CD 20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: Blue Christmas (CD 990032),
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20th Century Masters - The Christmas Collection: Blue Christmas
1. Merry Christmas, Baby - B.B. King
2. Santa's Messin' With the Kid - Eddie C. Campbell
3. Jingle Bell Jamboree - Keb' Mo'
4. Please Come Home for Christmas - Charles Brown
5. Five Pound Box of Money - Michelle Willson
6. Christmas Time, Pt. 1 - Duke Robillard Band/Billy Boy Arnold
7. Please Let Me Be Your Santa Claus - William Clarke
8. Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin' - Albert King
9. Christmas Tears - Freddy King
10. Christmas Blues - Canned Heat
11. Santa Claus - Sonny Boy Williamson
12. Merry, Merry Christmas - Koko Taylor
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 000023202
Criss Johnson; Duke Robillard; John Porter; Leonard Chess; Michael Abene; Andy McKaie; Phil Chess; Ron Levy; William Clarke; Koko Taylor; Bruce Iglauer
Personnel: Eddie C. Campbell, Freddie King, Albert King, B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Bob Hite , William Clarke, Billy Boy Arnold (vocals, harmonica); Charles Brown (vocals, piano); Michelle Willson, Koko Taylor (vocals); Leon Warren, Criss Johnson, Danny Caron, Greg Verginio, Duke Robillard, Joe Craig Jones, Calvin Louden, Fred Jordan , Henry Vestine, Luther Tucker, Robert Lockwood, Jr. (guitar); Doug James , Scott Shetler (saxophone); Andrew Clark , Walter King (alto saxophone); Clifford Solomon, Gordon "Sax" Beadle (tenor saxophone); Barry Fleisher (baritone saxophone); James Bolden (trumpet); Fred Kaplan, James Toney, Ken Cook, Matt McCabe, Otis Spann, Sonny Thompson (piano); Jeremiah Riley (organ); Tommy Eyre (keyboards); Steve Brown , Calep Emphrey, Jeffery McAllister, Fred Below, Lester Dorsie, Frank Alexander , Bob Newham, Laval Belle, Adolfo de la Parra, Philip Paul, Gaylord Birch (drums); Tony Coleman (tambourine).
Photographers: Peter Amft; Ebet Roberts; James Fraher; Val Vilmer.
This disc of holiday-themed blues spanning four decades throws in a couple of ringers like Charles Brown's over-anthologized "Please Come Home for Christmas" and Albert King's "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" with an imaginative choice of more obscure fare. Michelle "Evil Gal" Willson's "Five Pound Box of Money" nicely updates Pearl Bailey's classic with all the sass left intact. Sonny Boy Williamson's growling "Santa Claus" is a lost Christmas treasure and Billy Boy Arnold's version of Jimmy McCracklin's "Christmas Time, Pt. 1" (with Duke Robillard's band) is a real gem, not to mention a song few blues fans will already own. Hip-O raids the Alligator vaults for the late harmonica master William Clarke's slow, bluesy "Please Let Me Be Your Santa Claus" and Koko Taylor's "Merry, Merry Christmas," both interestingly originals in a genre that doesn't necessarily require them. Keb' Mo''s "Jingle Bell Jamboree" -- another original -- is rescued from Sony's (too) eclectic All-Star Christmas, a compilation most blues fans would not even want, and Freddie King's "Christmas Tears" is another relative rarity that's a nearly classic representation of King at his finest, complete with his Texas-style slashing guitar licks. This is a smartly chosen and well-sequenced collection that any blues lover -- and some new to the genre -- will enjoy every holiday season. ~ Hal Horowitz
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