Some of my favorite sources for holiday music are the various STAX Christmas and compilation albums. Do you know STAX/VOLT of Memphis, TN? The OTHER major source of soul music in the 1960s besides Motown in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Black Christmas – The Emotions. The female vocal trio had its best commercial years after leaving the label with Best Of My Love. This is a black empowerment track.
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Carla Thomas. One of the first names I think of on the label. From 1966, when it got to #11 on Billboard’s special Xmas list, the same year her B-A-B-Y was #3 RB, #14 pop.
Silver Bells (Ray Evans, Jay Livingston) – Booker T. and The MG’s. Released as a 1967 season single. Booker T. Jones was born in 1944 in Memphis, TN.
Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas – Staple Singers; a downer, social justice song. But I love Pops’ and Mavis’ voices here.
Jingle Bells (James Lord Pierpont) – Booker T. and The MG’s, #20 on the Xmas list in 1966
Gee Whiz It’s Christmas – Carla Thomas. written by Thomas, Steve Cropper, and trumpeter Vinny Trauth. #23 on the Christmas charts in 1963. It was inspired by Carla’s #10 pop/#5 RB hit Gee Whiz (Look In His Eyes)
Sort of a hit
Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday – William Bell. Written by Bell and Booker T. Jones. This went #33 RB in 1968 and was a regional pop hit in the DC area. Born in 1939 in Memphis, he was a prolific songwriter.
The Mistletoe And Me – Isaac Hayes. A keyboard player/songwriter for STAX, the singer died in 2008. This non-album invokes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, and We Three Kings, among other songs. I contend that this is a GREAT Christmas song. But I’ve never heard it on the radio
Winter Snow (Isaac Hayes) – Booker T. and The MG’s. Yes, it is a melancholy instrumental. Sometimes the season is like that.