Can’t say I’m nuts about Christmas music. That’s one thing I just never felt compelled to spend money on.
But ’tis the season and all, so let me spread some holiday cheer with a little listening party.
And I wanna keep it going in the comments section. If you have some truly funky and/or unique Christmas songs to recommend, please let me know. I’ll stream some of them on my Vox blog.
(Nothing against James Brown or Phil Spector, but I’m really interested in stuff I haven’t heard before.)
1. “Christmas on Riverside Drive” – August Darnell
You know I love me some Kid Creole & the Coconuts. But I didn’t know till a couple of months ago that August Darnell wrote a Christmas song. This track was originally released in the early ‘80s on the “ZE Christmas Record.”
2. “Santa’s Got a Big Old Bag” – The BellRays
One of my readers – blaark by name – turned me on last month to Lisa Kekaula, lead singer of a rock band called the BellRays. Then I found this cut. The BellRays came with the hard funk on this one.
(WARNING: Amazon.com has this track listed under the wrong title on its “BellRays Christmas” download page. “Santa’s Got a Big Old Bag” is the track with a 4:32 running time.)
3. “Little Christmas Tree” – Michael Jackson
Not the world’s greatest song by any stretch. But there’s something historically significant about “Little Christmas Tree.” It is (to my knowledge) the only Christmas song ever written by George Clinton! He wrote it back in the ’60s, when he was trying to make it as a songwriter for Motown.
4. “The 12 Drinks of Christmas” – Frankie Ford
This novelty tune was released a few years ago by Frankie Ford, the pride of Gretna, Louisiana. Ford made one hit record, “Sea Cruise,” and that was in 1959. He has been performing ever since.
Alcoholics should find this reworking of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” very amusing.
5. “Omumu Onye Nzoputa (Jesu Kristi)/Olu Ebube Nke Onye Nweayi” – Oliver de Coque & his Expo ’76 Ogene Sound Super of Africa
How about a Nigerian Christmas song? (Now that’s something I haven’t heard before.)
This one comes courtesy of John B. at his African music blog, Likembe. (John B. is an occasional commenter here.)
This 1983 recording – more than 18 minutes long – is by Oliver de Coque, a superstar of highlife music.
De Coque died earlier this year.
Being that he sings in the Igbo language, I can’t understand what de Coque is saying... except for the words “Jesu” and “Kristi.” But his guitar playing is superb.