Little Drummer Boy
Album: The Spirit Of Christmas, Columbia 39415, January 1986.
The tracks of this album were recorded at RPM International in Los Angeles – almost all of them with members of the Ray Charles Orchestra – in the fall of 1984.
The one exception was this tune, which was recorded “off season” (i.e. in a hiatus between tours, maybe in early 1985 before Ray hit the road again) with a few LA session musicians, amongst whom James Gadson.
Arranged by Ray Charles and Larry Muhoberac.
Ray had toyed with the idea of a Christmas album for many years. Proof of that can be found in a documentary item produced by the ABC news magazine 20/20, aired on 12 November 1981 – with a few seconds where you can see Ray working in his studio, experimenting with a recording of Little Drummer Boy (in a radically different arrangement).
Gospel concert 2002:
Update 14.02.2021: the video of this performance is no longer available, please let me know in the comments below if you have any footage, thanks — Cyd