The Magic of Christmas
Miss Doroth Ashby
“Listen – Soulful Strings – Jingle Bells”
“Listen – Soulful Strings – Merry Christmas Baby”
Greetings all .
It’s time for the third annual* Funky16Corners Christmas post.
Christmas is nearing rapidly, and I couldn’t very well let it go by without dropping some soulful goodness of a holiday variety.
If you’re a regular reader of the blog you’re familiar with my ongoing trials and tribulations (some would say too much so, but that’s just the way things are around here).
Two thousand and ought seven has been a real yin yang of a year, with the duality of trouble and good fortune engaged in a perpetual tug of war. All thing considered, however, I’ve got it pretty good.
On the personal side I have a wonderful wife and two incredible children. I took a long time to get started on the family thing, but it’s worth every bit of time and energy one might invest in it. That, in the end, is what it’s all about.
On the creative side things have been banging. I’ve had the opportunity to work on the Asbury Park 45 Sessions alongside a great bunch of people (shout outs to Connie T Empress and Bob Shannon, Jack the Ripper, DJ Prime, MFasis, DJ Bluewater, Vincent the Soul Chef, Devil Dick and all the other guest selectors that have spun in the past year), with special thanks going out to my man DJ Prestige, who started it all and has been a good friend and an inspiration. His blog – Flea Market Funk – has grown into one of the best funk and soul blogs out there and if you haven’t checked it out, you ought to do so post haste. I’ll be joining him tomorrow night (12/21) at the World Famous Asbury Lanes for a new night, the 4th and Kingsley Soul Club, which with the addition of live bands (this time out it’s the mighty Budos Band, straight outta Shaolin!) to the mix should be a gas.
Keep in mind that the 4th and Kingsley Soul Club DJ sets will also be broadcast live on the interwebs over at JamNow, so if you can’t join us in person, you can dig the sounds at home (starting just after 8PM).
Things here at Funky16Corners – as well as over at Iron Leg, the blog I started this summer – have never been better. I couldn’t ask for a better creative outlet, and special thanks go out to all of you that stop by here on the reg and engage in the conversation. I couldn’t do it without you.
As I’ve stated repeatedly in the past, I’ve never been much of a holiday music collector. However, once in a while a personal obsession of mine also happens to have a Christmas record. In the case of Richard Evans and the Soulful Strings, their 1968 LP ‘The Magic of Christmas’ is a real gem.
The first tune I selected was the obvious choice (at least for me) because I can’t think of another version of ‘Jingle Bells’ that opens up with an honest to goodness drum break. I’m not sure who’s laying it down here (though it sounds like the same drummer that Evans used on Marlena Shaw’s ‘California Soul’, which I’ll be blogging in the next few weeks).
The second selection is a lush, sublime reading of Charles Brown’s classic ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ which features the brilliant Dorothy Ashby on harp. If you aren’t familiar with Ashby – I included her ‘Soul Vibrations’ on my collab with DJ Prestige ‘Beat Combination Pt2’ (check out the Flea Market Funk Mixes page)– she was one of the few harpists who could actually play jazz on the instrument, and the three albums she recorded for Cadet between 1968 and 1970 (in collaboration with Evans) are brilliant.
If your nerves are frayed (like mine) and the consumerist madness of the holiday season has you down, give this version of ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ a listen and all will (at least for a few minutes) be well.
I’ll be taking the next week off to enjoy the holiday with my family and do a little visiting. I will most definitely be back with something for New Years Eve, so hang tight, enjoy your Christmas and I’ll see you all soon.
*Though this is the blogs fouth Christmas, for some reason I didn’t do a holiday post in 2004