SOUNDS OF BLUE
2013 Seasons Greetings: Five Christmas/Holiday Recordings
By BOB PUTIGNANO
Since its ‘65 debut Vince Guaraldi’s trio LP “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has stood-out as a Christmas classic. The much-loved Peanuts animated special was an overnight sensation when it first aired on national television, and this hip soundtrack introduced innumerable amounts of children to jazz music. Original compositions like ("Skating", "Linus and Lucy", "and Christmas is Coming") are brilliant, quirky and humorous, and memorable jazz compositions of substance. Guaraldi was extremely gifted interpreting Charles Schulz's characters into fascinating musical forms. The score also includes favorite Christmas carols plus three bonus tracks that were not issued on the original LP. This CD edition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is unique from its predecessors as the deluxe packaging is glorious and additionally includes a twenty page booklet. It s called the “Snoopy Doghouse Edition” as the CD is housed in a sleeve that cleverly unfolds to a replica of Snoopy’s decorative abode, that also comes with cut-out replicas of the Peanuts gang Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown with individual stands for each figure. Spread the Christmas spirit by setting-up and displaying this entire package beneath your tree, then fire-up your CD player and listen to this new edition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” www.ConcordMusicGroup.com
Originally issued on Atlantic Records' subsidiary label Cotillion, “Funky Christmas” is a holiday compilation offering performances by various soul and jazz artists. All in all six artists are highlighted; Luther who later went solo as Luther Vandross, John Edwards, Margie Joseph, and the Impressions were all well known soul acts. Plus two jazz stars saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Willis “Gatortail” Jackson. Each performer contributes two songs per for a total of twelve tracks. Vandross was just twenty-five when these two tracks were waxed and are difficult to find elsewhere. John Edwards who later joined the Spinners is produced by the legendary David Porter. Margie Joseph is produced by Motown’s Lamont Dozier. Long gone were Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler from the Impressions but these covers of “Silent Night,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” are memorable. On the jazz side tracks by “Papa” Lou Donaldson and Willis “Gatortail” Jackson are tasteful instrumentals that are well known covers but unfortunately (jazz aficionados need to know) no individual musician credits are provided in the liners. This edition marks its CD debut, and adds 2013 liners by book author Gene Sculatti who also wrote for Billboard & Rolling Stone magazine. www.RealGoneMusic.com
Fifteen Christmas tunes, your purchase (download or physical CD) will benefit our brave wounded veterans who fought so that we might live in freedom. This is Volume 2 of the Westchester All Stars “Christmas for Wounded Veterans.” Rock and blues writer and singer Bill Edwards assembled this second edition which is an eclectic Christmas CD that should rock you throughout the holiday season. It features local Westchester singers and songwriters as well as celebrity guests. Grammy nominee and former New York Yankee Bernie Williams as well as soap opera star. Eden Riegel. From the local Westchester scene Dave Keyes, The Renovators, Johnny Feds, and executive producer Bill Edwards author and perform catchy and original contributions. Note: These Westchester All Stars will be performing on 12/6 at the Tarrytown Music Hall to additionally aid wounded veterans. www.WestchesterAllStarsChristmas.com
Poppa’s Kitchen’s “A Rockin’ Hanukkah” is a fine and unique recording for all religions. "Hanukkah… say it loud, sing it proud…” is a solid rocking tune, and "My Favorite Hanukkah" is a warm and emotional song. No matter if you celebrate Hanukkah and/or Christmas, or whatever; their lyrics will remind everyone what the holidays should be about. There are many wonderful songs that will remind you of your youthful days with your family. My personal favorite “Lonely Hanukkah” has hysterical lyrics that will make you smile. This is a perfect gift for the holiday season, offering their take on the tradition of Hanukkah. Long story short; this disc will be a nice fit as a good stocking stuffer for anyone’s holiday. www.PoppasKitchen.com
“Christmas In New Orleans” by the Dukes of Dixieland (with arrangements by the Dukes, Brian O’Neill, and Charlie Brent,) features guests like singer Luther Kent, the Pfister Sisters, and Moses Hogan's Gospel Choir. It mixes a tasteful gumbo of Christmas carols and spirituals in an upbeat and positive groove. There are several instrumentals like The Dukes adding second-line treatments on a playful "O Tannenbaum" and stomping through the classic "Sleigh Ride." From the vocals side "Come Home for Christmas" and "Second Line Santa" showcases the woefully underrated and powerful vocals of Big Luther Kent. Plus there are the harmonies of the Pfister Sisters who are reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters on "Winter Wonderland" and a well arranged cover of "The Christmas Song." "This Little Light of Mine" showcases Moses Hogan’s gospel choir with Ben Smith’s smart trombone playing and Crescent City sounds from the piano of Scott Obenschain. It‘s unfathomable not to get into the Christmas spirit listening to this uplifting Christmas outing. www.DukesOfDixieland.com
There you have it: From Charlie Brown’s Christmas to Funky Christmas tunes, needed help for the Wounded Warriors via the Westchester All Stars, Rockin’ Hanukkah songs, and some spicy mixes of Christmas from the Big Easy. There’s got to be something here to share with family and friends. Happy holidays and merry Christmas to all and to each and every one of you: have a very healthy and safe holiday season. And don’t forget to share all you can afford with your loved ones, close friends, and acquaintances. Yo-ho-ho.
Putignano www.SoundsofBlue.com. Now celebrating 13 + years on the air at WFDU - http://wfdu.fm , 24x7 On Demand Radio: http://wfdu.streamrewind.com/show/profile/11, WFDU's Sounds of Blue is the most pledged to program for 5 consecutive years. Senior Contributing Editor to: http://www.Bluesrevue.com, http://WestchesterGuardian.com, and http://YonkersTribune.com.