With a new take on Christmas tunes; Evidence Records and producer Carla Olson have teamed with some of the best entertainers in blues and blues rock to come up with a full sixteen song set of instrumentals only. Doing some of the most well-known Christmas songs, the blockbuster-all-star cast digs in with clever interpretations and renditions.
Here is the alphabetized list of performers: Jack Andrews, Becky Barksdale, Michael Burks, Sugar Blue, Albert Carter, Tommy Castro, Kirk Fletcher, Roy Gaines, Barry Goldberg, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Michael Hill, John 'Juke' Logan, Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Oscher, Roy Rogers, Otis Rush, Son Seals, Guitar Shorty, South Side Slim, Walter Trout, Joe Louis Walker, Ernie Watts, Kris Wiley, Kim Wilson, and Rusty Zinn. Behind everyone is the stage band: guitarist Denny Freeman, bass man Phil Upchurch, organist Deacon Jones, and Alvino Bennett on the drums. The horns were provided by saxist Tom Jr. Morgan, Johnny V on trumpet, and trombonist Rick Moring.
Opening with three guitarists (Hill, Gaines, and South Side Slim) on the opening "White Christmas", the pace and non-random musical pairing jump up. Producer Olson took great pains selecting lead performers and instrumentation for each tune. The jazzy flair here echoes the complimenting horns and backup musicians more than they do the aforementioned artists. Killer cuts abound, almost letting you forget the holiday material, like: Guitar Shorty and Oscher on guitars with Charlie Musselwhite wailing on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Hear "Little Drummer Boy" with slide lap steel by Hart, or "Deck The Halls" with Son Seals plucking, or maybe "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" with Goldberg laying out some great piano gifts for your enjoyment. You might want to pick this up and just "Let It Snow" with Burks and Harris.
This is not your conventional holiday blues CD. You won't mind breaking this out at the holiday party. Every bit a fantastic collection of new arrangements of holiday classics. Hats off to producer Carla Osborne and Evidence Records ... and glad tidings for sure!
Evidence Music; 1100 E. Hector St., Ste. 392; Conshohocken, PA 19428:
or e-mail EvidenceMusic@aol.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.