SummaryThe golden era of '60s and '70s soul music boasts a great tradition for Christmas songs and, following in the footsteps of classic Christmas albums from the Motown stable and James Brown, Strut enter the festive spirit this November with the first ever Yuletide compilation on the label. IN THE CHRISTMAS GROOVE, bringing together 14 rare soul, funk and blues cuts rediscovered from Christmases past.
Featuring tracks often only ever released as obscure 45 B-sides, the compilation tracks one-off moments when the good groove met the jingle bells to devastating effect. Artists include bluesman Jimmy Reed, jamming hard on 'Christmas Present Blues' and Calypsonian Capt. Elmo McKenzie with a lilting Yuletide Caribbean ode on Barbados label Trex. UK-based session collective Zebra weigh in with a festive slice of gritty Afro-rock and kids choir Harlem Children's Chorus' paint a poignant picture of 'Black Christmas' in the ghetto. We also include some useful covers of Christmas favorites. Late, lamented New Orleans godfather Eddie Bo produces Isaac Clarke on a solid version of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' for his Seven B label and The Black on White Affair out of Seattle rock out on an amazing re-work of 'Auld Lang Syne'.
All in all, an essentially diggers' grab bag for the festive season and a refreshing alternative to the traditional Christmas fare. Early reaction from Lapland is encouraging: "Sinatra and Jim Reeves are certainly legends but the same songs each Christmas are driving me and Rudolph a bit potty, quite frankly," explains Santa Claus. "This is the sh*t I want in my sleigh!"