From the album’s booklet notes.
You hold in your hands the third volume of Blues, Blues Christmas, our most wide-ranging collection yet, jumping genres from blues, gospel, jazz, rock, doo-wop and country spanning the 1920’s through the 1960’s, many songs which have not been anthologized before. Now that you have all three volumes, you do of course?, you have hours and hours of music for that next Christmas party, enough music until the eggnog runs out!
Hooray for Christmas!
Christmas comes but once a year, and to me it brings good cheer,
And to everyone, who likes wine and beer
Happy New Year is after that, happy I’ll be that is a fact
That is why I like to hear, folks I say that Christmas is here
Those lines were Sung by Bessie Smith when she recorded At The Christmas Ball in November 1925 for Columbia which not only kicked off a tradition of Christmas blues songs, hundreds of which have been recorded through the years, but looked back to an older tradition. Most of the pre-war Christmas blues recordings have been collected on our first two anthologies but there are a few leftover gems by Bumble Bee Slim, Victoria Spivey, Lil McClintock and Walter Davis. From the post-war era some fine Christmas blues from Leadbelly, Amos Milburn, B.B. King, Jimmy McCracklin, John Lee Hooker and Thelma Cooper. We hear from a fine contingent from the Lone Star State including Lightnin’ Hopkins, Hop Wilson and Freddy King. We turn our attention to the religious side with selections by Rev. JM Gates, Rev. D.C. Rice, Magnolia Five, The Fairfield Four and the Spartanburg Famous Four.
Jumping across the tracks we spotlight some fine country and rockabilly performers including Joe Poovey, Cordell Jackson, Fiddling’ John Carson, Coy McDaniel & Shorty Warren, the Davis Sisters and Vernon Dalhart. If you’re talking about country, real country music, the first of what we know today as “country music” was broadcast by radio and recorded for phonograph by Fiddlin’ John Carson. We bring you a batch of Christmas vocal group numbers I know all too well by the Penguins, The Ravens, The Five Keys, The Larks, Billy Ward and His Dominoes, The Youngsters and The Jackson Trio. In the late 1940’s, early 1950’s the clear delineation between blues, R&B and vocal group music got a little fuzzy with groups becoming harder to classify, eventually morphing into rock and roll. From that era we feature holiday platters by Dee Dee Ford and Oscar McLolli. We jump to the jazz side of the street with selections by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan, the Wardell Gray/Dexter Gordon Quintet and a pair by Duke Ellington.