13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 1998
Not content to just sing other peoples' Christmas songs, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business wrote original songs in the 1960s and 1970s for the holiday season. Tunes like "Let's Make Christmas Mean Something this Year" showcase James' gospel roots while reveling in a weirdnes of spoken dialog, screams, and yelps that would make "the artist formerly known as" jealous. The other standout is "Soulful Christmas" where the JB backbeat is applied to the yuletide log along with JB's patented shout-outs to sax man Maceo Parker. People either love this disc or hate it. For years out of print, it was only re-issued about 2-3 years ago. Not recommended to listen to while driving, as the strangeness of the album can provoke disabling fits of laughter.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2009
A Polydor/Chronicles collection, suggesting that it's more than previously issued material with no session notes, hence, the 4 stars.
It takes some research to learn that Clyde Stubblefield plays drums on the '66 and '68 cuts, which also feature Bobby Byrd on piano; Tenor Sax genius Maceo Parker is listed on the '68 tracks.
Whatever notes we have are still interesting, in that they show the importance of Nat Jones to the James Brown musical family; the name Hank Ballard comes up twice as co-writer.
Research also reveals that *three* JB Christmas cuts remained unreleased at presing time and that the magnificent "It's Christmas Time", at that point, a 45rpm in two parts only, didn't make the starting line-up.
(It finally arrived in 2002 on a Sony set, "Forever Soul Christmas", in one full take, alongside various artists - expected on JB Singles, Vol. 6 in '09).
Another curious aspect of this Cd is that the '70 numbers still have a somewhat flat mix, as if the master tape was running too fast. That's a shame because that album should have won a Grammy, either way - just like its' predecessor, "Soulful Christmas".
I don't understand the Amazon reviewer who alluded to the, shall we say, "In Concert" James Brown, shouting, screaming, etc. There's very little of those nonverbalisms, although when they do come up, it *is* very....disconcerting. I love "Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year" - a great song and arrangement, mixed to perfection, with just enough "Churchy" echo on the lead vocal and the chorus, but those primal No, No, No(s) seem to say, ease my pain more than let's relax and reflect on the Peaceful side of life.
"Merry Christmas Baby", to me, is marginal, with James Brown apparently mimicking Charles Brown more than singing with Soul. Though, his second tribute to Charles Brown, "Please Come Home For Christmas" is exquisiste.
The Gospel-styled "Signs Of Christmas" is a 1966 album cut, where the listener feels on more familiar ground. A reach into "Papa's...Bag" can only bring a smile (and a impulse to kick back that funky living room rug).
As the Review title says, Brown's Christmas songs are consistently strong and his Christmas albums (all four, from '66, '68, '70, and '99) are frankly the only JB long-players programmed for Sunday listening with the folks. That's not a knock on his usual fare but these are musically as valuable as "Sex Machine", "The Payback", or "Mutha's Nature", or any you can name.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
Love this album. It is a nice change of pace from the other great, but, over played Christmas classics. Throw this album on once in a while. Wheeeeee!