Sunday, December 14, 2014

Blue Yule - Christmas Blues and R'n'B Classics

Unsurprisingly, this is one of my favorite Xmas comps, simply because the musical stylings are right up my alley.

Many of the tunes are take-offs of popular non-holidays songs, such as "Santa's Messin' With the Kid" by Eddie C. Campbell. Lightning Hopkins gives his usual stellar performance on his "Merry Christmas" and Canned Heat makes a boogie-fueled appearance on their "Christmas Blues" (which apparently, they also recorded with the Chipmunks!). Roy Milton's "Christmas Time Blues" swings in an r'n'b vein while Detroit Junior's "Christmas Day" is a sax-blowing stomper that will get ya dancin' under the mistletoe! Texas Pete Mayes and His Houserockers Blues Band does a nice, slow blues with some hot guitar on "Christmas Holidays" and Charles Brown makes his obligatory appearance with his classic "Merry Christmas Baby". Johnny and Edgar Winter both partake in the Insight's take on "Please Come Home For Christmas" and Big Jack Johnson's "Jingle Bell Boogie" isn't that far off from the Ventures in feel, though with more of a boogie swing.

There's a nice soulful r'n'b feel to Jimmy McCracklin's "Christmas Time - Pt. 1" while Louis Jordan is bluesier than ever on the horn-driven "Santa Claus, Santa Claus". The Voices' "Santa Claus Baby" is an early rock'n'roller and Jimmy Liggins and His Drops of Joy give a sultry swing to "I Want My Baby For Christmas". Sonny Boy Williamson gives his traditional blues-harp feel to his own "Santa Claus" and there's some terrific slow blues guitar in Poppa Hop and His Orchestra's "Merry Christmas Darling". Ya can't go wrong with John Lee Hooker and his "Blues For Christmas" is a nice groover with a full band so not nearly as minimalistic as some of his work, though no less terrific. There's a big change of pace in the slow, vocal chorus of The Pilgrim Travelers' ballad "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and the finale is the return of Lightning Hopkins and his "Happy New Year".

A great one to get you in the holiday spirit!