Lou Rawls – ‘Christmas Will Really Be Christmas’ [Capitol]
There is a long tradition of Christmas specials in the soul canon, regrooved standards interspersed with candied originals – some good, many less so. Neither is there any shortage of heartbreaking blues testimony on personal holiday woes, but nothing captures the melancholic side of the festive spirit as deeply and darkly as Lou Rawls’ ‘Christmas Will Really Be Christmas’.
Penned by J. W. Alexander and arranged by H. B. Barnum for the Axelrod produced Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho!, swinging string bass and shuffling piano dance around the feet of the world-weary Salvo brass while Rawls’ delivers a richly toned, conscious Christmas message in an effortlessly funky blues. Without a hint of novelty and imbued with a merest hint of hard-nosed hope for peace on earth, this is one yuletide song that remains truly evergreen.
‘Christmas Will Really Be Christmas’ by Lou Rawls originally appeared on the artist album Merry Christmas, Ho! Ho! Ho! [Capitol Records].