Mistletoe & Holly", "The Christmas Song", "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear", and "I'll Be Home For Christmas". Next is A Christmas Gift To You – Phil Spector's classic Christmas album – a swirling delight of 60s pop and soul numbers, still one of the greatest full Christmas LPs ever recorded! The whole thing is wonderful – a mix of soul, rock, and pop – all produced with that classic "wall of sound" style that made Phil Spector such an early production genius in the 60s! The music is from those magical times when boundary-busting art and craft were mixed perfectly with pop styles that anyone could instantly fall in love with – and titles include "Frosty The Snowman" by The Ronettes, "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Bob B Soxx & The Blue Jeans, "Marshmallow World" by Darlene Love, "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronnettes, "Winter Wonderland" by Darlene Love, "Santa Claus Is Comin To Town" by The Crystals, and "Silent Night" by Phil and other artists on the set! Next is Elvis Christmas Album – an early Holiday gem from Elvis Presley – a set that had RCA Records wisely rushing the young singer into the studio to cut a host of Christmas tunes – which ensured that Elvis would be spinning on the turntable for many seasons to come! Titles include "Here Comes Santa Claus", "Silent Night", "Blue Christmas", "White Christmas", and "Santa Bring My Baby Back". Next is Merry Christmas from Bing Crosby – which may well be THE Christmas album of the 20th century – a 50s issue of 40s singles cut by Der Bingle, packaged in a cover with a classic cover image that's ensured that the record stayed in print for dozens of Decembers in years to come! Given that Bing virtually owned Christmas on TV during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, the album's place in popular music is well-earned – and honestly, Bing's "aw shucks, I'm just reg'lar folks" sort of approach to these tunes really helped create a kind of common man secular side to the Holidays that forever transformed America's celebration of the season. Or maybe we're going to far with this one . . . But whatever the case, the album's a standard, and one we were certainly raised on. Titles include "Silver Bells", "Jingle Bells", "Silent Night", "White Christmas", "Adeste Fideles", "Faith Of Our Fathers", "I'll Be Home For Christmas", and "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas". Last up is Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You A Swinging Christmas – a wonderful Holiday album that's stayed fresh for years! Ella's got a perfect style to interpret these numbers – working with Frank DeVol and Russ Garcia in a set of lightly jazzy versions of Christmas favorites like "Sleigh Ride", "Jingle Bells", "Winter Wonderland", "White Christmas", "Frosty The Snowman", and one of the best versions of "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" ever recorded! CD

Possible matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Dave StrykerEight Track Christmas ... CD
Strikezone, 2019. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Guitarist Dave Stryker celebrates the Holidays with a mighty hip group – a quartet with Stefon Harris on vibes, Jared Gold on Hammond, and McClenty Hunter on drums and percussion – all of whom help Stryker to really open up a host of familiar Christmas tunes! The set is all jazz, all the way through – fresh Stryker arrangements of tunes you'll know, but which sound especially fresh here in the album's mix of guitar, organ, and vibes – coming across almost like an update of some of those soul jazz Christmas records that were issued by Prestige Records back in the 60s! Titles include "This Christmas", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", "Happy Xmas", "Soulful Frosty", "Christmas Time Is Here", "We Three Kings", and "What Child Is This". CD
(Cover has a bent and creased corner.)

Possible matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Stevie WonderBest Of Stevie Wonder Christmas Collection – 20th Century Masters ... CD
Motown, 1967. New Copy ... $4.99 14.98
An expanded version of Stevie's Someday At Christmas album – a very groovy little Christmas album, recorded by youngish Stevie, but with all the soul that he was bringing to his excellent late 60s recordings. The track list features a nice mix of chestnuts and some odder material – and titles include "Someday At Christmas", "The Day That Love Began", "The Christmas Song", "Bedtime For Toys", "What Christmas Means To Me", and "A Warm Little Home On A Hill". This version expands the original Someday At Christmas album – and also includes a few extra tracks, for a total of 14 titles in all! CD

Possible matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
VariousButch Ingram Presents Merry Christmas From Philadelphia ... CD
Society Hill, 2017. New Copy ... $4.99 14.99
Contemporary Christmas tracks from the Philly scene – all put together by modern soul maestro Butch Ingram, with backing from the whole Ingram Family! The style here is similar to some of Butch's non-holiday productions in recent years for the Society Hill label – kind of an update of the Philly soul mode of the 80s, especially that moment when the city had moved past disco and was embracing a newly sophisticated, adult approach to soul – as maybe heard in later work by Teddy Pendergrass and Phyllis Hyman! Here, Butch works with a mix of lesser-known Philly acts, and a few older ones – on titles that include "Christmas Time Is Here" by Toni Richards, "O Christmas Tree" by Wardell Piper, "O Holy Night" by Tru, "I Wish" by Butch Ingram, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Donne Tatem, "White Christmas" by Tony Strong, "What Child Is This" by Wardell Piper, and "Marry Me This Christmas" by The Legendary Bluenotes. CD

Possible matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousChristmas Gift For You From Philles Records ... LP
Philles, 1963. Very Good+ ... $99.99
Phil Spector's classic Christmas album – a swirling delight of 60s pop and soul numbers, still one of the greatest full Christmas LPs ever recorded! Geniunely cheerful and positively soaring, and really, what more can we say about the Wall Of Sound? Masterful recordings from one of those magical times when great, boundary busting art and craft was mixing perfectally with accessable pop anyone could and should love. Tracks include "Frosty The Snowman" by The Ronettes, "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Bob B Soxx & The Blue Jeans, "Marshmallow World" by Darlene Love, "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronnettes, "Winter Wonderland" by Darlene Love, "Santa Claus Is Comin To Town" by The Crystals, and "Silent Night" by Phil and the artists. LP, Vinyl record album
(Mono yellow & red label pressing. Cover has some staining along the opening and a bumped corner.)

Possible matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousIt's Christmas Time Again ... LP
Stax, Early 70s. Very Good ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A classic batch of Christmas tunes from the vaults of Stax Records! The label's legendary Memphis soul and blues artists deliver a wonderful batch of tunes that includes some original compositions that have since gone onto become Holiday soul classics, plus new renditions of older tracks, all given a sweet southern soul twist! Titles include "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin" by Mack Rice, "White Christmas" by Rance Allen Group, "What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas" by The Emotions, "It's Christmas Time Again" by The Temprees, "I'll Be Your Santa Baby" by Rufus Thomas, "Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas" by The Staple Singers, and "The Mistletoe & Me" by Isaac Hayes. LP, Vinyl record album
(80s pressing. Cover has some wear.)

Possible matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousOriginal Soul Christmas ... CD
Atco/Rhino, 1968. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Hey, it's never too early to start shopping for Christmas – especially when it's for yourself! And what better to buy than this great compilation from Atlantic, filled with soulful Christmas numbers from some of their best southern soul affiliates – including many classic Stax artists! The record's one of the best soul Christmas albums you could ever buy, and it's got many tasty numbers like "Presents For Christmas" by Solomon Burke, "Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday" by William Bell, "Jingle Bells" by Booker T & The MGs, "Merry Christmas Baby" by Otis Redding, "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas" by Carla Thomas, "Back Door Santa" by Clarence Carter, and "I'll Make Every Day Christmas" by Joe Tex. The CD includes the bonus tracks "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Carla Thomas. "Christmas Time" by Ray Charles, and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by Booker T & MGs. CD
(Out of print.)

Possible matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousSlow Jams Christmas Volume 1 ... CD
Right Stuff, 1960s/1970s/1980s. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A mellow soul Christmas all the way through – made up of tracks from the 60s, 70s, and 80s – all brought together in one very nicely selected set! Titles include "Happy Holidays" by The Whispers, "At Christmas Time" by Luther Vandross, "It's Christmas Time Again" by The Temprees, "What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas" by The Emotions, "Christmas Gift" by Margie Joseph, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by The O'Jays, "When You've Got Love It's Christmas All Year Long" by The Stylistics, "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway, and "The Christmas Song" by The Whispers. CD

Possible matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ VariousSoul Christmas ... CD
Atco, 1960s/Early 70s. Used ... $4.99
Hey, it's never too early to start shopping for Christmas – especially when it's for yourself! And what better to buy than this great compilation from Atlantic, filled with soulful Christmas numbers from some of their best southern soul affiliates – including many classic Stax artists! The record's one of the best soul Christmas albums you could ever buy, and it's got many tasty numbers like "Presents For Christmas" by Solomon Burke, "Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday" by The Sweet Inspirations, "Merry Christmas Baby" by Otis Redding, another version of "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Silver Bells" by Booker T & The MGs, "Gee Whiz, It's Christmas" by Carla Thomas, "Back Door Santa" by Clarence Carter, and "I'll Make Every Day Christmas" by Joe Tex. 20 tracks in all – including "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway, "Soul Santa" by Brook Benton, and "Christmas Gift" by Margie Joseph. CD
(Out of print.)
 
 
 



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