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Funky Christmas

December, 16 2016 | City Winery

Brown, who died on December 25, 2006, recorded three Christmas-themed albums during his creative peak: 1966’s James Brown Sings Christmas Songs, 1968’s A Soulful Christmas and 1970’s Hey America It’s Christmas. The best tracks from each are collected on this fantastic set. The Godfather was re-inventing rock & roll in his own funk-revolutionary image throughout the late Sixties, so it’s no surprise that he injected some soul-power into the holly, jolly time of year. There’s bent-knee R&B balladry (“Merry Christmas Baby” and “Please Come Home for Christmas”), smokin’ groove workouts (“Go Power at Christmas Time,” “Soulful Christmas”) and shots of gritty social consciousness (“Santa Claus Goes to the Ghetto,” “Let’s Unite the Whole World at Christmas”). Like Santa himself, Mr. Dynamite has something in his bottomless gift bag for every girl and boy the world over: On the blazing title track from 1970’s Hey America It’s Christmas, he implores, “White or black, blue or green/ Even a man I’ve never seen/Let’s get together!”

— Rolling Stone

Side 1:

1. Intro/Brother Rapp/Ain’t It Funky - Jason Eskridge
2. Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto - Jason Eskridge
3. Christmas Is Love - Ruby Velle
4. I Got the Feelin’ - Ruby Velle
5. Lets Unite the World at Christmas - Rick Lolla
6. Sweet Little Baby Boy - Marshall Ruffin
7. Back Door Santa - Rob Lane
8. The Christmas Song - Jennifer Hartswick
9. Hot Pants Road - Fred Wesley
10. Doin It To Death - Fred Wesley
11. Up For the Downstroke - Fred Wesley
12. House Party - Fred Wesley
13. Kid Charlemagne - Featuring Bernard Purdie and Rick Lollar
14. Until You Come Back To Me - Featuring Bernard Purdie and Tiffany White
15. You’re All I Need To Get By - Featuring Bernard Purdie and Jennifer Hartswick

Side 2:

16. Thats What Christmas Means to Me
17. Let
18. Merry Christmas Baby
19. There Was A Time - Col. Bruce Hampton
20. Yield Not To Temptation - Col. Bruce Hampton
21. Give It Up, Turn It Loose - Tiffany White
22. Rock Me Again & Again - Tiffany White
23. Fopp - Rob Lane
24. Superbad - Rob Lane
25. Down and Out in NYC - Rick Lollar
26. Cold Sweat - Featuring Bernard Purdie and Marshall Ruffin
27. Let’s Dance - Marshall Ruffin
28. Walk On By - Marshall Ruffin
29. Mans World - Jennifer Hartswic
30. Fool For You - Jennifer Hartswick
31. You’ve Got A Friend - Jennifer Hartswick and Jason Eskridge
32. Get Up Offa That Thing - Jason Eskridge
33. This Christmas - Jason Eskridge