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Recommended R&B Christmas Albums

Happy Holidays ...


R&B and Soul albums with Christmas and holiday themes is a tradition that dates back almost as far as R&B itself. Over the years, there have been hundreds - if not thousands - of artists who've remade traditional Christmas songs and given them an R&B twist. And while we can't and won't go back and revisit every R&B Xmas albums of the past 50 years, this list is dedicated to some of the best albums of the past and present.

1. I'll Be Home for Christmas, Brian McKnight

Brian McKnight's latest holiday release, I'll Be Home for Christmas, which was released in the U.S. in 2008 isn't his first Christmas album, but it's undoubtedly one of the best that's come out in a long while. It's romantic, charming, fun, occasionally whimsical and most of all, spiritual.

2. Miss Patti's Christmas, Patti LaBelle

For anyone who's ever wondered why and how Patti LaBelle has managed to stay a relevant, successful recording artist while so many other singers have come and gone over the years, Miss Patti's Christmas is a perfect example why. Patti puts her all into singing each and every one of the 10 songs on the album. There's not a single lackluster performance, nor a poorly sung note on the entire album.

3. I'll Be Home for Christmas, The Isley Brothers

This 40-minute collection of 10 new and classic holiday-themed songs is like the audio equivalent of a lit fireplace in the dead of winter: it's warm, comforting and refreshing, not to mention peaceful, tender and romantic.

4. A Philly Soul Christmas, Musiq Soulchild

This beautifully peaceful, seven-song EP of traditional holiday music is perfect for anyone who's a fan of jazzy neo-Soul music.

5. A Very Ping Pong Christmas, Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra

Released in 2007, A Very Ping Pong Christmas: Funky Treats From Santa's Bag, is an album of Souled-out and funkdafied instrumental versions of various holiday favorites, including "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night" and nine others. It's by no means a traditional Christmas album, and that's one of the great things about it. A must-have for Funk, Jazz, and Electronica fans, or anyone liking traditional Christmas songs with an experimental twist.
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6. A Mary Mary Christmas, Mary Mary

A Mary Mary Christmas is an album of new and classic holiday music by the R&B/Gospel duo Mary Mary. It was released by My Block Records back in October 2006.

7. Christmas Is 4 Ever, Bootsy Collins

Released in October 2006, this is one of the wackiest, most fun Christmas albums ever. Bootzilla, baby!

8. Merry Christmas, Mariah Carey

Merry Christmas, which features both cover versions and original material, is the most successful holiday album ever in the United States, sales-wise. Mariah's version of "Silent Night" is a definite must-hear.
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9. Ultimate Christmas Collection, The Jackson 5

This CD, which came out in October 2009, is a collection of songs originally recorded throughout the early 1970s. It features a young Michael and his brothers performing their versions of holiday classics.
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10. This Is Christmas, Luther Vandross

This Is Christmas, which was released in October 1995 then re-released in August 2004, contains seven original songs and three traditional Christmas songs. Luther's silky smooth voice epitomizes the love and joy of the holiday season.
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11. Christmas, Love And You, Will Downing

Released in 2004, this collection of 10 traditional Christmas songs is one of the best holiday albums ever, mostly due to Downing's rich, warm vocals.
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12. Snowflakes, Toni Braxton

Toni's vocals on this sultry album of holiday music are steamy enough to heat up many cold winter nights.
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