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Where Will You Be Christmas Day?

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All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
A holiday compilation with a difference, this assembles a couple dozen Christmas-themed recordings from 1917-1959 that represent roots music of all stripes -- blues, gospel, early jazz, early country, Appalachian folk, and even some ethnic sounds of Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Italy, and Ukraine. There are some pretty famous names here, like Leadbelly, Bessie Smith, and Lightnin' Hopkins, as well as some artists who are not as famous but still pretty renowned, like Rev. J.M. Gates, Buell Kazee, and the Maddox Brothers & Rose. Yet as was the case on the Dust-to-Digital label's extraordinary six-CD box set of 1902-1960 spirituals, Goodbye, Babylon, there are a host of ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
A holiday compilation with a difference, this assembles a couple dozen Christmas-themed recordings from 1917-1959 that represent roots music of all stripes -- blues, gospel, early jazz, early country, Appalachian folk, and even some ethnic sounds of Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Italy, and Ukraine. There are some pretty famous names here, like Leadbelly, Bessie Smith, and Lightnin' Hopkins, as well as some artists who are not as famous but still pretty renowned, like Rev. J.M. Gates, Buell Kazee, and the Maddox Brothers & Rose. Yet as was the case on the Dust-to-Digital label's extraordinary six-CD box set of 1902-1960 spirituals, Goodbye, Babylon, there are a host of names here that will be known almost exclusively to serious old-time music collectors. That in itself makes this a pretty interesting and offbeat Christmas anthology. But even if you care nothing for rare record values, it's certainly rawer, more heartfelt, and just more musically interesting than the vast majority of what you'll find in the holiday bin. It's also a reminder of a time when Christmas discs could be relatively joyful and sincere expressions of religion and merrymaking, rather than just excuses to make a quick buck by cashing in on the time of the season. It makes for superior roots music listening whether you're in the holiday spirit or not, but some of the better tracks to keep an ear out for include the Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified Singers' jovial Dixieland jazz-style "Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn," with its thrilling high female background vocal swoops; Leadbelly's highly rhythmic, infectiously joyous "Christmas Is A-Coming"; the exuberant early calypso of Lord Executor's "Christmas Is a Joyful Day"; the shuffling flamenco-like verve of Los Jibaros' "Décimas de Nacimiento"; and the electric blues of Lightnin' Hopkins' "Happy New Year," which verges on rock & roll. Being a single-CD compilation, the packaging isn't as elaborate as other Dust-to-Digital productions like Goodbye, Babylon, but it's typically thoughtful, with a Christmas card-sized booklet of liner notes, coaster, and postcard. Note, also, how the tracks are sequenced almost like a chronological celebration of holiday themes, starting with Vera Hall Ward's "The Last Month of the Year," moving on through Leadbelly's "Christmas Is A-Coming" and Kansas City Kitty's "Christmas Morning Blues," and wrapping up with Hopkins' "Happy New Year." This album deserves a four-star rating for its general musical value; judged by the standards of Christmas/holiday releases, it easily rates a full five stars.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/12/2004
  • Label: Dust To Digital
  • UPC: 880226000028
  • Catalog Number: 2

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Last Month of the Year - Vera Hall-Ward (2:31)
  2. 2 Christ Was Born on Christmas Morn - Cotton Top Mountain Sanctified Singers (3:24)
  3. 3 Christmas Is A-Coming (1:05)
  4. 4 Christmas Is a Joyful Day - Lord Executor (2:46)
  5. 5 Dance Under the Willows (Tanec Pid Werbamy) (3:18)
  6. 6 Décimas de Nacimiento - Los Jibaros (3:22)
  7. 7 Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle (Pastorale Di Natale) - Pasquale Feis (2:52)
  8. 8 Lady Gay (3:03)
  9. 9 Sherburne (1:45)
  10. 10 Holy Babe - Aaron Brown (7:07)
  11. 11 He Was Born in a Manger - Reverend J.M. Gates (3:12)
  12. 12 The Wrong Way to Celebrate Christmas - Rev. Edward Clayborn (2:33)
  13. 13 Santa Claus - Walter Davis (3:07)
  14. 14 Gee, Ain't I Good to You? (3:24)
  15. 15 At the Christmas Ball (3:27)
  16. 16 Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (And Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree) (3:17)
  17. 17 Christmas Morning Blues (3:04)
  18. 18 Christmas in Jail -- Ain't That a Pain - Leroy Carr (3:22)
  19. 19 Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning (3:07)
  20. 20 Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over (2:52)
  21. 21 Breaking Up Christmas (1:58)
  22. 22 Happy New Year Blues - Mary Harris (3:11)
  23. 23 Happy New Year - Lightnin' Hopkins (3:42)
  24. 24 Jingle Bells (2:23)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Leroy Carr Piano, Vocals
Walter Davis Piano, Vocals
Lead Belly Vocals, 12-string Guitar
Bessie Smith Vocals
Henry Townsend Guitar
Peetie Wheatstraw Piano
Sidney DeParis Trumpet
Eddie Heywood Piano
Fats Waller Piano
Don Redman Leader, Alto Saxophone, Vocals
Buell Kazee Banjo, Vocals
Coleman Hawkins Reeds
Pawlo Humeniuk Bass, Violin, Cymbals, sleigh bells
Gerald Clark Guitar
Fletcher Henderson Piano
Lightnin' Hopkins Vocals
Claude Jones Trombone
Cal Maddox Guitar, Vocal Harmony
Don Maddox Fiddle
Fred Maddox Bass, Vocal Harmony
Henry Maddox Mandolin
Rose Maddox Vocals
Roy Nichols Harmonica, Electric Guitar, sleigh bells
Richard K. Spottswood Vinyl Disks
Dave Wilborn Banjo
Charlie Jordan Guitar
Charlie Green Trombone
Joe Green's Novelty Orchestra Vocals
Joe Bussard Vinyl Disks
Pedro Davila Vocals
Kelly Pace Vocals
The Blue Rhythm Orchestra Piano, Reeds, Trumpet, Drums
Earl Johnson & His Dixie Entertainers Fiddle
Lord Beginner Vocals
John "Buddy" Williams Bass
Frank Mare Vinyl Disks
Norman Edmonds Fiddle
Frankie "Half-Pint" Jaxon & Punches Delegates of Pleasure Vocals
Kaiser Marshall Drums
Theodore McCord Reeds
Billy Taylor Bass Horn
Kansas City Kitty Piano, Vocals
Mary Harris Vocals
Technical Credits
Walter Davis Composer
Irving Berlin Composer
Don Redman Arranger
Fred Longshaw Composer
Spud Murphy Composer
Richard K. Spottswood Producer, Text
Robert Vosgien Mastering
Vera Hall-Ward Illustration Concept
Robert Ellen Composer
Nahum Tate Composer
Susan Archie Art Direction
Steven Lance Ledbetter Producer
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