A Funky16Corners Christmas


Clarence Carter



Listen – Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa ”

Listen – George Conedy – El Nino del Tambor”

Greetings all (and Ho Ho Ho).
It’s time for the second annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
As I’ve gone over a few different times, I’ve never been a big collector of (any) holiday themed funk and soul. I may pick up a piece here and there – when it turns up – but I don’t generally seek it out. This is the main reason it may take a decade or so before you see me post a Christmas edition of Funky16Corners Radio. I just don’t have the raw material at my disposal.
That is not to say that I would ever let the time of year go by unnoticed, and this time out I have a couple of excellent funky yule logs for ye, one you may have heard, and another that you almost certainly haven’t.
The former may very well be my all time favorite funk/soul Christmas record, by one of the truly great voices of 60’s and 70’s soul. The singer, Mr. Clarence Carter, the song, ‘Back Door Santa’.
First off, I suspect that someone, somewhere in the funky blog-o-sphere will be dropping this chestnut, and I don’t care, on account of I love this record, and you should too, and much like spinach and yams, more than one serving will only serve to improve your overall well being.
That said, Clarence rips it up here, whipping every last bit of funk they had hidden at Fame studios on you (as well as jingle bells and egg nog), with all the good Santa-related double (hardly) entendres money can buy. Get this on thy-Pod post haste, so that over the weekend, when some wet blanket tries to throw ‘Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer’ (or, God forbid that thing where the dogs bark out ‘Jingle Bells’) on at the Christmas gathering, you can parry (and thrust) with this big, jangling set of Christmas balls and really get the party started.
I mean, seriously…how can your ears suck up this groovy gravy, and your butt fail to respond– in the words of the great Lee Dorsey (without whom everything you do can’t be funky) – with the make-a-shake-a-make-a-hula, or however it is you likes to shake it (but don’t break it).
By the way, if some youngster starts tugging on your scarf when this starts playing, it’s because he heard this songs very essence sampled by none other than Run DMC (It’s Christmas in Hollis Queens! Etc etc).
On the flippity flop, I bring you the result of a happy accident (referring not to the recording of the record, but rather the circumstances by which it landed in my Crate du Hammonde).
The record in question popped up a while back on the sale list of a pal of mine, who’s taste in music I hold in very high regard (howdy Agent 45…).
So, on this list I see a record with the brief (but wholly sufficient description of “funky Hammond version”), directly adjacent to a very reasonable price, which was at the end of a line that began with a Spanish song title (which I didn’t bother to translate). So, I pay my money, some time elapses and the record in question pops through the mail slot at Funky16Corners headquarters. I whipped it on the turntable, and in a few short seconds (about as long as I suspect it will take you) it became apparent that the title was in fact ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ en Espanol.
I have to say that even as a tike, when they still showed the animated special of the same title, this was far from my favorite Christmas tune, certainly not the kind of thing I thought capable of funk-a-fi-zation. Little did I know that sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s an organist named George Conedy laid down an LP of Christmas tunes for the gospel subsidiary of the Kent label, which I am assuming was the source of the music on this very 45**.

All I have to say is that George took an overly solemn carol and turned it into a slow, funky jam that sounds like it dropped out of the long lost (so long lost as to never have existed..) Santa-sploitation classic “Superfly Santa the Hard Way” aka “Hell Up in the North Pole”, in which our hero, Saint Nicky, wearing a red (of course) velvet suit, and driving a red and white Caddy brings Christmas joy to all the poor kids (and a few of the better looking women) on his route.
I’ve gone a-Googling, and as far as I can tell Mr. Conedy has vanished into the ether.
Well, wherever you be I say Huzzah! And Merry Christmas to you George!

And the same to all of you readers.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, go out and suck up some of that Christmas cheer. It’s good for the soul.
I may not post until the middle of next week (days off, visiting with the family and all that) but I promise you some excellent pre-New Years grooves.

*Though this is the blogs third Christmas, for some reason I didn’t do a holiday post in 2004

**For some strange reason the flip side of the Conedy 45 is a recording of Billie Holiday singing ‘God Bless the Child’. I get the thematic connection, just not why thelong deceased BH ended up on the b-side of a George Conedy 45.

13 Responses to “A Funky16Corners Christmas”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Been digging Back Door Santa for years. You’re right — the George Conedy is new to me and terrific. Enjoy the season, Larry.

  2. stewart Says:

    Damn. You’ve almost put me into a christmassy mood with those. I think i may have to dig out my Jimmy Smith Christmas Cookin’ LP and then some of that James Brown christmas magic.

    Crate du Hammonde, eh? Oh but i want one.

  3. Katman Says:

    I was just at a Christmas concert and the funk band played “Backdoor Santa” and it made me smile. To see it in your blog the same week made me laugh.

    Merry Christmas. Thanks for adding to my musical enjoyment in 2006.

  4. joe blogg Says:

    A backdoor Santa!?
    Oh Lordy!

  5. roy simonds Says:

    super stuff indeed, but when it comes to Christmas that Atco/Atlantic LP is hard to beat…which Im sure youve all got tucked safely away in your collections…and of course it does include two King Curtis tracks. Might be a bit MOR, but I can forgive Curtis almost anything….(with the possible exception of the Three Suns)….

  6. clismo Says:

    happy holidays!!
    i’ll just keep waiting for that Christmas edition of Funky16Corners Radio

  7. Vincent Says:

    Just dropping the obligatory line to say thank you again for keeping my Nomad good ‘n funky. I want to wish you and your family peace and blessings during the holiday season and into the New Year. I can’t wait til the next post…

  8. gotz Says:

    James is dead last night


  9. red kelly Says:


    El Nino Del Tambor, yeah you right!!!

    thanks, and Merry Happy to you and the rest of da Funky Family!!

  10. johnny soul Says:

    To Roy Simonds (poster above )

    Hello there !

    its John here from Sydney Australia an old subscriber( and even contributor once- thanks Roy ) of your “BOSS” magazine.

    When I 1st got online in late 2004 I googled BOSS/KC and your name without success. I wrote a letter( snailmail ) to your old address which came back RTS.

    I even praised you and BOSS on a KC thread on this site about 2 weeks ago ! ( which I cannot find now )

    Did I ever get to tell you how I met Cornell Dupree down here in the mid-90’s and hung out with him ? Some interesting stories to tell you.

    I got a Xmas card from Gordon Edwards this year too.

    please contact me if you like, Roy. I’d love to catch up.

    jhiles1 @optusnet.com.au

  11. Jazzsoulman Says:

    Great Work Man, keep on posting that fine stuff in 2007. Oh Lord, you can’t imagine how much I like your blog

  12. The In Crowd Says:

    Howdy – –

    Just found this post while searching around for info on George Conedy.

    A couple of minutes ago I finished posting that instrumental Kent-Gospel ‘Merry Soul Christmas’ LP of his on my ‘I’m Learning To Share’ blog. (available for download)

    ‘El Nino Del Tambor’ was NOT included on that album, but gee, I’d love to hear it.

    Any chance of a repost?

    Thanks, and PS, I’m long remiss in saying thanks for linking to my blog!

    Happy Holidaze!

  13. funky16corners Says:

    I will definitely repost the Conedy track this week.

    PS I LOVE your blog. Some of the drops in my most recent podcast were lifted from a track you posted a while back.

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