I confess I have a rather sizeable collection of Christmas LPs & CDs and listen to them whenever I damn well feel like it because each one has to be awfully good to remain in my permanent collection. Thus, they become "anytime music" unrestricted to season or reason. Friends find that a bit eccentric, but I'm pleasing my ears, not theirs. This CD from the impeccable Putumayo people now joins that aggregate of holiday gems, the very first cut here featuring a roaring Christmas Celebration from B.B. King with full band blazing away behind him. Then comes Charles Brown's Santa's Blues with its jiving piano mid-section and Brown's cathouse parlor vocals.
From there, estimables Ray Charles and Ramsey Lewis contribute their swingin' refrains, Lewis particularly rollicking on Here Comes Santa Claus, before giving way to lesser-known but equally talented choices. Randy Greer delivers a vibrantly rhythmic Wrap Yourself in a Christmas Package just before Emilie-Claire Barlow ramps down a bit for a sweet and sexy Santa Baby with strings and Jim Hall-flavored guitar. Topsy Chapman and Lars Edegran kick out a Dixiefied and lamentive The Christmas Blues leading into Riff Ruffin shouting 'n stompin' through Xmas Baby.
My favorites? Greer for his smooth-as-silk be-boppin' and Ruffin for sheer audacity and verve. Lay hold of this disc and the chances are good you won't be much in the mood for a high mass, a good deal more inclined to see if all and sundry mightn't want to emulate Rudolph's glowing schnozz with a bottle of wine and one's sweetie settling in under the hollyhock while the snow falls jealously outside, thwarted in its ambition to put the chill in an increasingly festive Swingin' Santa Soireé.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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