James Brown's Funky Christmas

James Brown's Funky Christmas

by James Brown
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At his superstar peak in the 1960s and early '70s, Brown tried to appeal to several constituencies on his many LPs, and the Christmas market was not neglected. Indeed, for a while he was on a regular schedule -- this 17-track compilation includes selections from seasonal albums cut by Brown in 1966, 1968, and 1970. Good Christmas rock and soul is somewhat of an oxymoron, but if you want some, you're better off with this than most anything else. The songs usually boast the funk-driven arrangements that were typical of his prime work, and Brown's performances are satisfyingly committed. That's not to say the material itself is on par with his best classics; it isn't. In fact, it's rather variable -- "Go Power at Christmas Time" is a hot slice of 1970 James Brown funk, but some of the poppy cuts with strings are a bit weak and forgettable. All power to Brown, though, for investing the holiday season with a smidgen of social consciousness on "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto."

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