When it comes to Christmas music, my favorites tend to be the old classic R&B and soul tracks. The holidays are an emotional time for everyone and no genre of music is filled with more emotion than R&B and soul. And of all the great tunes in those genres, one of the best is the Charles Brown hit "Merry Christmas Baby."
Released in 1947 while Brown was still part of the Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, the song eventually peaked at No. 3 on Billboard‘s R&B Jukebox chart. Brown re-recorded it several times over the years and it has been covered by everyone from Otis Redding and Bruce Springsteen to Chuck Berry and BB King.
The song's first appearance on an album was on the 1956 Hollywood Records release "Merry Christmas Baby," which was one of the earliest R&B Christmas compilation albums. It has been out of print for decades, but on November 5th, it is being rereleased by Real Gone Music. This is the first time it has been released on CD, and it has been remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVison and features liner notes by Bill Dahl.
Along with the Charles Brown hit, the album includes Lowell Fulson’s "Lonesome Christmas (Parts 1 and 2)," which went to #7 on the R&B charts when it was released in 1950. Mabel Scott’s 1947 single "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" topped out on the R&B charts at #14 and the album also includes the classic Jimmy Witherspoon track "Christmas Blues." The entire album is just spectacular and even though you've probably never a number of these songs, you'll add this release to your rotation every Christmas.
Here is the complete track list for the CD, which can be ordered here on Amazon:
- Merry Christmas, Baby – Charles Brown
- Sleighride – Lloyd Glenn Trio
- Christmas Everyday – Johnny Moore’s Blazers
- Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Mabel Scott
- Lonesome Christmas (Part 1) – Lowell Fulson
- Christmas Dreams – Johnny Moore’s Blazers
- Christmas Eve Baby – Johnny Moore’s Blazers
- Christmas Letter – Johnny Moore’s Blazers
- Love for Christmas – Jackson Trio
- Lonesome Christmas (Part 2) – Lowell Fulson
- Christmas Blues – Jimmy Witherspoon
- Jingle Bell Hop – Jackson Trio