It’s not enough to compile a damned Christmas album in the 100 degree temperatures of a Los Angeles summer but now that Ted Carroll is busting my balls for an article for some magazine he runs, and its part of the original deal from 1999…... he says.
What can I say to make you all go out and buy a Christmas record to go with your turkey? I mean this one is as far from a turkey as you can get. It covers 30 years of Rhythm and Bluesin’ with performances from such great stars as the Blues Boy B.B. King, Mr Lowell Fulson, the mellow tones of Jesse Belvin and the down home boogie of Smokey Hogg. There is some great doo wop on there from the Voices, Hollywood Flames meets the Harlem Shuffle, Debonaires later to be funk meisters Señor Soul and our very own creation the Elves. Hey guys - ring in if you are still out there, you’ve waited 48 years for this little beauty to be heard! That’s just one of three ‘new to your ears’ cuts on this essential collection. Why John Dolphin canned Merry Christmas Baby by Mari Jones & Johnny Moore Orch we’ll never know, a finer platter of mellow blues with a sublime Johnny Moore guitar it would be hard to find. And who knows why Nehemiah “Riff” Ruffin’s Xmas Baby has waited for 50 years, his baby’s back and his tale of Christmas cheer would lift the most miserable singleton at this time of family and festive joy. Talking about uplifting, Oscar McLollie Digs That Crazy Santa Claus and you will too.
But we haven’t forgotten the real meaning of Christmas and ole Oscar sure reminds us of that with the shimmering doo wopper God Gave Us Christmas as does Modern Records’ very own Hadda Brooks closing the set with St Bing’s White Christmas.
Herb Fenstein, poolside at the Beverly Terrace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA.