Funky Christmas
Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 2:22PM
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  • First Reissue of Classic 1976 Christmas Compilation from the Cotillion Label

  • Features Hard-to-Find Recordings by Luther, the group Luther Vandross Formed Before He Went Solo

  • Also Includes Holiday-Themed Tracks from Saxmen Lou Donaldson and Willis Jackson, Legendary Soul Group The Impressions, Future Spinner John Edwards and Southern Soul Diva Margie Joseph

  • Liner Notes by Gene Sculatti

  • Added Photos 

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    Various Artists: FUNKY CHRISTMAS. CD

     Issued on Atlantic Records’ Cotillion imprint, Funky Christmas is part of a venerable recording tradition: the holiday compilation featuring performances by a variety of artists from a single label, Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift for You being the most prominent example. But Funky Christmas actually inhabits two traditions. In addition to being a themed label compilation, it’s a new-artist sampler. All six of the acts represented on it had issued their first Cotillion LPs earlier in 1976 and Funky Christmas was a way to keep those acts in the public eye. The set itself is a moving audio feast, a platter heaped high with holiday standards (eight), newly composed Christmas songs (four), ballads and uptempo cuts, spirited vocal showcases and groovalicious instrumentals. The key cuts, or the elephant in the room, are the brace of tunes from Luther Vandross, then just 25 and fronting his namesake quintet (it was signed to Cotillion as Luther), which had made its debut only weeks earlier. Due to a quirk in licensing, this collection is about the only place you can find any recordings by Luther, and their two songs are the clear highlight of the collection. But the rest of the roster is top shelf, too; future Spinner John Edwards contributes two tracks produced by Stax legend David Porter, Southern soul star Margie Joseph sings two songs produced by Motown mainstay Lamont Dozier, Hall of Fame vocal group the Impressions stretch out on the album’s two longest tracks, and soul-jazz saxmen Lou Donaldson and Willis Jackson trot out some tasty licks on two tracks each. CD debut, with notes by Gene Sculatti and added photos. Have yourself a Funky Christmas!

     Side One

    1.     LUTHER: May Christmas Bring You Happiness

    2.     JOHN EDWARDS: The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

    3.    WILLIS JACKSON: I’ll Be Home for Christmas

    4.    MARGIE JOSEPH: Christmas Gift

    5.    LOU DONALDSON: Jingle Bells

    6.    IMPRESSIONS: Silent Night

    7.    IMPRESSIONS: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

    8.    JOHN EDWARDS: White Christmas

    9.    LOU DONALDSON: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve

    10. LUTHER: At Christmas Time

    11. MARGIE JOSEPH: Feeling Like Christmas

    12. WILLIS JACKSON: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Article originally appeared on Real Gone Music (http://www.realgonemusic.com/).
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