Who is truly the hardest working man in show business, James Brown or Santa Claus? After all, Santa tours even harder than James ever did, but St. Nick can't do the Mashed Potato like the Funky Godfather. As you ponder this great question, you might want to accompany your thoughts with Icon Christmas, a collection of seasonal tunes from R&B legend Brown that includes highlights from three different holiday releases: 1966's Christmas Songs, 1968's A Soulful Christmas, and 1970's Hey America. The 11 tunes run the gamut from Brown's smooth and soulful versions of "Merry Christmas Baby" and "The Christmas Song" to funk workouts like "Hey America" and "Soulful Christmas" and social commentary like "Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto." This isn't the most thorough collection of Brown's Yuletide offerings (for that, listeners should pick up 2010's The Complete James Brown Christmas), but most fans of classic soul and R&B will find this gives them all they need for their holiday dance parties.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming