Blues, Blues Christmas Volume 1 1925 – 1955
Double CD x 55 Festive Blues + Gospel tracks, Various artists. Detailed discography.
Includes informative, illustrated 20-page booklet by Jeff Harris. Jewel Case format.
Available as physical CD or Download as FLAC or MP3 complete with liner notes.
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The idea of Christmas themed blues and gospel numbers stretches back to the very dawn of the
recorded genres. “Hooray for Christmas” exclaims Bessie Smith to kick off her soon to be classic “At
the Christmas Ball”, which inaugurated the Christmas blues tradition when it was recorded in
November 1925 for Columbia. A year later, circa December 1926, the gospel Christmas tradition was
launched when the Elkins-Payne Jubilee Singers recorded “Silent Night, Holy Night” for Paramount
Records. After these recordings it was off to the races with numerous Christmas blues numbers
recorded by singers of all stripes, a pace that continued as blues evolved into R&B and then rock and
roll. For some reason there’s far fewer gospel Christmas songs although there were plenty of
Christmas sermons in the 1920’s and 1930’s when recorded sermons rivalled blues in popularity
among black audiences.
Going hand in hand with Christmas is quite a number of New Year’s songs, a good vehicle for
juxtaposing the problems of the past year with the glimmer of hope that the upcoming year will
bring better fortune. Whether these artists sung these numbers as part of their regular repertoire is
unclear but it’s almost certainly the case that many of these songs were recorded at the prompting
of the record companies. Like any business they were always looking for a new angle or gimmick to
sell records and advertised these boldly, often with full-page ads, in black newspapers like the
Perhaps you think this is a bit cynical but then you probably still believe in Santa Clause and good will
towards men! Well, sit back, tip a glass of holiday cheer and enjoy our survey of yuletide classics
spanning the 1920’s through the 1950’s, a simpler, more wholesome time – right!