Just in time to brighten up your holidays, the Reverend delivers his December Blues Bites review column with a big red bow for your reading enjoyment. In the spirit of the season, this month's column takes a look at a slew of old-school Christmas blues songs courtesy of Legacy Recordings and Document Records.
Legacy's Death Might Be Your Santa Claus is a very cool, limited-edition and numbered single-CD or double-LP set featuring sixteen (eighteen on the CD) vintage songs and sermons, covering the gamut of blues, jazz, and gospel music from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. Featuring artists like Bo Carter (Mississippi Sheiks), John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Tampa Red, Bessie Smith, and Victoria Spivey, songs are intermixed with fiery sermons from the Reverend J.M. Gates to great effect.
British archival label Document Records also has a fine pair of Christmas sets, titled Blues, Blues Christmas. Each set is comprised of two CDs, with 52 songs on volume one and 44 songs on volume two, the material dating from the 1920s through the 1950s. There's a lot to listen to here, and more than enough Christmas cheer courtesy of artists like Lonnie Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Leroy Carr, Sonny Boy Williamson (I and II), Lowell Fulson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and many more. Check out December's Blues Bites column for full reviews of these three cool Yule albums!
Photo courtesy Document Records