Mr. Scruff's alternative Christmas playlist

Throw another log on the fire and get down with this irregular Christmas playlist, courtesy of Andy Carthy aka Mr. Scruff

Feature by Daniel Jones | 09 Dec 2015

Bored of Band Aid? Sick of Shakin' Stevens? What you need's a quick fix of alternative Christmas tuneage.

Luckily for all, Mr. Scruff's in the festive spirit early this year, compiling a soundtrack that should keep your nan's knees shaking right through to the Feast of the Epiphany. 

In the words of the man himself: "A selection of Christmas tunes that thankfully transcend their novelty value and are also good tunes, although, admittedly, are ones that you may want to avoid for the rest of the year...”

Milly & Silly – Gettin’ Down For Xmas

Staple breakbeat, as sampled by Large Professor, complete with sleigh bells, gives way to a fat, wonky Christmas funk jam that sounds like Jingle Bells with a few wrong notes thrown in, riding a writhing, wriggly bassline. The ideal soundtrack to Santa’s journey home from the pub.

Eek-A-Mouse – Christmas A-Come

Eek-A-Mouse, in between his trademark vocal tics, gives us a story of Christmas with no money. With Roots Radics on the rhythm and Scientist behind the boards, this is considerably heavier than your average Cliff Richard offering, especially once the second half of the 12” version dubs it out to oblivion. Essential fat early ’80’s dancehall with a festive twist.

James Brown – Soulful Christmas

My favourite tune from JB’s Christmas LP. James tells us that ‘people like you don’t grow on trees’ before thanking everyone who buys his records and comes to his shows, all over a storming, tight-as-you-like uptempo funk backing. If you are going to play one Christmas tune to a packed dancefloor, then it should be this one.

The Indo Jazzmen – Oriental Variations on a Christmas Theme

Solid, swinging and pretty jolly jazzed-up version of While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, with the main melody taken care of by a sitar. The sleeve notes describe it as ‘amusing and stimulating.’ What I like about it is that for most of the tune, it is unrecognisable as a Christmas carol, as the band take every opportunity to improvise. The horns give extra festive flavour too.

Houghas Sorowonko – A Groovy Christmas and New Year

Perky Ghanaian funk in a James Brown style (bearing more than a passing resemblance to ‘Cold Sweat’). Vocalist Pee Pee Dynamite exhorts all and sundry to have a groovy festive period, while the band pays tribute to the godfather of soul.

Papa San – Merry Christmas

Late 80s dancehall Christmas-style on this one. Papa San describes Santa’s Jamaican delivery schedule, details some of the gifts (balloons, water guns, etc.) that the children will be receiving, runs through some other notable festivities around the calendar and still manages to fit in three gloriously out of tune versions of O Come, All Ye Faithful, Jingle Bells and Joy to the World, all one one side of a 7” single. A bit of a stocking-filler, but worth digging out in December.