Thursday , February 29 2024
Who needs a silent night? Get 'A Blues Christmas' and get ready to have a blast, Alligator style!

Music Review: Various Artists – ‘A Blues Christmas’

Alligator Records has recently released a vinyl edition of A Blues Christmas, which consists of remastered selections from Alligator’s two legendary CD-only releases, 1992’s The Alligator Records Christmas Collection and 2003’s Genuine Houserockin’ Christmas. The album is also available in MP3 format.

This reviewer received the streaming audio version to review and it does not include one song listed on Amazon, WC Clark’s “Christmas Party.”

Courtesy of Alligator Records

What a Christmas present for blues lovers! Many will fondly remember the earlier albums. Several of the songs have special significance now as the singers are no longer with us, like the great Koko Taylor and Katie Webster. But they are with us through their music, and no one who has ever heard Taylor’s “Merry, Merry Christmas” will ever forget it, or Webster’s “Deck the Halls with Boogie Woogie.” We also lost two members of The Holmes Brothers this year, but they remain with  us as well through their music, and “Back Door Santa” captures their ribald musical mischief. The immortal Carey Bell offers us the delightful “Christmas Train.”

Other artists here are still very much alive and active but it is marvelous to slip back and hear their Christmas classics. We get more grown up views of Santa with Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials’ “I’m Your Santa” and Shemekia Copeland’s sultry “Stay a Little Longer, Santa.” Little Charlie and the Nightcaps continue the grown up Santa theme with “Santa Claus,” featuring some red hot harmonica, and Roomful of Blues takes a different approach to the subject with “Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues?”

Michael “Iron Man” Burks gives us a take on the ”Lonely Christmas” theme with “Christmas Snow.” Charlie Musselwhite provides a fantastic instrumental version of “Silent Night” on harmonica (with some tasty piano as well). Elvin Bishop also provides a mesmerizing instrumental version of “The Little Drummer Boy,” with scintillating guitar work. And Marcia Ball gives us an all-out zydeco Christmas party with “Christmas Fais Do Do.” If this does not get your feet moving, get checked out. You may be dead.

Who needs a silent night? Get A Blues Christmas and get ready to have a blast, Alligator style!

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Courtesy of Alligator Records


About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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