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Where Will You Be Christmas Day?
     

Where Will You Be Christmas Day?

 
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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/12/2004
Label:
Dust To Digital
UPC:
0880226000028
catalogNumber:
2

Tracks

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
Blue Rhythm Orchestra   Piano,Reeds,Trumpet,Drums
Earl Johnson & His Dixie Entertainers   Fiddle
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
Vera Hall-Ward   Illustration Concept
Robert Ellen   Composer
Nahum Tate   Composer
Susan Archie   Art Direction
Steven Lance Ledbetter   Producer

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