“Someday at Christmas,” Stevie Wonder, 1967, from “A Motown Christmas,” 1973. That tremendous compilation, one of the first Christmas records we bought back in the late ’70s, is out of print but is available digitally.
This is the title track from Wonder’s 1967 Christmas record. A Motown original written by Ron Miller and Bryan Wells, it addresses the social concerns of that time — and of our time — war, poverty, hunger, civil rights, injustice.
“Someday at Christmas, man will not fail Hate will be gone and love will prevail”
It’s out of print, but you can find the original 7-inch single (Continental CR 1001) on eBay for around $10. I found it earlier this year when my friend Jim threw open his garage door and sold some of his records.
(This is the sleeve for that 45. You could have bought it for 25 cents if you also bought a carton of Kent, True, Newport or Old Gold cigarettes.)
There’s no music. Just “Little Satchmo Armstrong talkin’ to all the kids,” reading Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem in a warm, gravelly voice.
“But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night. A very good night.’
“And that goes for Satchmo, too. (Laughs softly.) Thank you.”
It was the last thing he ever recorded. Satchmo died the following July.
In the two years since we last enjoyed watching George Thorogood and the Destroyers frolicking on the MTV set in 1985, that clip has been removed from YouTube. It was the one with John Lee Hooker as Santa, the one with Martha Quinn dancing with Santa, and the one with Mark Goodman getting a nice long smooch from a cutie under the mistletoe. Bummer.
Sorry about that? Oh, come on. Guess we don’t want new generations to enjoy a classic.
On to Billy Squier, then! Let’s watch him lip-sync it with the MTV VJs and crew. As always, the question remains: Nina Blackwood or Martha Quinn?
The day after the blizzard, the morning after the silent night, brought a second round of snowblowing and shoveling.
The world did not end, but the afternoon and evening simply blew past in the whirlwind that ensues as Christmas draws near.
At 9 p.m. on many Friday nights, it’s time to listen to the Funky 16 Corners Radio Show. Each week, my friend Larry puts together a fine program full of vintage soul, R&B and jazz and streams it via Viva Radio.
Last night was the Funky 16 Corners Christmas Special. I missed it. Doing something else in the 9 o’clock hour.
“We got that set started with the mighty Otis Redding.
Two sides of a fantastic single if you can find it. On the Atco label, the top side is of course his upbeat ”Merry Christmas Baby’
and the B side is one of the greatest Christmas soul records
of all time, Otis’ reading of ‘White Christmas.’ Very, very nice one.”
Good song on its own, but you also ought to hear it in the context of Larry’s show. Head over to the Funky 16 Corners Radio Show page and scroll all the way to the bottom for the playlist and the link to the mp3 of the show. The shows also are available via iTunes podcast.
It’s been fun sharing this smaller Christmas with friends — I’m told there are more than five or six of you! — and sharing what friends have done. Scott and Derek were first, and now Larry.
Your Christmas music requests in the comments, please.
These are mp3s from my collection, taken from vinyl whenever possible. Enjoy. They are intended to encourage you to get out to the music stores, real or virtual, or out to support live music.
If you hold the copyright to something posted here, and you don't want it posted, please e-mail me at jeffash at new dot rr dot com and I'll remove it. Then again, who else is exposing your music to a new audience today?
About the words
The text is copyright 2007-2013, Jeff Ash. Text from other sources, when excerpted, is credited.