Friday, December 12, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 120: Various Artists - Pottery Barn Presents Soul Christmas

Album - Pottery Barn Presents Soul Christmas
Artist - Various
Key Players - Various
Produced By - The collection is listed as being produced by "Rock River Communications"

Release Date - August 2003.

What caused me to blow off the dust? - It is the Holiday Season

Overview - I have no idea how this cd landed in our collection. I can't tell you when the last time we shopped at a Pottery Barn. I am sure it was free gift, or very inexpensive honestly, I really have no idea. The cool part is there are some decent versions of the old standards here.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - "Merry Christmas Baby" is done by Otis Redding, and many have heard the Bruce Springsteen version from "A Very Special Christmas" so you sort are used to this version. Redding is fine voice, as always for this nice change of pace. "Christmas Everyday " by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles has a great saxophone section after the verse keeping it with a nice do-wop feel. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" performed by the Jackson 5 is really a great version. The song is uptempo to begin with by Micheal hits the like "Santa" with that high falsetto of his young voice. The brothers Jackson remain a solid backing band and offer great harmonies. Keeping with the well know, strong soulful artists is "Soulful Christmas" by James Brown. I think if every Christmas song was like I might like Christmas music better. Check it out in the download section, you'll be shouting "MACEO" just like James did. "Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday" performed by William Bell is next. Its a much mellower song compared to the last two, but is a pretty melody and when you focus on the vocals it really sicks out and hits you. We pick up the pace once more with Chuck Berry's take on "Run Rudolph Run". This song you hear pretty often, so there is not a lot one can add to this. Koko Taylor does a very blues based version of "Merry, Merry Christmas", you can almost smell the smoke and whisky on her voice. Another very pretty song is in "Please Come Home For Christmas" performed by Charles Brown. The version on the cd sounds like it was mastered poorly though, and it may be a mono recording moved to stereo. Its a pretty great song, but it does not sound as good as the other tracks. Canned Heat run thru the aptly titled "Christmas Blues" with its 12 bar blues bass line, and flashy guitar fills over a simple drum, cymbal run. A Christmas song you can dance to? Look no further than "Good Time Christmas" by Lou Rawls. A gruff, soulful take with splashed of baritone sax adds a great twist to the song. The cd is packed with stellar vocalists (and musicians mind you) and we hardly bat an eye before Wilson Picketts version of "Jingle Bells" comes up. There is not a lot one can do with "Jingle Bells" but Pickett makes this his own version for sure. The album wraps up with "Christmas Ain't Christmas, New Years Ain't New Years Without the One You Love" done by The O'Jays. As expected we focus on the harmonies on this track. Lavish backing musicians and the voices blend for the perfect Christmas album closer.

FDF Overall Take - Like I said with last years Christmas entry, Christmas music is hit or miss. The good stuff is good..the bad stuff is real bad (Wonderful Christmas..yuk). Anyway, you be the judge of what works for you.

Links - If you search you can find the cd on line in new and used versions. It is out of print, but a quick ebay search found them ranging from 4 bucks all the way up to this persons $30+ version.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Jackson 5
Soulful Christmas - James Brown
Merry, Merry Christmas - Koko Taylor
Jingle Bells - Wilson Pickett

See the links section if you'd like to try to track this down to buy for your collection.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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