Friday, December 4, 2015

Stax of Seasonal Favorites

Ever so slightly getting into the holiday mood. When you have kids, sometimes you have to fake it a bit. Lots of excitement in the LTL household, especially from my 9-year-old son. In this day and age, you may find this difficult to believe, but he still believes in Santa Claus. Nearly all of his peers think they know the score. Instead of Lil' LTL going along with the pack, he actually feels sorry for them. Yesterday he said, "Don't you think it's sad they don't believe in Santa? Christmas must be so boring." So, he wrote his annual letter to the bearded one (Santa had one long before it was hip!) and closed by asking if the elves were "staying on task." Hilarious.

There is nearly nothing we do in life that can't be made better with the addition of music. My family will be putting up our Christmas tree tomorrow. Mrs. LTL had to go to California yesterday. So, instead of my usual bachelor activity of listening to Scritti Politti*, I had some free time last night to assemble a soundtrack for our impending tree trimming activities. Lots of classic Beach Boys, Spector, Ella, Rat Pack and the Motown roster mixed with indie, power pop and new wave.

One seasonal set that never seems to be in the same conversation as the biggies but really should be is the 1966 album 'In the Christmas Spirit' by Booker T. & the MG's. These are all traditional songs performed by Stax's stellar house band, and Booker T.'s organ really sings on favorites like "Winter Wonderland" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." This is the perfect record for a holiday party because you don't have to battle vocals while making awkward small talk with the spouse of someone you work with but don't really like... or, in my case, I can yell at my children about being careful with my Chicago Cubs ornaments without battling Mariah Carey's wails. Man, all I want for Christmas is to not hear that song again... and it's only Dec. 4.

Booker T & the M.G.'s - "Jingle Bells"

*Mrs. LTL will be in Ohio all next week. So, prepare yourself for something from Green Gartside.


The Swede said...

On this Earth over 55 years and never realised that Booker T & the MG's had made a Christmas album! I really enjoyed 'Jingle Bells', very groovy indeed. After our previous conversation on the subject, you might be surprised to learn that I've actually been listening to a festive album myself over the past couple of days. All being well, I'll share the details over at my place in the next week or so.
Good for your son, his letter to Santa made me smile. Long may he believe.

charity chic said...

Re your son- always better to err on the side of caution- just in case!

Brian said...

Hey Swede. Atta boy! This Yank is proud of you. Looking forward to your selection. I have been taking in Tracey Thorn's album a lot this week. I try to buy at least one new holiday album each year. This year I got the Nick Lowe/Los Straitjackets Quality Holiday Revue live album this year. It's split between holiday songs, standards and classic Lowe compositions. Probably more for die-hard Lowe fans, but that's me.

CC, Maybe that's it. Perhaps he's hedging his bets. I imagine this will be the last year, but I have been thinking that for a few years now.

kevinpat said...

When my younger son was 9 he said "If there was a real Santa he would bring me a puppy…" Well, his mom was determined to take care of that despite my doubt she could pull it off as well as my hesitation over taking on another pup, since our beloved beagle passed a few years prior. Well 14 years later Santa brought one of my best buds, a dachshund, who is barking at me while I write this. My son a few weeks after Christmas confessed he didn't believe in Santa but knew he could get a puppy with that scam. You gotta watch those 9 year olds!

As a collector of Christmas music, old and new, I can say Booker T's is an essential. I learned of it when I purchased the w0nDerfUl Atlantic Soul Christmas, which includes the classic "White Christmas" & "Merry Christmas" by Otis Redding as well as other classic numbers. Christmas & soul together is almost too much for me to handle! Ha! There's three volumes of Santa's Funk & Soul Christmas Party which compiles very rare tracks form the 60s and 70s. Very fun & classic stuff.

Get that tree up and get some soul clapping goin' on for holidaze!!

Brian said...

Right on, Kevinpat. I imagine we like many of the same Christmas songs. Otis is the man!