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Al GreenYou'd think this would be a match made in heaven - the joy of Christmas mated with the ecstatic soul of Al Green. Instead, Feels Like Christmas is a tepid, disco-tinged affair of dubious merit. This is not surprising, perhaps, since the record was cut several years after Green's creative peak on Memphis-based Hi Records in the early 70's, when he cut such soul classics as "Let's Stay Together" and "You Ought To Be With Me." Most crucially, Green waxed his Christmas album sans the spark and percolating arrangements formerly provided by bandleader and svengali Willie Mitchell. You see, listening to Al Green without Mitchell's support and inspiration is like watching Mario Andretti behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla - he can only go so fast and so far. Still, Rev. Green is full of fire on at least a few cuts, making Feels Like Christmas worth the effort for serious soul buffs and committed Christmas fanatics - and I qualify on both counts.

Now, let's be clear - Al Green has recorded only one Christmas album, and all the albums listed below - and many more online - contain roughly the same music. Over the years, Green's original 1983 recordings have been reissued numerous times by numerous labels in almost as many configurations. The album was originally released by gospel label Word Records in 1983 as White Christmas - on white vinyl with an all-white cover! In 1986, Word reissued White Christmas on CD through Sony with a conventional new cover, then it was reissued in England as The Christmas Album about ten years later.

But the record probably reached its apotheosis when issued in the UK as a 2-for-1 CD with Jackie Wilson's Merry Christmas (1963), another disappointing effort from an R&B giant. Feels Like Christmas (a 2001 iteration on Capitol) appended the Green-penned "Glory Glory" (a cut from his 1976 album Full Of Fire), and that same year Hi Records released the album in England paired with Green's own Trust In God (1986). Then, Feels Like Christmas was itself reissued in 2005 with a new cover (pictured) sans bonus track - and again in 2012 as an MP3 download and 2015 as a compact disc. So, your choices are many - and even more are in the market - but prepare to be underwhelmed. [top of page]

Albums Albums

SongsSongs

  • White Christmas
  • What Christmas Means To Me
  • Feels Like Christmas

Further ListeningFurther Listening

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