Southern Soul Corner Dec 2011

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Southern Soul Corner

       With The Soul Dog 

Corner Talk: Ecko recording artists Ms Jody's and Donnie Ray's superb performances at this years Carolina Beach Music Awards was right on time. Donnie's Who's Rockin' You has been the recent #1 song here on the Smokin' Top 45. Ms. Jody's The Bop was a previous top charting tune that that dropped down to #2 last month. It was also good to see Larry Chambers again, who has been one of the key players as the Promotions and Marketing Director for the Memphis based Ecko Records since its inception in 1995. It is evident that Ecko continues to strive to reach the Beach as well as Southern Soul market with each release, which is great for both genres.

It is truly sad to note the recent passing of both Lee Shot Williams and J. Blackfoot. These two legendary artists were part of the early Soul music movement of the '60's and '70's who continued to perform and record in today's Southern Soul arena. They will certainly be missed. We will have more on their long careers in next month's edition.

We will also wait until next month to review any current CD releases in Southern Soul, while taking a break to talk about good sources for holiday Soul and Blues music. Let's look at some of the great compilations in these genres that have been released over the years.

Southern Soul and Blues Holiday Compilations






Ichiban Blues at Christmas – 4 volumes of Southern Soul and kickin’ Blues issued between 1991 and 1997 from Atlanta’s Ichiban label, 40 tunes in all, great Christmas songs by Chick Willis, Trudy Lynn, Theodis Ealey, Kip Anderson, William Bell, Jimmy Dawkins, Willie Hill, Francine Reed, Drink Small, Jerry McCain, Nappy Brown and Blues Boy Willie, just to name a few. Although these albums have been out of print for several years, they can still be found on the secondary market.


It’s Christmas, Baby -  Ecko Records actually issued this compilation  several years ago and have modified and re-issued it since  with the same title containing several newer cuts. Killer tracks abound by Ms. Jody, Barbara Carr, Rick Lawson, Donnie Ray, O.B. Buchana, Luther Lackey, Sheba Potts-Wright, Lee Shot Williams and Sweet Angel. An outstanding collection of holiday tunes!


Please Come Home for Christmas – Released in 1995 by Johnny Vincent’s  Ace label, it includes the two songs made forever famous (Please Come Home for Christmas and Merry Christmas Baby) by the late Charles Brown as well as some outstanding cuts by Willie Clayton, Robert Tillman,  Ronnie Lovejoy, Cicero Blake, Frank-O Johnson, Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and Lee Fields.  This is a hard find but a ‘must’ have for serious collectors of Christmas Soul music.


Christmas With Miss Butch Records – Southern Soul Christmas with a New Orleans flavor released in 2000 from this Mardi Gras Records subsidiary. Eleven strong tracks from Peggy Scott-Adams, Jimmy Lewis and Billy Ray Charles.


Classic Soul and R&B Holiday Compilations





Soul Christmas – The original was issued in 1968 on the Atco label with eleven tracks. Rhino picked those up in 1991 and added eleven more from the Atlantic vaults, several of which came from the Memphis Stax/Volt days of the ‘60’s. All the way from White Christmas to Back Door Santa, we’re talking classics from Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, Booker T & the M.G.’s, Joe Tex, King Curtis as well as Solomon Burke, Sweet Inspirations, Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters, Impressions, Luther Van Dross, Donnie Hathaway, Clarence Carter and Brook Benton.


Have a Merry Chess Christmas – Released in 1989 by Chess Records, this compilation contains 10 cuts of some of the finest Christmas Soul, R&B and Gospel ever produced. Artists included are the O’Jays, Moonglows, Gems, Chuck Berry, Salem Travelers, Soul Stirrers and Rotary Connection, featuring Minnie Riperton.


Rhythm and Blues Christmas -  way old school holiday classics, compiled and first issued on CD on Hollywood Records in 1988. It features 20 tracks by artists originally on the King/Federal label such as Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Amos Milburn, Lowell Fulson, Mabel Scott, Freddy King and Bill Doggett. Christmas in Heaven by Billy Ward & The Dominoes alone is worth the price if you can find it!


A Soulful Christmas – The folks at Collectables Records in Narbeth, Pennsylvania released several of these compilations over the years, including some compiled by prominent radio stations at the time. Most of the releases are songs from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s - artists such as Isaac Hayes, Staple Singers, Jackson Five, Jerry Butler, Patti LaBelle, Manhattans, Temprees, Orioles, Temptations, Emotions, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Whispers etc. You may also find a version that has some newer Soul material from Johnny Gill, Boyz II Men, Sounds of Blackness and Jeffrey Osborne.  Most these should still be available online in either new or used condition. 


More Holiday Blues Compilations





The Alligator Records Christmas Collection (1992) and Genuine Housrockin’ Christmas (2003)   – Two Christmas compilations chocked full of upbeat tracks from Chicago’s Alligator Records label. Includes originals by Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, W.C Clark, Shemekia Copeland, William Clarke, Saffire, Tinsley Ellis, Kenny Neal, Coco Montoya, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Marcia Ball, Roomful of Blues,  Carey Bell, Little Charlie & the Nightcats and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown.


King Snake Merry Christmas – Florida’s King Snake label dropped this holiday collection in 1996 with soulful bar room cuts from Floyd Miles & Gregg Allman, Ace Moreland, Tony Coleman, Dr. Hector & the Groove Injectors, Noble ‘Thin Man’ Watts and Smokehouse.


Bullseye Blues Christmas – Funky holiday Blues from Rounder Records in 1995, some noteworthy tunes by Michelle Wilson, Smokin’ Joe Koubek, Preston Shannon Band, Persuasions, Luther ‘Guitar Jr.’ Johnson and Little Jimmy King.


Blue Yule: Christmas Blues and R&B Classics – another great compilation from Rhino, this 1991 release of eighteen tracks combines smokey holiday classic Blues, both new and old. Eddie C. Campbell, Edgar Winter, Jimmy Witherspoon, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy McCracklin, Voices, Pilgrim Travelers, Detroit Junior and Canned Heat are just a few of the great artists included here.


These are only a handful of  the many soulful holiday collections out there to make your season more enjoyable. Happy Holidays!



Soul Dog’s Christmas Blues and Soul Smokin’ Top 45


  1. I Want To Be Your Santa Claus - Ronnie Lovejoy

  2. Christmas Gift - Margie Joseph

  3. I'm Coming For Christmas - Bigg Robb

  4. This Christmas I’ll Be Waiting For You - Ms Jody

  5. Gonna Have A Merry Christmas - Kip Anderson

  6. Christmas Just Ain't Christmas - O'Jays

  7. Santa Bring My Baby Back - O.B. Buchana

  8. White Christmas Blues - Huey Smith 

  9. Santa (Please Bring My Baby Home)   - Chairmen of the Board

10. White Christmas - Drifters

11. Mr. Claus Is Cheating - Bill Coday & Karen Wolfe

12. Frosty The Bluesman - Heywood Banks 

13. Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas - Staple   Singers                                                                            

14.  I'm Coming Home For Christmas - Impressions 

15. Christmas Loving - Peggy Scott-Adams

16. It's Just Not Christmas - Chuck Leavill

17. Merry Christmas, Baby -  Donnie Ray

18. Please Come Home For Christmas - Charles Brown

19. (All I Want For Christmas) Is To Lay Around And Love On You - Chick Willis

20. Stay A Little Longer Santa - Shemekia Copeland

21. Everyday Will Be Like A Holiday - William Bell

22. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love

23. Christmas Comes But Once A Year - Marva Wright

24. This Christmas – Donnie Hathaway

25. Merry Christmas My Baby - Sweet Angel

26. Love For Christmas - Gems

27. I Need A Man Down My Chimney - Barbara Carr

28. Christmas In Heaven - Billy Ward & the Dominoes

29. Double Crossed By Santa Claus - Billy 'Soul' Bonds

30. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - Impressions

31. I Need A Lover For Christmas - Sheba-Potts Wright

32. Christmas Means Love - Soul Stirrers

33. I Pray On Christmas - Solomon Burke & Blind Boys of Alabama

34.  What Do the Lonely do At Christmas - Da Brydes

35. Santa Claus Got The Blues - Bill Pinkney's Drifters

36. Hey Santa - Chesterfield Kings

37.  A Lonely Christmas - Willie Clayton

38. Santa Stole My Baby - Cicero Blake

39. Silver Bells - Wilson Pickett

40. Frosty The Snowman - Charms

41. Back Door Santa - Clarence Carter

42. Jing Jing A Ling - Honey & The Bees

43. Be There For Christmas - Ledisi

44. Presents For Christmas – Solomon Burke

45. Joy To The World - Teddy Pendergrass