I’m on my way to sing traditional carols and wish “Merry Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad” to my fellow Holyoke parishioners, but wanted to leave you with a few Christmas goodies that I found under the YouTube tree this morning.
Here’s Symphony Sid introducing Charlie Parker at the Royal Roost on Christmas morning 1948. Bird’s immortal “White Christmas” includes a quote from “Jingle Bells" which he rings as adroitly as guitarist Oscar Moore's did on Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” two years earlier. That's Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Al Haig at the piano, Tommy Potter on bass, and Max Roach on drums.
Here’s Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Santa Claus,” a 1960 holiday special that compromises nothing in terms of drive or menace as Sonny Boy conveys, in his wonderfully unique language and syntax, a picaresque saga of the trouble he finds himself in when he searches his wife’s dresser draws to “find out/what did she bought me for Santa Claus.” The band includes Robert Jr. Lockwood and Luther Tucker on guitars, Otis Spann at the piano, Willie Dixon on bass, and Fred Below on drums.
Here's Jimmy McCracklin, the great Bay Area bluesman and songwriter who died on Thursday at the age of 91. Read the Times obit here. McCracklin is best known for “The Walk,” but he also composed the blues classic “Think,” and Otis Redding and Carla Thomas scored a hit with McCracklin’s “Tramp” in 1967. McCracklin’s piano drives his early ‘50’s original, “Christmas Time,” which also features the unsung Lafayette Thomas on guitar.