Christmas Songs

Christmas Songs:

Carlene Davis is sure that she first performed Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come To The Ghetto?) live at one of the several concerts in rural towns that she was doing at the time.

She pointed out that it came at a time when she was gathering momentum, Stealing Love on the Side, Like Old Friends Do and Going Down to Paradise making an impact. Then "here comes Christmas, boom!", the song giving that extra edge on stage as well as enhancing the catalogue.

Davis remembered, too, that when Cowan was writing Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come To The Ghetto?) she was playing the guitar as he was coming up with the melody.

At the recording session, the live feel, singing as the musicians were playing, was crucial. "It's live, it's real," she said, adding that the same approach was taken to her most recent album. "When I listen to Santa Claus today, there is this warmth in that recording," she said.

popular demand

Davis last performed the song in Christmas 2008, and said "especially when we are travelling, people always ask for it".

"People don't see it as a Christmas song. It is a commentary on us, where we are. They are feeling what the writer was feeling," she said.

Tommy Cowan had that unmistakable special feeling about Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come To The Ghetto?).

"When a special song comes along, there is something that tells you," he said. He said with Winnie Mandela the neighbours came out and started dancing. When he wrote Forward Jah Jah Children, "I was so excited I came out and woke everybody up". Neighbour Jacob Miller, who performed the song, was among them.

special feeling

That special feeling came for This Island Needs Jesus. However, Cowan said that despite knowing that you have a significant song you still have to go out and push it, pointing to Fredlocks' Seven Miles of Black Starliners, as one that got the support after it had been out for some time.

Spotting the hit songs became an art of sort at Dynamic Sounds and Cowan said once Byron Lee celebrated that the studio had had a hit for every month of a particular year.

As Christmas Day fast approaches, Davis will be performing Santa Claus (Do You Ever Come To The Ghetto?) in Atlanta and West Palm Beach, USA.

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