Thanksgiving is over, and the air at the malls and stores around Atlanta is full of Christmas music, most of it pretty generic and very little of it blues. Yet, there is great holiday blues music out there, and I present herewith a purely subjective list, in no particular order, of blues recordings for Christmas:
1. Alligator Records Christmas Collection: This gem from 1992 is my personal favorite. From the late Koko Taylor’s blistering version of “Merry, Merry Christmas” to Elvin Bishop’s take on “The Little Drummer Boy” to “Deck the Halls with Boogie Woogie” from the dearly missed Katie Webster, this CD will keep you rocking through the entire holiday season.
2. Alligator Records Genuine Houserockin’ Music: The other Christmas collection from Alligator is equally awesome., with artists suh as Koko Taylor, Carey Bell, The Holmes Brothers, and more. doing contemporary songs for the season. Songs include “A Bluesman’s Christmas,” “Back Door Santa,” “Fattening the Turkey”, and 13 more selections.
3. Blue Yule is a must for traditional blues fans, with its selections by John Lee Hooker, Louis Jordan, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Sonny Boy Williamson, as well as Canned Heat and Johnny and Edgar Winter. Well-known songs such as “Please Come Home for Chrismas” and “Merry Christmas Baby” abide comfortably with lesser known gems like “Santa’s Messin” with the Kid” and “jingle bell Boogie.”
4. The Best of B.B. King: Christmas Collection: Of course, you can’t have the blues for Christmas without the master himself, B.B. King. This CD features B.B. doing classics like “Back Door Santa,” “Please Come Home for Christmas,” and even “Auld Lang Syne,” but my favorite is the sly “Christmas Comes But Once a Year.”
5.Hipster’s Holiday: Vocal Jazz & R ‘n B Classics This last selection is worth it if only for the original Eartha Kitt version of “Santa Baby” from 1953. But it also contains such fantastic rarities as Louis Armstrong’s “‘Zat You, Santa Claus?” and Pearl Bailey’s hilarious “Five Pound Bag of Money.” Definitely worth the investment.
That’s it for my top picks.What are yours?.