James Brown: “Soulful Christmas”
Never quite managed to get this up yesterday, so here it is today — a day late, but never a day out of style. It’s James Brown, after all! Huh!
Nothing really says Christmas like James Brown, wouldn’t you say? When he lays it down like he does on “Soulful Christmas,” from his 1968 Christmas album, A Soulful Christmas, you have no choice but to get merry! If James Brown says “have good cheer,” you’d better believe you’re going to have good cheer. Am I right? I said, “Am I right?!!” (Sorry, gratuitous Charlie Brown Christmas reference…)
Brown uses “Soulful Christmas” to thank his fans for supporting him, buying his records, and seeing his shows. It’s a nice gesture, of course, but it gets just a little iffy at the very end, when the song fades out with Brown singing, “See my show, see my show” — a bit of a marketing effort right at the end? Then again, Brown hardly needed to push people to see his show at that point — he was already a superstar, at the peak of his powers, so maybe it isn’t how it sounds.
All in all, Brown’s three albums worth of Christmas songs, of which “Soulful Christmas” is among the best, are great fun to listen to, as he invests them all with the same unflinching commitment that he put into his nonholiday music. When he believes in the songs that strongly, it leaves you little choice but to do the same.