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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Monday, December 9, 2013

Document Records - Blues, Blues Christmas Volume 3 - New release Review

I just received the newest release, Blues, Blues Christmas Volume 3 and it's a lot of fun! Led Belly opens with Christmas Is Coming, a rudimentary Led Belly chant blues followed by Rev JM Gates in a rousing Gettin' Ready For Christmas. Victoria Spivey does a great job on I Ain't Gonna Let You See My Santa Claus, a great blues number. John Lee Hooker sings and plays Blues For Christmas in great style and it goes without saying that his older work stand strongly on it's own merit. Johnny Hooks plays a nice sax part on this track as well. Dee Dee Ford does a cool shuffle number, Good Morning Blues. On The Penguins, Jingle Jangle, Christmas and the blues sees a rhumba beat. One of my favorite tracks on the first cd of this two cd release is The Magnolia Five singing a solid early gospel/ field call version of The Holy Baby (acapella). The Famous Jubilee Singers do a straight up gospel rendition of Go Tell It On The Mountain which of course is a strong stand alone tune. Cordell Jackson does Rock And Roll Christmas, an early rock a billy style track with time appropriate steel guitar. Coy McDaniel & Shorty Warren do a country (real country) track Christmas Choo Choo Train. This is a fun little track with nice vocal harmonies and simple accompaniment and soloing. The Davies Sisters sing the Christmas Boogie, catching a real super groove and impeccable vocal harmonies. Thelma Cooper belts out I Need A Man, a swing blues track. Another of the best tracks on disc one, has a super sax solo by an unidentified sax player. Jimmy McCracklin steps up with a more modern blues cut, Christmas Time Part 1. Wiley Kizart plays a real sweet sax solo on this track backing McCracklin's vocals. Bumble Bee Slim does a classical blues interpretation of Santa Claus Bring Me A new Woman. This is one of thise blues tracks that you would just say was good blues if you never heard the words. Nice construction and execution. Ella Fitzgerald joins Louis Jordan for the big band ballad track Baby It's Cold Outside. Of course the vocals are flawless. Amos Milburn does his standard piano shuffle blues on Christmas (Comes Once A Year). This is a cool track on it's own as well with Milburn not only right on with his vocals but also on keys. Freddy King steps up with classic Christmas Tears and does what Freddy does best, call and response with his own vocal and guitar. Terrific. Another country song, this time with a Texas Swing, Jo Poovey and the Big "D" Boys deliver on Santa's Helper. Cajun style Fiddlin' John Carson gets your feet tappin on Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over. Wrapping the first disc is Wardell Gray with the Dexter Gordon Quintet and Jingle Jangle Jump, another big band swing track. Disc 2 opens with classic Lightnin' Hopkins and Santa Claus, my favorite track on the release. Hopkins has a special style and this is it. Jimmy McCracklin is back with Christmas Time 2 and a cool easy swing blues and another thundering sax solo from Kizart. Hop Wilson accompanied by Elmore Nixon with great piano sings a smokin blues track, Merry Christmas Darling, also adding some cool slide. Duke Ellington Orchestra does a classic instrumental of the Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy. Really smooth. Ozie Ware joining Ellington's Hot Five sings a super blues vamp, Santa Claus, Bring My Man Back,  followed by Barney Bigard on clarinet and Freddie Jenkins on trumpet. Rev. Rice's Sanctified Singers does a revival style Who Do You Call That Wonderful Counselor. Spartanburg Famous Four do a really solid acapella, Go Where I Send Thee. Super! The Ravens perform a very classic and straight up version of Silent Night for the traditionalists. The Youngsters sing a playful Christmas In Jail, a light hearted sing track. The Jackson Trio really rock out with Jingle Bell Hop, a blend between rock and new Orleans jazz. Very cool instrumental track. Cordell Jackson rocks the joint with Be-Boppers Christmas. Vernon Dalhart sings a very period piece in Santa Claus That's Me. This is a clever UK based track with simple accompaniment and fiddle. Lil McClintock has a driving country blues style on Don't Think I'm Santa Claus with only simple acoustic guitar and vocal. Walter Davis does a nice piano blues, New "Santa Claus" and his vocals are gripping. Very nice. BB King rolls out is the kings typical with full orchestra on Christmas Celebration but of course adds some tasty guitar riffs to his already super vocals. The Larks do big band swing Christmas To New Years. The Five Keys do 50'S style ballad on It's Christmas Time, a strong vocal harmony track. Oscar McLolli and His Honey Jumpers roll out a really swinging blues track, Dig That Crazy Santa Claus and the title tells a lot. Done in a light hearted manner, this track is a super choice to begin the wrap up of this set. Billy Ward And His Dominoes perform a multivoice Ringing In A Brand New Year. Last up is Ella Fitzgerald singing the ballad, The Secret Of Christmas. Fitzgerald has always been one of the benchmarks for vocalists and she does a super job here.

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