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Holiday Songs: Merry Old Soul

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While I deeply love many different kinds of Christmas music, this is one form that tugs hard at the heartstrings. Soul music is just a perfect vehicle for the kind of unironic SINCERITY that I want from a good Christmas song, that makes their heartwarming messages hit home completely. Here's a few to put your mind at ease.

BIG DEE IRWIN & LITTLE EVA - I Wish You A Merry Christmas
An oldie but goodie rescued by John Waters for his collectionof Christmas favorites, a mixture of the twisted/ obscene and the sweetly innocent. This selection falls somewhere in the middle, rude but not too scandalous, just a boisterous good time.

SOLOMON BURKE - Presents for Christmas
Believe it or not, this guy was on Brett from Bad Religion's label for a while. Here, he promises to be "the biggest Santa Claus in the whole world!" and it sounds like he's keeping his word.

OTIS REDDING - Merry Christmas, Baby
Of the million versions of this song, covered by everyone from Hanson to Southern Culture On The Skids, this is by far the most moving.

SMOKEY ROBINSON – Christmas Everyday
He went and told Santa Claus he wanted you because it would be Christmas everyday. Smokey is one smooth operator, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that line has worked for him more than once.

JAMES BROWN - Soulful Christmas
"Merry Christmas/ and a happy new year/ to all my fans – have good cheer/ But if somebody in my ba-a-a-and/ plays the wrong notes under me/ that’s fifty bucks I’m taking out/ from underneath their funky Christmas tree / Ow! Merry Christmas!/ I gotcha!"

Hey, the man knew his naughty from nice.
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Photo by Soul Portrait on flickr.