Classic Christmas: Charles Brown & Friends' Merry Christmas Baby
Over the holidays, we're looking back at some classic Christmas albums taking some track by track and just digging on others.
Blues musician Charles Brown released and re-released Christmas songs numerous times throughout his career. The Texas City native got a lot of mileage out of Christmas music, particularly two notable songs made famous years later.
But, Brown's (not to be confused with Charlie Brown, the cartoon) 1996 re-mastered Merry Christmas Baby hits all the high notes and brings along some of his blues contemporaries for the ride.
Brown is best known for "Please Come Home for Christmas," his original that made it onto the charts in 1961, and "Merry Christmas Baby." Numerous artists covered both songs over the years, but the most well recognized version of "Please Come Home for Christmas" is by the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen's live "Merry Christmas Baby" is a classic. That song actually reached number three on the charts for Brown's band Johnny Moore's Three Blazers and Brown later recorded it with Bonnie Raitt for Very Special Christmas Volume II.
This is, undoubtedly, the seminal holiday blues album and a must have if you are a Christmas music fan. Unlike many of the other more commonly heard records of the season, Brown's soulful blues brings a distinctly melancholy vibe to his versions of "White Christmas" and "Silent Night, Holy Night." Since many of the most famous Christmas songs were written during wartime and have decidedly bittersweet overtones, it makes perfect sense that a bluesman like Brown would do them justice.
Check out previous classic Christmas album recaps:
Johnny Mathis - Merry Christmas
Andy Williams - The Andy Williams Christmas Album
Phil Spector - A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records
Frank Sinatra - A Jolly Christmas fro Frank Sinatra
The Carpenters - Christmas Portrait
Vince Guaraldi Trio - A Charlie Brown Christmas
George Winston - December
Various Artists - A Very Special Christmas
Mel Torme - Christmas Songs