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The 10 Best Soul, Blues, and R&B Christmas Songs

Joan loves Christmas music, especially songs with a great soul sound.

Discover the best blues, R&B, and soul music for the holidays.

Discover the best blues, R&B, and soul music for the holidays.

Christmas With Soul!

Get into the groove this Christmas with the best R&B, blues, and soul songs for the holidays! During the holidays, we hear lots of holiday music in different styles—jazz, rock, country, R&B, classical, and more. We've all heard the ones that work well when an artist picks the right song for them and interprets it well. And we've heard the ones that don't work when somebody decides it would be cute to do a disco version of "Ave Maria," and it just comes out all wrong.

The selections below are songs that get it right and will bring a great soul sound to your Christmas party. And these tunes would make great stocking stuffers for a music lover, you know. Here are my picks for my 10 favorites, great for your Christmas party, for a mixed CD gift for a friend, or just for having some fun around the tree at home.

My 10 Favorite Christmas Songs

  1. "Amen"—Larnelle Harris
  2. "Christmas in Hollis"—Run DMC
  3. "Go Tell It on the Mountain"—The Blind Boys of Alabama
  4. "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child"—Mariah Carey
  5. "Merry Christmas, Baby"—B.B. King
  6. "Please Come Home for Christmas"—The Eagles
  7. "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto"—James Brown
  8. "Someday at Christmas"—Stevie Wonder
  9. "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"—Take 6
  10. "This Christmas"—Donny Hathaway
Christmas can groove if you do it right. The Blind Boys of Alabama perform in Stockholm.

Christmas can groove if you do it right. The Blind Boys of Alabama perform in Stockholm.

1. "Amen"—Larnelle Harris

"See the little baby (Amen)

Wrapped up in a manger (Amen)

Born on Christmas morning (Amen, Amen, Amen)."

This is a traditional congregational song in black churches. It is sometimes sung with Christmas verses and sometimes not.

I couldn't find any recordings on Amazon where they sang this with as much joy and fervor as I hear it in church. But this version by Larnelle Harris is pretty nice.

2. "Christmas in Hollis"—Run DMC

"It's Christmas time in Hollis, Queens

Mom's cookin' chicken and collard greens"

An energetic and fun rap song. Trying to make a rap song about Christmas could easily end up sounding stupid, or offensive, but this one is really nice.

3. "Go Tell It on the Mountain"—The Blind Boys of Alabama

"Go tell it on the mountain

Over the hills and everywhere

Go tell it on the mountain

That Jesus Christ is born"

The legendary singing group The Blind Boys of Alabama does a great bluesy rendition of this spiritual.

4. "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child"—Mariah Carey

"Jesus, Jesus

Oh, what a wonderful child

Jesus, Jesus

So lowly, meek and mild"

This one is a gospel standard. A lot of artists want to jazz it up when they record this song, but Mariah Carey does a beautiful job of singing it straight. If you want to know how the song really goes, her version is the one to get.

5. "Merry Christmas, Baby"—B.B. King

"Merry Christmas, baby

You sure did treat me nice"

This song is the king of Christmas blues songs, and nobody does it better than the King of the Blues.

6."Please Come Home for Christmas"—The Eagles

"Bells will be ringing the sad sad news

What a Christmas to have the blues"

A heartbreak song for the holidays. The original artist for the song is Charles Brown, but I love this version by the Eagles.

Bring a little groove into your holiday season with some James Brown.

Bring a little groove into your holiday season with some James Brown.

7. "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto"—James Brown

"Santa Claus

Go straight to the ghetto

Pitch up your reindeer

Go straight to the ghetto"

A plea for St. Nick to bring some Christmas cheer to the other side of the tracks, done in James Brown's inimitable style.

8. "Someday at Christmas"—Stevie Wonder

"Someday at Christmas men won't be boys

Playing with bombs like kids play with toys

One warm December, our hearts will see

A world where men are free"

Stevie shares his vision of peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

9. "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"—Take 6

"Sweet little Jesus boy

Born in a manger

Sweet little holy child

We didn't know who you was"

Here, Take 6 brings a sophisticated jazz vocal to this beloved spiritual.

10. "This Christmas"—Donny Hathaway

"Hang all the mistletoe

I'm gonna get to know you better

This Christmas"

Everybody loves Hathaway's soulful and romantic R&B Christmas tune.

Gift Someone a CD of Your Favorite Songs

Grab some of this smokin' holiday music or some picks of your own for someone who you know will love them. You can burn your chosen selections onto a CD and give them as a Christmas gift that is personal, homemade, and unique.

Peace! Your Comments Are Welcome

johnxav on December 21, 2016:

Great list! I love non-traditional Christmas songs. Here's a playlist of some lesser-known Christmas music:

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 14, 2014:

One I like is the Temptations Christmas album. Soulful and tuneful.

Justin from Slovenija on January 01, 2013:

Perfect time for holidays. Happy New Year!

applejacking on December 23, 2012:

Great collection. I enjoy your blues songs here.

Oosquid on December 13, 2012:

Don't quiet agree with the whole selection but a thumping good list just the same. Playing them would make a blue and soulful Christmas treat. Great lens.

soaringsis on December 12, 2012:

Great selection all in one place.Thanks for sharing.

jillian22 on December 07, 2012:

BB King - oh yeah!

djroll on December 06, 2012:

Great music selection. Merry Christmas!

Finn Mauritzen from Wading River, NY on December 05, 2012:

Really nice selection. A little something for everyone.

Elizabeth Sheppard from Bowling Green, Kentucky on October 19, 2012:

I like this! Thanks for sharing it.

shawnhi77 lm on October 16, 2012:

Very nice lens for the coming season.

streamline lm on December 25, 2011:

Nice Lens :)

Merry Christmas


charlesgrimes on December 16, 2011:


anonymous on December 02, 2011:

I am now in the Christmas spirit!

Paul Turner from Birmingham, Al. on December 02, 2011:

Love it! I'll have to download a few of these and funky this Christmas.

Mary from Chicago area on October 14, 2011:

love that BB King tune! James Brown's no slouch either. wish we still had lensrolling so I could roll this to my Christmas CDs lens! *blessed*

AuthorNormaBudden on January 04, 2011:

This is a great collection of songs. There's just something wonderful about listening to blues music ...

kimark421 on December 26, 2010:

Great lens. I love "Merry Christmas, Baby". The King of Blues indeed! Thanks for the great music.

DiscountDiva on December 21, 2010:

All of these are great! Most ar my favorites.

anonymous on December 17, 2010:

I made a great Christmas blues playlist on YouTube:

Dee Gallemore on December 17, 2010:

You included some of my favorties ;-)

anonymous on December 09, 2010:

Excellent Lens!

Rated and Favoured

Best wishes

DecoratingEvents on December 05, 2010:

Awesome collection Joan!

Paul from Montreal on November 28, 2010:

Love that James Brown :)