A mixtape of the music My Spilt Milk played Saturday at St. Roch Market.

outer space santa art

Saturday afternoon, I DJ'ed an afternoon of Christmas music at St. Roch Market as part of Tales of the Cocktail's holiday pop-up store. After I played "What You Want for Christmas" by Quad City DJs, The 69 Boyz and K-Nock, one woman came up to tell me she'd forgotten about that song, and another wanted to know where she could get the playlist because she liked it too. Since I've done a downloadable playlist of Christmas music each year since My Spilt Milk launched, her request and the responses of people I could see throughout the afternoon made a choice for me.

The result is more than two hours of Christmas music for you, and it's a safe bet that there are a few pleasant memories in here as well as a lot of songs that haven't been worn out for you yet.This mix leans heavily on R&B and funk, but it also swings a few times into calypso, Afrobeat, and New Orleans jazz. It also includes Canadian country icon Stompin' Tom Connors and a track from my favorite Christmas album, Huey "Piano" Smith and The Clowns' Twas the Night Before Christmas. The one thing the songs all have in common is that they're remarkable in some way--remarkably funky, remarkably joyous, or remarkably smart, for starters. 

And as much as Christmas music gets ripped for being nostalgic, there's a lot of music from the last few years in this mix--Panorama Jazz Band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Roman Coppola, Etienne Charles (from his heavily calypso-flavored Creole Christmas), and Telephoned's cool, electronic, island-free version of "Mele Kalikimaka."

My personal favorites in this list? I can't stop singing "You're All I Want for Christmas" by the Salsoul Orchestra (perhaps because they can't either), "Cascabel, Casacabel" by the Cuban singer Beatriz Marquez, "Hey America" by James Brown, and "The Mistletoe Jam by Luther Vandross, which does have a groove joyous enough to make everybody want to kiss somebody. While sitting beside the speaker at St. Roch Market, I was also struck by the power of the reggae groove in Carlene Davies' "Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come to the Ghetto?)."

Thanks for Ann Tuennerman and the Tales of the Cocktail team for involving me and My Spilt Milk in their event, I hope we do it again next year. And if you want All-Star Christmas by Quad City DJs, The 69 Boyz and K-Nock, but it on Amazon through this link and My Spilt Milk will get a piece of the action. Thanks.

1. "Jingle Bells" - Panorama Jazz Band
2. "Christmas Morning The Rum Had Me Yawning" - Lord Nelson
3. "White Christmas" - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
4. "Outer Space Santa" - Lawrence Welk's Little Band
5. "Happy Holiday" - Peggy Lee
6. "Jingle Bell Rock" - Quintron & Miss Pussycat
7. "You're All I Want for Christmas" - The Salsoul Orchestra
8. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Roman Coppola
9. "Santa Claus Se Robo a Mi Mujer" - The Paranoias
10. "Christmas Is Yours, Christmas Is Mine" - Etienne Charles
11. "Silver Bells" - Papa Don Vappie's New Orleans Jazz Band
12. "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" - Huey "Piano" Smith
13. "Mele Kalikimaka" - Telephoned
14. "Medley: Jingle Bells / Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant / Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen" - The Swingle Singers
15. "Give Love On Christmas Day" - Ledisi
16. "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" - Darlene Love
17. "Hey America" - James Brown
18. "Cascabel, Cascabel" - Beatriz Marquez
19. "Black Christmas" - Don Smith
20. "Linus And Lucy" - Vince Guaraldi
21. "Trim Your Tree" - Jimmy Butler
22. "What You Want For Christmas" - Quad City DJ's, The 69 Boyz and K-Nock
23. "Here Comes Santa Claus" - Ramsey Lewis Trio
24. "Groovy Xmas and a Happy New Year" - Pee Pee Dynamite
25. "Rockin' & Rollin' With Santa Claus" - The Hepsters
26. "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" - Mack Rice
27. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra
28. "Merry Christmas Everybody" - Stompin' Tom Connors
29. "Truckin' Trees For Christmas" - Red Simpson
30. "Welcome Christmas" - MGM Studio Orchestra & Chorus
31. "Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come To The Ghetto?)" - Carlene Davies
32. "Santa Knows I've Been Bad (And That Ain't No Good)" - Nate 'Suave' Cameron
33. "Merry Christmas Baby" - Bootsy Collins
34. "Lil' New Orleans Drummer Boy" - Ken "Afro" Williams
35. "Happy Sound's Christmas" - Happy Sound
36. "(It's A) Happy Holiday" - The Shells
37. "White Christmas" - The Drifters
38. "Christmas Time Is Here Again" - The Flirtations
39. "What Christmas Means To Me" - Stevie Wonder
40. "Christmas Is A Drag" - Jimmy Jones & His Versatiles
41. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Willis Jackson
42. "The Mistletoe Jam (Everybody Kiss Somebody)" - Luther Vandross
43. "What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?" - The Emotions
44. "Party For Santa Claus" - Lord Nelson
45. "Boogaloo Santa Claus" - J.D. McDonald
46. "Christmas (Like Ya Just Don't Care)" - Panorama Jazz Band
47. "What Will Santa Claus Say?" - Louis Prima
48. "Christmas In New Orleans" - Louis Armstrong