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Merry Funkin’ Christmas!

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Harry Weinger promised its release to us in our interview with him a few months back, and here it is: James Brown’s The Complete James Brown Christmas is the world-premiere release of all three of JB’s holiday LPs on CD, all on one package, from Hip-o Select.

James Brown loved Christmas so much, he recorded three Yuletide albums in four years (not nearly a surprise given The Hardest Working Man in Show Business’ lightning-fast album output at the time). Some of the tracks from these albums were holiday standards played to perfection by The Famous Flames (“Please Come Home for Christmas,” the immortal “Christmas Song”) – but most of them were in fact the usual mind-bending funk offerings from JB and The Flames – which at this point boasted the likes of Maceo Parker, Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, Clyde “Funky Drummer” Stubblefield and the relatively new trombonist Fred Wesley, who’d lead The J.B.’s, the ’70s incarnation of the band – with a unique holiday twist. Tunes like “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto,” “Let’s Unite the Whole World at Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Definitely Here to Stay” are classic, inimitable Brown, celebrating the season and its values of charity, respect and fun with a dash of activism. (It’s that spirit that put “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” a Top 10 hit from earlier in the year, on the Soulful Christmas LP.)

There have been quite a few J.B. Christmas compilations on the market before. Rhino, back when they were an indie label, did Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag (Rhino 70194) in 1988, which sort of set the template for future compilations of the material (including the most recent one, an entry in Universal’s 20th Century Masters series from 2003). But this new collection is the CD debut for quite a bit of this material, making it quite the gift for catalogue enthusiasts. The set is rounded out with a clutch of non-LP mixes and versions, which had previously appeared on Volumes 5 and 7 of Select’s ongoing J.B. singles series.

Kick-off your holiday celebration early by pre-ordering this set here, and hit the jump for the full scoop on the tracks!

James Brown, The Complete James Brown Christmas (Hip-o Select/Polydor, 2010)

Disc 1: Christmas Songs and Soulful Christmas

  1. Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year
  2. Sweet Little Baby Boy (Parts 1 & 2)
  3. Merry Christmas, I Love You
  4. Signs of Christmas
  5. The Christmas Song (Version 2)
  6. Merry Christmas Baby
  7. The Christmas Song (Version 1)
  8. Please Come Home for Christmas
  9. This is My Lonely Christmas (Part 1)
  10. This is My Lonely Christmas (Part 2)
  11. Christmas in Heaven
  12. Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto
  13. Santa Claus, Santa Claus
  14. Believers Shall Enjoy (Non Believers Shall Suffer)
  15. Soulful Christmas
  16. Tit for Tat (Ain’t No Taking Back)
  17. Christmas is Coming
  18. Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud (Parts 1 & 2)
  19. In the Middle
  20. Let’s Unite the Whole World at Christmas
  21. You Know It
  22. Santa Claus Gave Me a Brand New Start

Disc 2: Hey America! and Single Masters

  1. Hey America
  2. A Lonely Little Boy Around One Little Christmas Toy
  3. Go Power at Christmas Time
  4. Christmas is Love
  5. Santa Claus is Definitely Here to Stay
  6. My Rapp
  7. I’m Your Christmas Friend, Don’t Be Hungry
  8. Merry Christmas My Baby and a Very, Very Happy New Year
  9. It’s Christmas Time (Part 1)
  10. It’s Christmas Time (Part 2)
  11. You Know It (Single Version)
  12. Believers Shall Enjoy (Non Believers Shall Suffer) (Single Version)
  13. Hey America (Sing-Along Version)
  14. Santa Claus is Definitely Here to Stay (Single Version)
  15. Santa Claus is Definitely Here to Stay (Sing-Along Version)

Disc 1, Tracks 1-11 from James Brown and His Famous Flames Sing Christmas Songs – King 1010, 1966
Disc 1, Tracks 12-22 from A Soulful Christmas – King 1040, 1968
Disc 2, Tracks 1-8 from Hey America! – King 1124, 1970
Disc 2, Tracks 9-10 released as King single 6277, 1969
Disc 2, Track 11 from King single 6203, 1968
Disc 2, Track 12 from King single 6204, 1968
Disc 2, Track 13 from King single 6339, 1970
Disc 2, Tracks 14-15 released as King single 6340, 1970

Written by Mike Duquette

September 14, 2010 at 09:55

One Response

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  1. What about 1998’s The Merry Christmas Album?

    Robert Wilson (@RobLives4Love)

    September 19, 2011 at 22:29

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