25th Day Of December CD (2007)

Artist: Staple Singers

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Long lost set of soulful spirituals is a real holi

by redtunictroll@hotmail.com on 12/3/2007

The Staple singers burst into the popular conscience with their striking soul-gospel hits for Stax in the 1970s; but the quartet had been singing together in church since the early '50s, and recorded for United and Vee-Jay later in that decade. In the early '60s they moved to the Riverside label, best known for its jazz and folk releases, and stayed until the label folded in 1964. Their second effort for Riverside, 1962's "The 25th Day of December," perfectly combines the Staples' gospel singing with the Christian gospel itself. ¶ Many of the songs here are taken at solemn and mournful tempos, but even in 1962 the Staples brought a funky southern soul to their work. The call-and-response of "The Last Month of the Year" is a perfect opener, with Pops and his children spread between the speakers in true stereo, and Al Duncan's drums providing a light shuffle. Mavis Staple anticipates Aretha Franklin's church-bred soul vocalizing on "The Virgin Mary Had One Son," and the bluesy "Holy Unto the Lord" crosses funky southern roots with early '60s R&B. The album brightens with Maceo Woods' sprightly organ on "Joy to the World" and the lyrical gladness of "Wasn't That a Mighty Day." The closing "Silent Night," drenched in reverb, organ and harmonies is a fitting closer. ¶ This first-ever reissue features the classic Staple quartet (Pops, Mavis, Yvonne and Pervis) in a wonderfully present recording, with the group's powerhouse vocals, accompanied by guitar, organ and drums. Excepting a few moments where the guitar or organ steps forward, the instruments are sparse and serve primarily as cues for the voices. The live sound is a perfect frame for a song list that's built more as a soundtrack to a revival meeting than a collection of Christmas songs plucked from the popular canon. You could equally well sample this disc in your 5-disc CD rotisserie as let it play from beginning to end. This is a real holiday treat! [©2007 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Product Overview


Label Riverside Records/concord Jazz
SKU 205505888
UPC 888072303546
UPC 14 00888072303546
Format CD
Release Date 9/18/2007
Author Staple Singers
Associated Artist/Work Mayfield, Curtis
Associated Artist/Work Original Soundtrack
Technical Info
Producer Orrin Keepnews
CatalogID 30354
Lable Name Riverside Records (Jazz)
Released 09/18/2007
Original Release 1962
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00888072303546
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel: Roebuck "Pops" Staples (vocals, guitar); Cleotha Staples, Yvonne Staples, Mavis Staples, Pervis Staples (vocals); Rev. Maceo Woods (organ); Gus Johnson , Al Duncan (drums).
Recording information: New York, NY (1962).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Cleotha Staples; Mavis Staples; Pervis Staples.
Originally released in 1962, well before their 1970s reinvention as the first family of Southern gospel soul, THE TWENTY-FIFTH DAY OF December is just what the title implies, a dozen Christmas standards (including two originals by Roebuck "Pops" Staples, "Holy Unto the Lord" and "There Was A Star") given the Staple Singers treatment. Mavis Staples is in excellent voice throughout, and the quartet's harmonies are at their purest and most exciting. This is what a Christmas album should be.
Disc 1
1 Last Month Of The Year, The
2 Virgin Mary Had One Son, The
3 Go Tell It On The Mountain
4 Joy To The World
5 Holy Unto The Lord
6 Savior Is Born, The
7 Sweet Little Jesus Boy
8 No Room At The Inn
9 There Was A Star
10 O Little Town Of Bethlehem
11 Wasn't That A Mighty Day
12 Silent Night
Product Attributes
Artist Staple Singers
Music Format Compact Disc

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Long lost set of soulful spirituals is a real holi by redtunictroll@hotmail.com on Dec 03, 2007