Nobody know what Christmas will be like this year but one thing we can be sure of is that we’ll be inundated with a sack full of Christmas music – most horribly excruciating, some rather entertaining. In that latter category you can file a new Philly album from the Ingram Family’s SOCIETY HILL ORCHESTRA.
Over the years Butch Ingram and his siblings have worked to keep the Philly soul flag flying high with a series of albums of Philadelphia classics and now with ‘THE HOLIDAY SUITE’ they offer their distinct spin on the traditional Christmas collection- but with a Philly twist.
The Ingram’s Society Hill Orchestra is a full blown affair – like MFSB was back in the day – and helping them deliver their Christmas cheer they use a team of top, contemporary Philly vocalists – people like Sugarbear & The Fabulous Blue Notes, Toni Richards, Donnie Tatum, Sheldon Price, Benny Barksdale Jr., Baxter, Jimmy Lee and Ter-Ree.
The 12 tracker offers a mix of traditional Christmas tunes (like ‘The Christmas Song’ and ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’) alongside more modern material (like the Carpenters’ ‘Merry Christmas Darling’ and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Someday At Christmas’) and all are delivered in what we could call orthodox fashion – no innovative arrangements – but the soulful vocals and lush Philly backing make things just a little different.
The album ends with the rousing title track… and this ‘The Holiday Suite’ is a respectful homage to one of the best soul Christmas albums ever – the Salsoul Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Jollies’. Here you get a Christmas song/carol medley riding over a discofied, zipping, authentic Salsoul style backing track. Cheesy? Well yes… but c’mon, it’s Christmas (well in about 6 weeks!)