As promised I return today with the first of my Christmas offerings for you. Today’s festive 45 is perhaps a little less well known than some others, but those of you who regularly stop by this small corner of the interweb should have worked it out by now that just because something is well known doesn’t always make it better!
‘Xmas Twist’ is the B-side to the first single from The Twistin’ Kings and was released on the legendary Motown label in November 1961. Cashing in on the growing Twist dance craze, The Twistin’ Kings are actually ‘The Funk Brothers’, who were the Motown house band performing under a pseudonym. The group only released two singles, ‘White House Twist’ with ‘Xmas Twist’ as the flip, and then ‘Congo Pts 1 & 2’ just two weeks later! Both singles came from their album ‘Twistin’ The World Around’ which was only the second LP to be released on the Motown Label.
The band had one other shot at individual success when they changed their name again and released ‘That Motown Sound’ as Earl Van Dyke and The Soul Brothers (Apparently Berry Gordy instigated the name change as he didn’t want Motown to be associated with funk music). This LP also fell by the wayside, but the band went on to have hit after hit as the backing group on a huge portion of the Motown catalogue.
‘Xmas Twist’ itself is pretty rough, raw and ready and pre-dates the finely honed Motown sound that went onto sell millions of 45s and Lps. The vocals on the 45 are a bit of a mystery with several theories floating about, it’s even been stated that one of vocalists could be the then young Marvin Gaye?? If anyone could shed more light on this, I for one would love to know!
Enjoy ‘Twistin’ Xmas’, stay safe and I’ll be back shortly with another helping!
PS – NEW YEARS EVE FUNK AND SOUL SPECIAL TICKET INFO HERE: