Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Charles Brown - Merry Christmas Baby (Kent 501)

Merry Christmas, Baby

Well, folks, it's that time of year again... time to check out yet another rendition of Charles Brown's Merry Christmas, Baby! As you may recall, we started talking about all of this a couple of years ago because it seemed that the only version of this song you ever heard on those 'streaming services' was the latter-day 1994 Bullseye Charles Brown's Cool Christmas Blues album track, which certainly seems a shame.

Brown recorded what many consider to be the definitive version for King Records in Cincinnati in August of 1968, shortly after Syd Nathan died. By October, King had been taken over by Don Pierce and Hal Neely, who apparently chose not to renew Brown's contract. Upon returning home to Los Angeles (where he had cut the original Johnny Moore's Three Blazers version over twenty years before), Charles was ushered into the studio by Jules Bihari to cut this bluesy rendition we have here today in time for Christmas - any guesses as to who the guitarist might be? Arthur Adams perhaps?

Both records would hit the streets at the same time, but the King version has overshadowed the Kent one, despite the Biharis ambitious annual re-release program...

Merry Christmas, Everybody!