Good God, Y’all, James Brown’s ‘Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto’ Is Funky

James Brown recorded a lot of Christmas songs, on account of how he was James Brown and he could record anything he damn well pleased and make it funky. “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto” starts out sounding like it might be a novelty song — the black power version of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” if you will. The Godfather of Soul would like Santa Claus to bring toys to the ghetto, yay Santa! But in the middle, the song takes a hard right into some serious late 1960s social consciousness.

Santa Claus, go straight to the ghetto
Never thought I’d realize
I’d be singing a song with water in my eyes

Santa Claus, go straight to the ghetto
Don’t leave nothing for me
I’ve had my chance, you see?

Probably the easiest way to get a handle on your James Brown Christmas needs is to pick up the one-disc compilation, Funky Christmas,which collects 17 of James’ most soulful Christmas joints, from the surprisingly subdued but still great traditionals

…to the ultra-funky soul cuts.

“Soulful Christmas” actually wanders into a detour where James Brown talks about how great James Brown is and thanking you for coming to his shows and buying his records, but you don’t care at all because funky. You can listen to the whole Funky Christmas album via YouTube thanks to an intrepid playlist-maker, so why not make that your goal this afternoon? It isn’t like you’re getting anything done at the office today.

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