CD Yule Be Miserable (CD 850921),
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Yule Be Miserable

  • 1. Christmas Blues - Ramsey Lewis
    2. 'Zat You Santa Claus? - Louis Armstrong
    3. Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney - Ella Fitzgerald
    4. Blue Christmas - Billy Eckstine
    5. My Birthday Comes on Christmas - Spike Jones
    6. Merry Christmas Baby - B.B. King
    7. Please Come Home For Christmas - Aaron Neville
    8. Stormy Blues - Billie Holiday
    9. Good Morning Blues - Count Basie
    10. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ella Fitzgerald
    11. Nuttin' For Christmas - Spike Jones
    12. Christmas Blues - Eric Reed
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 0001240

  • Credits

    Compilation producers: Ken Druker, Bryan Koniarz.
    Includes liner notes by Harvey Pekar.
    "If you tend to be depressed it gets especially bad during the holidays," the famously depressed Harvey Pekar writes in his liner notes to Verve's Yule Be Miserable. "Everybody's prancing around the Christmas tree...while you lie in bed with a big headache." It's for the neurotics, the cynics, and the Pekar-ish head cases that Verve has compiled this delightfully mean-spirited set. And while it doesn't really go far enough, the 12-song set is a welcome respite from the normal yuletide dreck, if only for the cover painting of a dime store Santa who's drunk for goodness sake. The album's first half features a grooving "Christmas Blues" from Ramsey Lewis, and Billy Eckstine's predictable yet necessary "Blue Christmas." But it's at its bluesy core where Yule Be Miserable really succeeds. Billie Holiday's "Stormy Blues" is as refreshing as a glass of whiskey after a long day of presents, parents, and clenched-teeth pleasantries, while a vintage 1937 side from Count Basie sobers like a holiday hangover. "Santa Claus, Santa Claus," Jimmy Rushing sings. "Don't send me nothing for Christmas but my baby back to me." Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan's vocal flirtation on "Baby, It's Cold Outside" offers a more immediate version of the same randy sentiment. There's no question that Yule Be Miserable could have been better. The two Spike Jones cuts lean too close to novelty to work next to its more cynical material, and the latter-day Aaron Neville and B.B. King songs sound like typical holiday fare. Still, the album's black and bluesy heart is in all the delightfully wrong places. Stack it next to Rhino's Bummed Out Christmas! and Meco's Star Wars Christmas Album, and be sure to stock your minibar. ~ Johnny Loftus

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