The big day’s beckoning, so, if you’re still looking for some new Christmas music to help you navigate the season, here are a few ideas.

For something quite different can we point you to ‘Holiday Cheers’ from New York blue-eyed soul and lounge jazz crooner PAUL LOREN? Different? Well, yes – you see the jolly 11 tracker consists of ten brand new Christmas songs and only one old chestnut (roasted on an open fire or not!). That venerated oldie is ‘Marshmallow World’ but the big attraction here is the new material which has a real 60s flavour about it.

Paul has always been open about his influences – 60s soul and Brill Building pop whilst amongst his heroes he cites people like Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Sam Cooke, Sinatra, Aretha, Otis, and Tony Bennett. So here on ‘Holiday Cheers’ you can hear clever pastiches of 60s sounds. Most obvious is ‘Steal Away’ – a thumping dancer that owes more than a little to Martha and the Vandellas’ ‘Ready For Love’. ‘Hold On To Christmas’ might remind you of prime time Smokey Robinson while the brassy ‘Footsteps On The Roof’ is Paul’s homage to Stax. Other highlights include the Carole King/Neil Sedaka flavoured ‘Comin’ Home To You’ and the brief doo-wop interlude that is the album title track. Check the great 60s inspired cover too!

altAnd continuing the “coming home” theme, new soul man ANTHONY J MONDAINE’S Christmas offering ‘Home For Christmas’ is currently winning lots of airplay on the savvy soul stations. Don’t know too much about Anthony but he tells us that his song is dedicated to military personnel who can’t be home for the Festive Season – specifically his young cousin who is serving in Japan and Anthony’s wistful, soulful meander perfectly reflects that sentiment. The cut also features some sweet sax and it’s available right now.

altAnd finally, over the year GIGI HAROLD who works as GG has impressed us with some fine blue-eyed soul and now at year end she offers us her ‘Soulful Christmas’ – a pleasant, gentle paean to the season and all that it brings. It’s very easy on the ear …. and for some reason reminds me of the Young Rascals’ ‘Groovin”.