Just look at the cover of this festive CD and you get a glimpse of blues from the past, blues from the present and blues yet-to-come. This Santa's stocking is stuffed with maximum Mojo! Unlike the myriad of Christmas discs that flood music stores at this time of year, this disc wasn't made to sell out and cash in. If you strip away the Santa hat and Christmas song titles and lyrics, you are left with a real blues disc. This 55 minute Yuletide collection is comprised of 12 songs (9 are originals) from artists who have releases on Electro-Fi or have assisted those who have. It's a blues who's who of American and Canadian artists well known for their live and/or studio performances.
Mel Brown is joined by his regular backing band, the Homewreckers, on "Don't Plan No Party This Christmas" and "Winter Wonderland". His guitar is snowy and jazzy while a rich, heavy bass and organ hold the rhythm. The former reflects sentiments shared by too many at this time of year. The latter is guaranteed to put you in the spirit of Christmas even if you haven't experienced it before. Jack de Keyzer takes listeners on a blues history tour called "The Twelve Blue Days of Christmas. Many styles of blues are demonstrated including: delta, swing and Chicago. There are even elements of rock and blues-rock. If there ever was a tune which accurately portrayed Christmas Blues, this is it. Jack's guitar is precisely-timed and expressive while Michael Fonfara's keys shine as bright as snow on a sunny morning. You can see snowflakes falling when you listen to Curley Bridges' "White Christmas". Bucky Berger provides a heavy shuffle on drums while the brass and ivory solos will surely convert the most stringent Scrooge. Anson Funderburgh's slide guitar will melt the deepest snowpile on Mark Hummel's "Thank You Santa Clause". Rick Fines depicts the trials of celebrating the season in an urban centre with his rural heart on the foot-tapping, acoustic number "Country Christmas Blues". Throwing a Christmas party? Be sure to throw Fathead's "Tonight Feels Like Christmas" into the mix. Their harp player, Al Lerman, dazzles on it and on Willie Smith's "One Day Till Christmas". On Morgan Davis' "We Need A Fire", Rod Phillips' B3 organ is as good as on any non-Christmas release. Detailing all the events and featuring all the characters, Chris Whiteley tells the story of the famous Christmas Eve birth on "Lonely Shepherd". His vocals and harmonica are impressive while Dan Whiteley and Pat Carey add flashy guitar and sax.
Each track was individually produced on this disc which features other notable artists such as: Rusty Zinn, Alec Fraser, Snooky Pryor, Pinetop Perkins and Alabama Red. Unlike fighting for a parking spot at the mall, you won't tire of this one easily.
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This review is copyright © 2002 by Tim Holek, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
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