This showed up at my doorstep earlier this year, a gift from a generous benefactor, but I haven't pulled it off the shelf until today. Let's listen:
- Boogie Woogie Santa Claus - Angela Strehli: And we're off to a good start! A fun old-fashioned R&B tune with Christmas lyrics and sleigh bells. First recorded in 1948, this arrangement is smokin'.
- Merry Christmas Darling - The Fabulous Thunderbirds: Cover of a disillusioned blues tune by Hop Wilson. Jimmie Vaughan and Kim Wilson deliver on guitar and harp solos, respectfully.
- Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree - Lou Ann Barton: this straight-ahead cover of this classic 1958 Christmas tune offers no surprises, but it's a treat to hear Barton sing it.
- My Christmas Is Hung With Tears - Sarah Brown: a fantastic R&B original from Brown, who not only sings and writes but plays bass. A quick search informs me she was the bass player in the house band at Antone's. Why haven't I heard of heard of her before today? Good stuff.
- Have Yourself A Merry Christmas - Paul Ray: nothing R&B about this one. This big band arrangement swings and Ray does his best Sinatra imitation. Not what I expected from the man who gave Stevie Ray Vaughan his start.
- The Christmas Song - The Kaz Jazz Quartet: a laid back, if not simplistic, instrumental take. A nice change of pace.
- (Rockin') Winter Wonderland - The Fabulous Thunderbirds: Truth in advertising! A rock 'n roll instrumental version of this standard. Again, nice work from Stevie and Kim. One of the better tracks on the compilation.
- Please Come Home For Christmas - Lou Ann Barton: Man-oh-man I like this tune. Much like track 3, this cover of Charles Brown's 1960 blues song doesn't bring anything new to the table except for Barton's vocals. And, really, when a tune is this good, all that's needed is a good singer.
- Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me - Charles Sexton: The Internet asserts this album was originally released in 1983 with this cover art:
- Sweet Little Baby Boy - Angela Strehli: Oops, spoke too soon. The only clunker on the disc, there's just not much to this plodder.
- Let's Make Everyday A Christmas Day - Paul Ray: originally recorded by Blubber Johnson in 1955. I hadn't heard it until now, but I think it deserves to be heard more. Ray's understated piano bar version here is a perfect way to end the compilation.
Upon receipt, I didn't give this one much of a chance. I'll admit it: I was wrong. This has been added to the yearly Christmas rotation.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None