At this time, I want to bring your attention to something shameful. The album Christmas Soul Special is rare. Apparently we live in a world where people either don’t know about it or they don’t want to hear it. I really hope it’s that they don’t know about it. Ignorance isn’t a good excuse, but at least it’s an excuse. If people know about it and don’t want to hear it, there is just something wrong with the world.
For those who do not know, this is a collection of Christmas songs performed by the classic soul artists Wilson Pickett, Martha Reeves, Ben E. King, Mary Wells, Sam Moore (from Sam & Dave) and Shirley Alston (from the Shirelles). It was originally released in 1982, but it doesn’t sound anything like the 80s. It is classic 60s soul. It’s an odd Christmas album because it doesn’t sound like a Christmas album. They are all Christmas songs, but they have the punchy horn riffs, braying saxophones, groovy basslines and backbeats of 60s Rhythm & Blues.
I came across it accidentally. Back when I was working at Borders, we had special ordered something for a customer and Christmas Soul Special came in instead. I loved the cover, so rather than send it back, I bought it. It’s been a constant in my holiday rotation ever since.
It’s something that I wish I could share with people. That’s why it’s a shame that it’s so rare. It’s not on Spotify. Amazon only has a few copies, but they want almost $90 for a used CD. Your best bet, if you want to see what all this fuss is about, is YouTube. I couldn’t find the whole album there, but some of the tracks are available. Help my wish come true. Give it a listen and tell me what you think.