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Release Info: Bootsy Collins - Christmas Is 4 Ever / 2006
The R'nB Christmas sector has been pretty assembly-line to my ears in recent years, so it's way past time a true original in the field stepped up to the eggnog ladle. Bootsy Collins, formerly leader of Bootsy's Rubber Band, teamed up with boutique label Shout! Factory to bring us his vision of a funky Christmas, getting together with former members of the Rubber Band and P-Funk, plus Bobby Womack, his brother Catfish, Roger Troutman, Snoop Dogg (on "Happy Holidaze") and Charlie Daniels (really, fiddle on "Sleigh Ride"). It's like he never left, with his unique voice, "space bass" and cast of thousands putting the beat to a collection of popular carols and originals. The dozens of Merry Christmas shout-outs between and during songs do get a little old, but it's worth having just for Bootsy re-imagining his big smash "I'd Rather Be With You" as a Christmas song with Troutman's help. Other originals include "N-Yo-City," "Happy Holidaze" with Snoop's rapping and the title song, which is a bit of a muddle. An imaginative take on "Merry Christmas Baby" is a highlight, and of course no R'nB artist is allowed to make a Christmas CD unless one of the songs is "This Christmas," which here is a fine performance of a classic tune. The old-school carols also get unique names, like "Chestnutz" for "The Christmas Song," "Boot-Off" for "Rudolph," and "Jingle Belz" for, oh, you know. Definitely a season highlight.
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