Merry Christmas Baby

Posted on December 16, 2010 by

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

Artist: Various
Title: Merry Christmas Baby
Label: Gusto K-5018X
Released: 1978
Genre: R&B

Gusto mined the vaults of King, Federal and Hollywood Records to assemble this collection. This budget line album from Gusto Records album leads of with another version of Charles Brown’s “Merry Christmas Baby.” But after that, the only holiday standard you’re going to find among the 16 tracks is Bullmoose Jackson’s version of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

And don’t be fooled by the Jackson Trio’s “Jingle Bell Hop” or Lloyd Glenn’s “Sleigh Ride.” They only share the names of more popular holiday songs. But that’s not to say they don’t pack the same holiday cheer. “Jingle Bell Hop” is actually a honking sax version of the ”Jingle Bell” riff.  “Sleigh Ride” has no resemblance to the Leroy Anderson composition. They’re both angular instrumentals sharing that same characteristic to remind us it’s a Christmas song; the rocking sleigh bells.

Mabel Scott’s 1948 recording of “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” saw enough airplay to warrant a cover by Patti Page in 1950 and also a Brian Setzer version in 2002.  I’ll stick with Maybelle’s version, Patti’s was a cover with nothing changing in the arrangement except the ethnicity.

Other artists included on this collection Freddy King, Johnny Moore’s Blazers, Lowell Fulson, Jimmy Witherspoon and Billy Ward and his Dominoes. There have been a multitude of R&B Christmas collection compiled on CD and in 1988, most of these tracks showed up on a collection called, Rhythm & Blues Christmas (not to be confused with the LP from 1978) but it also contained some crap. If you can find this re-issue, or the original King press from 1961 or 1962, those would be the ones to get.

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