Home for Christmas

The O’Jays have been around about half as long as Santa Claus, so it makes sense that they easefully fit into the holiday classics mood. Working with several producers, and producing some songs themselves, on Home for Christmas they’ve chosen just the right blend of standards — notably the elegant ”What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and the bluesy ”Merry Christmas Baby” — to balance their new numbers, the best of which is ”Wanna Be Home for Christmas,” a showcase for the husky rumble of Eddie Levert Sr. The album’s spirit isn’t quite casual, though it’s flowing and natural. The harmonies (except for an overwrought rendition of ”The Christmas Song”) just about define classic Philly Soul, although the sax and guitar solos are bluesier than classic Philly Soul producers Gamble and Huff ever would have allowed. This long-overdue album from one of R&B’s most underrated groups makes a welcome addition to even the most crowded holiday music shelf. B+

Home for Christmas
  • Movie