Rock Flashback: Booker T. and the MG’s Get the Christmas Spirit

By 1966, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Booker T. and the MG’s[/lastfm] were well-established as one of the greatest groups in history, laying down the groove for superstar acts at Stax Records in Memphis and scoring hits on their own. And in that year, they decided to get down with Santa Claus, too.

In the Christmas Spirit was released in October 1966. The album is a showcase for keyboard player [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Booker T. Jones[/lastfm], whose playing ranged from warm and sweet to funky and insistent, and for guitarist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Steve Cropper[/lastfm], who continued his twin habits of never playing a lick more than necessary and always putting them in precisely the right spot. Don’t sleep on the work of [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Donald “Duck” Dunn[/lastfm], either, whose bass anchors the groove when the band is groovin’ and snuggles up tight on the slower numbers. Drummer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Al Jackson[/lastfm] spends a great deal of time working brushes and percussion instruments other than drums (and shaking the sleigh bells), but he, too, is always in the pocket.

In the Christmas Spirit runs only about 34 minutes, but no other album I can think of lends itself so well to the “repeat” function. It sets a holiday mood like nothing else does.

Here’s the album’s lead single, “Jingle Bells,” in which all four members of the band get their turn in the spotlight, and one subtle change in the tune makes it extremely funky.

Experience more Rock Flashbacks.

  • RainbowRay

    For those of you who remember SCTV and would like to have another look (and if you don’t remember, but are curious), check out this link. My favorite character’s from the show are “Edith Prickley” (“That’s right Edna!”) and her homemade jams and marmalades (“I hope you choke on ’em!”), Bob and Doug Mackenzie (Classic Canadian hosers from the 80’s, eh? Beauty skits they did, eh?), Guy Cabalaro (Owner and Manager of SCTV who gained respect from his employees by faking his disability by sitting in a wheelchair all the time. Remember that?

    Check out Andrea Martin as Edith Prickly in “Mrs. Falbo’s tiny town” (a parody of children’s tv show’s). On one episode they have Dave Thomas playing G. Gordon Liddy on the show and he does the “:Bunny Hop” with the kids–priceless! He also tells them a story about a semi-automatic! HA, that’s so damn hilarious! It may NOT be on this channel, but if you type SCTV on YOUTUBE, you can find it I’m sure. I remember watching those series of skits (filmed in Edmonton I believe) when I was in my teens; there much funnier today, right Fee-Fi? How are you enjoying that link I sent you?

    Everyone and still loves John Candy (R.I.P) who was born and raised in Toronto as Johnny Laru (“Let’s Mambo!”) and as one of my favorite’s, “Mr. Science”

    “Optimistically Obtaining”

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