Blues, Blues Christmas: 1925-1955

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Christmas and the blues might seem at first like a strange combination, given that the music of the holiday season is usually joyful, hopeful, and bright, but no other time of the year is so good at showing you what you don't have, and what you can't get, and if you have the blues at Christmas, well, it's going to be a pretty heavy dose. This generous two-disc set from Document Records features 52 tracks of vintage African-American Christmas-themed blues and gospel pieces with a couple of street sermons thrown in recorded between 1925 and 1955, ranging from down-and-out laments and jailhouse moans to surprising and occasionally risqué requests for what Santa can bring ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Christmas and the blues might seem at first like a strange combination, given that the music of the holiday season is usually joyful, hopeful, and bright, but no other time of the year is so good at showing you what you don't have, and what you can't get, and if you have the blues at Christmas, well, it's going to be a pretty heavy dose. This generous two-disc set from Document Records features 52 tracks of vintage African-American Christmas-themed blues and gospel pieces with a couple of street sermons thrown in recorded between 1925 and 1955, ranging from down-and-out laments and jailhouse moans to surprising and occasionally risqué requests for what Santa can bring down the chimney. Highlights on the first disc include the opening track, the joyous "Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn," recorded in 1925 by comedian and female impersonator Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon; Harry Crafton's "Bring That Cadillac Back" a Cadillac might not be the best gift if your girlfriend likes to ramble from 1947; Tampa Red's amazing, ringing slide guitar tone on "Christmas and New Year's Blues" from 1936; and the bizarre, disturbing field recording of "Junior's a Jap Girl's Christmas for His Santa Claus," sung by Willie Blackwell for Alan Lomax in Arkansas in 1942. Other high points include the charming "Christmas Boogie," recorded in 1950 by piano prodigy he was only ten years old when this recording was made Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson and the intense, bottled-up street-corner sermon "The Wrong Way to Celebrate Xmas," recorded by Rev. Edward Clayborn in 1928. The second disc yields even more holiday gems, including the bottleneck guitar attack of Black Ace Babe Karo Lemon Turner on 1937's "Christmas Time Blues Beggin' Santa Claus"; Leroy Carr's stark and brilliant "Christmas in Jail" from 1929; a breezy, bouncing "When Jesus Was Born" by gospel harmony quartet the Sons of Heaven who were really the Selah Jubilee Singers doing a little moonlighting -- which they did often, also recording as the Jubilators, the Southern Harmonaires, and the Larks from 1948; and the sparse, stunning "Christmas Time Blues" by the mysterious Boll Weavil Willie McNeil, also from 1948. A marvelous collection, Blues, Blues Christmas is a refreshing addition to the more standard holiday material that prevails during the season.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/8/2005
  • Label: Document
  • UPC: 714298320923
  • Catalog Number: 32209

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn - Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon (3:32)
  2. 2 Christmas Morning Blues (2:38)
  3. 3 Hep Cat's Holiday (2:38)
  4. 4 Christmas Blues (2:43)
  5. 5 Junior's a Jap Girl's Christmas for His Santa Claus (5:02)
  6. 6 Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (And Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree) (3:20)
  7. 7 Trim Your Tree - Jimmy Butler (1:56)
  8. 8 Christmas Blues (3:00)
  9. 9 Bring That Cadillac Back - Doc Bagby (2:45)
  10. 10 Christmas Man Blues (2:56)
  11. 11 Hello Santa Claus (3:00)
  12. 12 Christmas and No Santa Claus (3:11)
  13. 13 Love for Christmas (2:42)
  14. 14 Happy New Year Darling (2:43)
  15. 15 Christmas & New Year's Blues - Tampa Red (3:28)
  16. 16 Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby (2:59)
  17. 17 Christmas Spirit - Julia Lee & Her Boy Friends (2:52)
  18. 18 At the Christmas Ball (3:30)
  19. 19 How Will You Spend Christmas - Rev. A.W. Nix (3:27)
  20. 20 Xmas Blues (2:47)
  21. 21 How I Hate to See Xmas Come Around (3:00)
  22. 22 Christmas Date Boogie - Joe Turner (2:38)
  23. 23 Christmas Boogie - Frankie "Sugar Chile" Robinson (2:19)
  24. 24 The Christmas Song (2:47)
  25. 25 Happy New Year - Lightnin' Hopkins (3:18)
  26. 26 The Wrong Way to Celebrate Xmas - Rev. Edward Clayborn (2:28)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Santa Claus - Bo Carter (3:17)
  2. 2 Christmas Time Blues (Beggin' Santa Claus) - Black Ace (2:49)
  3. 3 Happy New Year Blues - Mary Harris (3:13)
  4. 4 Christmas Christmas Blues (3:28)
  5. 5 Happy New Year, Baby (2:47)
  6. 6 Faraway Christmas Blues - Little Esther & Mel Walker (3:23)
  7. 7 Christmas Morning Blues - Sonny Boy Williamson [II] (3:27)
  8. 8 Christmas in Jail - Leroy Carr (3:15)
  9. 9 Christmas Mornin' Blues (3:19)
  10. 10 Did You Spend Christmas Day in Jail? - Reverend J.M. Gates (2:57)
  11. 11 Death Might Be Your Santa Claus - Reverend J.M. Gates (3:04)
  12. 12 Happy New Year Blues (2:58)
  13. 13 New Year's Eve Blues - Smokey Hogg (2:46)
  14. 14 Christmas Blues (2:57)
  15. 15 When Was Jesus Born - The Sons of Heaven (2:38)
  16. 16 I Want a Present for Christmas - J.B. Summers (2:33)
  17. 17 Boogie Woogie Santa Claus - Lionel Hampton & His Orchestra (2:46)
  18. 18 New Year's Resolution Blues - Roy Milton & His Solid Senders (2:32)
  19. 19 Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues - Sonny Boy Williamson [II] (2:37)
  20. 20 Let Me Hang My Stockings in Your Christmas Tree - Roosevelt Sykes (2:58)
  21. 21 The Santa Claus Crave (3:23)
  22. 22 Santa Claus - Walter Davis (3:05)
  23. 23 Christmas Morning Blues - Victoria Spivey (3:30)
  24. 24 Christmas Time Blues - Boll Weavil (3:09)
  25. 25 Empty Stocking Blues - Johnny Moore's Three Blazers (3:06)
  26. 26 Boogie Woogie Santa Claus - Les Welch & His Orchestra (2:14)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Scrapper Blackwell Guitar
Bumble Bee Slim Vocals
Leroy Carr Piano, Vocals
Bo Carter Guitar, Vocals
Harry "Fats" Crafton Guitar, Vocals
Walter Davis Piano, Vocals
Floyd Dixon Piano, Vocals
Blind Lemon Jefferson Guitar, Vocals
Lonnie Johnson Guitar
Willie Love Piano
Amos Milburn Piano, Vocals
Roy Milton Drums, Vocals
Johnny Otis Vibes
Bessie Smith Vocals
Victoria Spivey Vocals
Roosevelt Sykes Piano, Vocals
Henry Townsend Guitar
Peetie Wheatstraw Piano
Titus Turner Vocals
Tiny Grimes Guitar
Eddie Heywood Piano
Philly Joe Jones Drums
Julia Lee Piano, Vocals
Big Jay McNeely Tenor Saxophone
Speckled Red Piano
Oscar Moore Guitar
Jack Marshall Guitar
Red Prysock Tenor Saxophone
Tampa Red Guitar, Vocals
Don Wilkerson Tenor Saxophone
Cecil Gant Piano, Vocals
Ralph Willis Guitar, Vocals
Butterbeans & Susie Vocals
John Hardee Tenor Saxophone
Chuck Barksdale Bass
Dallas Bartley Bass
Leard Bell Drums
Benny Carter Alto Saxophone
Bob Call Piano
Harper Cosby Banjo
Mario Delagarde Bass
Porter Grainger Piano
William K. "Billy" Hadnott Bass
Will Hatcher Mandolin
Shelton Hemphill Clarinet
Walter Henry Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone
Andrew "Smokey" Hogg Guitar, Vocals, Guitar
Lorenzo Holden Tenor Saxophone
Camille Howard Piano, Vocals
Elmore James Guitar
Charley Jordan Guitar
Kansas City Kitty & Georgia Tom Vocals
Pete "Guitar" Lewis Guitar
Fred Longshaw Piano
Robert Lee McCoy Guitar
Punch Miller Cornet
Johnny Miller Bass
Elzadie Robinson Vocals
Johnny Rogers Guitar
Peter Sanders Washboard
Hosea Sapp Trumpet
Henry Scott Piano
Paul Thomas Saxophone
Danny Turner Alto Saxophone
Leonard Ware Bass
George Washington Trombone
Devonia Williams Piano
Sonny Boy Williamson [II] Harmonica, Vocals
Charlie Jordan Guitar, Vocals
Mel Walker Vocals
Sammy Benskin Piano, Celeste
Alvin Raglin Bass
Preacher Lee Graves Trumpet
Doc Bagby Piano
Gatemouth Moore Vocals
Alden Bunn Guitar, Group Member
Jimmy Butler Vocals
Bertha "Chippie" Hill Vocals
Thermon Ruth Vocals, Group Member
Reverend J.M. Gates Vocals
Georgia Tom Piano
Don Johnson Trumpet
Herman Flintall Alto Saxophone
Arthur L. Hubbard Trombone
Sam Lovett Drums
J.B. Summers Vocals
Buck Turner Guitar, Vocals
Russell Royster Trumpet
Mabel Scott Vocals
Ellis Walsh Drums
Austin Powell Guitar
Minor W. Robinson Drums
Bill Gaither Guitar, Tenor Saxophone
Larry Darnell Vocals
Willie Blackwell Guitar, Vocals
Eddie Morgan Piano
Geechie Smith Trumpet
Johnny Moore Band Guitar
Cathy Cooper Vocals
Herbie Miles Vocals, Guitar (Tenor)
Ernie Price Ukulele
Felix Gross Vocals
Rev. A.W. Nix Vocals
Honey Hill Piano
Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon & Punches Delegates of Pleasure Accordion, Vocals, Group Member
Junius Parker Vocals, Group Member
Jimmy Gorham Vocals, Group Member
Lemuel Tally Bass Saxophone, Vocals
John Anderson Trumpet
Dave Cavanaugh Tenor Saxophone
William "Billy" Brown Guitar
Eddie Nicholson Drums
Johnny Blevins Guitar
Richard McNally Trumpet
Johnny Brown Guitar
Nat OToole Saxophone
Peter Piercy Piano
Billy Smith Tenor Saxophone
James VonSteeler Tenor Saxophone
Joe Willie Guitar
Boll Weavil Guitar, Vocals
Joe Howard Tenor Saxophone
Calvin Vaughan Drums
Mary Harris Vocals
Technical Credits
Leroy Carr Composer
Walter Davis Composer
Lonnie Johnson Composer
Roosevelt Sykes Composer
Elzadie Robinson Composer
Joe Stone Contributor
Sonny Boy Williamson I Composer
Jimmy Witherspoon Composer
Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey Composer
Dave Dexter Jr. Composer
Reverend J.M. Gates Contributor
Gary Atkinson Producer
Joe Josea Composer
Red Burns Composer
Monroe Tucker Composer
Andrew Hogg Composer
B.K. Turner Composer
Willie Blackwell Composer
Unidentified Prisoner Composer
Herbie Miles Composer
Traditional Composer
The Cats & the Fiddle Composer
Rev. A.W. Nix Contributor
Doug Byers Contributor
Rolf Beleman Contributor
Albert Elam Contributor
Adam Green Contributor
Jeff Harris Liner Notes
Kevin Witt Graphic Design
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