Harvey Averne Barrio Band: Let’s Get It Together For Christmas
The Black On White Affair: Auld Lang Syne (snippets)
From In the Christmas Groove (Strut, 2009)

It’s post-Thanksgiving which means that in the last few days, every time I step into a retail store, I hear %#U*()! Christmas music. Don’t get me wrong; I like “Christmas Time Is Here” as much as the next Peanuts fan but if I have to wait through another rendition of “Jingle Bells,” I might have to go all bull in a china shop.

Thankfully, the good folks at Strut Records have come with an excellent Xmas-themed funk comp called In The Christmas Groove which – for cover art alone – would deserve props. The tracklisting is aces, including a few rare classics like Milly and Silly’s “Gettin’ Down for Xmas” and J.D. McDonald’s “Boogaloo Santa Claus.” I picked out two songs I hadn’t heard before, including one I probably should have – Harvey Averne’s “Let’s Get It Together For Christmas,” a random, 45 only track on Fania that is vintage Averne in its funky production style. Makes me wonder if Fania ever cut a dedicated holiday album; which would have seemed like a good idea.

The other song is a really incredible version of “Auld Lang Syne” brought down from the Pacific Northwest by the Black On White Affair. I only included part of the song but it’s mostly an instrumental that builds and builds, hitting a highpoint as it shifts into vocals but you really have to soak in the entire song to appreciate its majesty.