The 10 Best Soul, Blues, and R&B Christmas Songs
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 lots of different styles—jazz, rock, country, R&B, classical, and more. We've all heard the ones that work really well, when an artist picks just the right song for them and does a great interpretation of it. And we've heard the ones that don't work, when somebody decides that 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
- "Amen"—Larnelle Harris
- "Christmas in Hollis"—Run DMC
- "Go Tell It on the Mountain"—The Blind Boys of Alabama
- "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child"—Mariah Carey
- "Merry Christmas, Baby"—B.B. King
- "Please Come Home for Christmas"—The Eagles
- "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto"—James Brown
- "Someday at Christmas"—Stevie Wonder
- "Sweet Little Jesus Boy"—Take 6
- "This Christmas"—Donny Hathaway
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 actually couldn't find any recordings on Amazon where they sang this with as much joy and fervor as I hear it sung 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
Oh what a wonderful child
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.
7. "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto"—James Brown
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
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 Christmas gift that is personal, homemade, and unique.