Mike Little is a member of the Electric City Shag Club in Anderson,
South Carolina. He is also a member of the Association of Beach & Shag Club
DJ’s and the National Association of Rhythm & Blues Deejays. He hosted
for 3-1/2 years The Saturday Morning Beach Party on WANS, 1280 AM in Anderson, which was rated by Arbitron as the highest
rated AM show listened to and number three overall for that time slot. In 2004,
he was awarded the Rufus Oates Award by the National Association of Rhythm & Blues Dee Jays for his writing contributions. He now serves on the Board of Directors of the NARBDJ.
A Special Christmas Edition
Have you heard about the new Christmas
songs that have come out. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to find new holiday
songs, as there are fewer seasonal albums released. And some of this music is
not released until after publication deadlines. However, here are twelve new
or relatively new songs that you may want to consider playing for that special party for which you will be deejaying. Some were released late last year, and some were released this year.
Ain't Santa Cool by Alabama. The
song comes from the newly released Alabama album, American Christmas. This
is the fourth Christmas album released by the trio. The Country and Southern
Rock band was in Fort Payne, Alabama in 1969. The band was founded by singer
and rhythm guitarist Randy Owen and his cousin Teddy Gentry, bass guitarist and background vocalist. They were soon joined by their cousin Jeff Cook, who also handles lead guitar, as well as fiddle and keyboards. Over the years the band has scored with over 30 number one Country records and sold
over 75 million records, making them one of America's best-selling bands of all time.
Alabama also scored big in the Beach Music Market in 1997 with Dancin', Shaggin' On The Boulevard. The group's song, Wonderful Waste Of Time, that was recorded in 2001, became a big hit for The Fantastic
Baby Please Come Home by The Mavericks. This one was released on a min-CD along with Christmas Time (Is Comin' 'Round Again),
which is the title track. The Grammy Award winning Americana Country Rock
band was formed in 1989 in Miami, Florida. Among the founding members was lead
singer Raul Malo, who later pursued his solo career and gave us It Only Hurts When I Cry.
Among the many songs recorded, the group gave us several Beach Music hits, including My Secret Flame. The band split up in 2004, but reunited in 2013, recording several albums since then.
Baby It's Cold Outside by Fantasia with Cee Lo Green. This one is for the smooth steppers. The song was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser, using it as a closing song during the
colder months at clubs where he and his wife performed. The song became popular
in our market when the song was rerecorded by Lou Rawls and Dianne Reeves. The
newly released song by Fantasia and Cee Lo Green comes from Fantasia's new Christmas album, Christmas After Midnight. Fantasia Barrino Taylor was born in High Point, North Carolina and rose to fame when
she won top honors in the third year of American Idol in 2004. She is
probably best known in the Beach Music world for her hit, Chain Of Fools. A
niece of members of The Barrino Brother (Trapped In A Love), Fantasia was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall
of Fame in 2014. Cee Lo Green, who was born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway in Atlanta,
Georgia, is best known in our market for his hit, Forget You. He is also
known for his Soul work, his most popular song being with Gnarls Barkley with the 2006 worldwide hit, Crazy. Cee Lo Green joined up with deejay Brian Joseph Burton, better known as Danger Mouse, to create the
Christmas Everyday by Smokey Robinson with Us The Duo. The album, released last Christmas season and available only through Amazon, contains
previously released songs, as well as some new material. Smokey Robinson &
The Miracles had recorded Christmas Everyday before, beginning in 1963, but this version, which is the title track
of the album, features Us The Duo. Us The Duo is a Folk/Pop husband and wife
team from Los Angeles, California. Michael and Carissa met on the set of a musical
video in 2011 and married the following year. We all know Smokey Robinson, beginning
when he was lead vocalist of The Miracles, of which he founded. Smokey Robinson
met Berry Gordy after a failed audition, later joining together on Gordy's Tamla Records, which later was re-incorporated
as Motown. The Miracles' Shop Around was Motown's first million-selling
record. Between 1962 and 1966, Smokey was one of the major songwriters and producers
for the record company. After numerous recorded hits with The Miracles, Smokey
left the group in 1972, starting his highly successful solo career. William Robinson,
Jr. got his name as a child from his uncle, who called him “Smokey Joe”.
Cool Yule by Colin James & The Little Big Band. The song comes from the newly released Colin James seasonal album, Little Big Band Christmas. Born Colin James Munn Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, he got his break opening for
Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1984. According to the story, when his name was announced
over arena P.A, systems, “Munn” sounded it “Mud”. Stevie
Ray Vaughan suggested he drop his last name, thereby he and his band eventually became Colin James & The Little Big Band.
In 1988, he released his debut self-titled album. His sophomore release, Sudden Stop, brought us the Beach & Shag
hit, Give It Up. Colin James & his band also later gathered attention
along the coastlines with his remake of Jackie Wilson's Baby Workout, titled Let's Shout.
In A Holiday Mood by Bigg Robb. This
new song comes from Bigg Robb's new 2017 release, Bigg Robb's Christmas Party.
There is more to choose from that may work even better in your market area. Check
out Christmas With You and the classic Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'.
The latter was composed by the late Sir Mack Rice (Money Talks). Born
Robert Smith in Cincinnati, Ohio, Bigg Robb began his musical journey as a teenage disk jockey at a small radio station. Eventually, he began to hang out with Funk and Soul stars in recording studios, eventually
becoming the driver for Robert Troutman, then a member of Troutman's band, Zapp. After
Troutman's death in 1999, Smith took on the Bigg Rob moniker and set out on a solo career.
Jingle Jingle Jingle My Bell by Little Kim Stewart. This new Christmas release was written and produced by Mark “Mr. X” Stafford. She attended Alabama State University studying Music Education, Grand Canyon University
in Phoenix, Arizona studying Elementary Education and is a 2012 graduate in Early
Childhood Education from Ashford University in Britannica, British Columbia, Canada.
Little Kim resides in Montgomery, Alabama.
My Christmas Is You by Lomax. Released
last December, this get-close song is guaranteed to bring them onto the floor in droves.
The tune was first recorded by the late Bill Coday and Karen Wolfe. As
a Georgia native, Lomax Spaulding took interest in music at an early age, learning to play the guitar and the piano, as well
as singing. His performances began at church. After high school, he moved to Atlanta to embark on a singing career, joining up with a group called Cashflow. Cashflow released several albums, thereby performing and touring with a number of
groups, including Sheila E., Atlantic Star, Luther Vandross, Alexander O'Neal and Jermaine Jackson. In 2004, Lomax began working on a Gospel project. Through
this, he was introduced to the National Congress of Black Women, for which he performed on several occasions. Lomax began looking to broaden his musical career and turned to Southern Soul, where he found his home. His music reached out into the Beach Music market over the past several years, bringing
us hits like Baby It's You, Swing It and his current hit, Why You Wanna Do That.
Pull That Sleigh by Mark Black.
This single release was made known
late last year and should fit right in with the holiday music you are expected to play.
If there was a Christmas music chart for our genre, this one would be near the top.
The Gastonia, North Carolina native graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina and, upon
graduation, joined The Fabulous Kays playing singing and playing saxophone. From
there, Mark found a home with The Embers. After spending eight years with one
of the most popular Beach bands, Mark left the group, thereby spending more time with his family. While teaching music at the Horry County School System, he joined the East Coast Party, shortly thereafter
becoming musical director for the popular band.
Season Of Love by 98º. The song comes
from the newly released seasonal album, Let It Snow. 98º consists of four
vocalists, brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons. The
group was formed in Los Angeles, California, yet all of its members come from Ohio.
The four signed with Motown Records and released their first album in 1997. 98º
is best known in the Shag world for the hit, Because Of You. The quartet
disbanded in 2002, but reunited for a one-time performance for a festival in 2012, which led to a new album. In 2016, they re-grouped again to headline the My2K Tour, their first headline tour in fifteen years. Let It Snow is the second Christmas album for 98º.
Slim Down Santa by Jim Koeppel. The
2017 single release is very fitting for the Blues lovers, as well as for the Carolina Shaggers. The song was written by Jim and co-produced by him and Cash McCall (That Lucky Old Sun, When You Wake
Up). Jim Koeppel is a music veteran of various combos of Roots Blues, Blues
and Country. He also led his own band in the New York area, opening for such
acts as Taj Mahal, Doc Watson and David Bromberg. Jim Koeppel released his first
album in 1998. His songs have also appeared in the film industry.
Slip Away For Christmas by Mr. X. This
is another single that was released late in the 2016 season. However, it is a
also re-release of his 2008 song, Can You Slip Away For Christmas that was a part of
his Sit Down On It album. In the music industry, every artist
has to start somewhere. Every artist starts as an unknown. From Selma, Alabama,
Mark Stafford started out as the unknown, “Mr. X”, eventually quite a name for himself as a singer and songwriter. He started out by submitting songs to Lewis Clark, aka The Love Doctor, a fellow Gospel
singer who helped jump-start the whole Southern Soul movement. Mr. X made his
debut as a singer in 2008, later catching the ear of the Beach/Shag crowd with Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle, Jiggle, Jiggle,
Jiggle. He is currently enjoying success in our market with his charted I
The Embers released a Christmas album last December,
missing the publication deadline for my last year's seasnal article. The album,
The Embers Featuring Craig Woolard: Merry Christmas, features eleven songs
for the holiday season, including Beautiful Memories, Blue Decorations and White Christmas. The release also has The Embers' version of Otis Redding's Merry Christmas Baby and the band's take on Alabama's Christmas In Dixie. The
Embers were formed in 1958. Drummer Bobby Tomlinson is the only remaining original
member. Craig Woolard fronts the band, also playing saxophone and flute. Keyboardist
Andy Swindell also takes lead on vocals, as does some other band members, including Jeff Grimes, Bobby Nantz, Gerald Davis
and Stephen Pachuta. Over the years, The Embers have won numerous awards including
the South Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Music
Hall of Fame. The group has also won numerous Carolina Beach Music Awards, with
Craig Woolard winning the Male Vocalist of the Year a number of times. The Embers
serve as North Carolina's Official Ambassadors of Music. The Embers featuring
Craig Woolard: Merry Christmas is a must.
CDS Records released
the compilation, Southern Soul Christmas in November of 2015, releasing it again in 2016 with a slight title change. We missed it the first time, but this will make a great stocking stuffer for your
favorite Southern Soul music fan. The album, Southern Soul Christmas Mix Vol.
1 carries several tunes that will work well for the parties for which you'll be playing this year. I Fell In Love Over
The Holidays by Carl Marshall is one you should add to your playlist. Born
in Independence, Louisiana, Carl grew up in the music streets of New Orleans. During
the last number of years, Carl Marshall's popularity in the Southern Soul market has grown rapidly. Over the years, he has perfected his musical skills on guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. In the early 1980's, Carl worked for K-Tel Records, where he learned to recreate songs for the company. One of the highlights of his career came in 2010 when he was named Vice President
of CDR Records. You probably will find Sir Jonathan Burton's Christmas Inside
The Hole At The Hole In The Wall. Jonathan Burton was born and raised in
New Brunswick, New Jersey. He got his musical training at an early age from his
father who taught him to play the guitar. His father played weekends with local
bands in the surrounding areas. Early in his career, Jonathan Burton landed a
position with The Manhattans, ending up in Detroit. In the studios around Detroit,
his name and fame spread, making him one of the most sought after talent in the area.
Moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, Jonathan is enjoying even more success for his expertise on guitar, keyboards
and vocals. Over the years, he has given us some great music, such as Beach
Music Lover, Too Much Booty Shaking and Give It Up, Turn It Loose. It
was after his success with Too Much Booty Shaking that a name change was explored.
Because there are so many Jonathan Burton's in the world, Jonathan was self-knighted Sir Jonathan Burton. Other songs you need to check out from Southern Soul Christmas
Mix Vol. 1 are Christmas Southern Soul Style by Rue Davis (Cutie) and Carl Marshall and the ballad, Family,
by Garland Green. (Ain't That Good Enough). Other notables featured on
the album are Christmas In Memphis (Without My Baby) by Charles Wilson and Simeo and Shuffle For Christ by The
Sisters Of Vision. Southern Soul Christmas Mix Vol. 1...get your copy