Willie’s Hot Christmas continues.
In this little series within a series, we’re recreating a radio show I taped off the air while living in Madison, Wisconsin, in the late ’80s. For the back story, check out the Day 20 post.
The first part consisted of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Jimmy Smith, an unknown jazz sax instrumental version of “The Christmas Song” and “Merry Christmas” by Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Now back to the old WORT-FM show, where Willie Wonder has cued up …
“Christmas Blues,” the Ramsey Lewis Trio, from “Sound of Christmas,” 1961.
This is a cool, laid-back bit of instrumental jazz — just Lewis on piano, Eldee Young on bass and Red Holt on drums. I found this cut on a budget CD several years ago, then picked up the album when it was re-released on CD in 2004.
Next, a cut for which I have no cover art …
“Christmas In The City Of The Angels,” Johnny Mathis, from a Columbia 7-inch single, 1979.
Mathis offers his take on Christmas in Los Angeles in a tune perhaps cut exclusively for Los Angeles radio stations. This was released as Columbia 1-11158, with “The Very First Christmas Day” as the flip side. I can’t find it available anywhere. Though Mathis has recorded several Christmas albums since the early ’60s, this cut never made it to an album.
(The Mathis cut has gone from radio to tape to CD, and then ripped, so that may explain the sound quality if you find it lacking.)
“You’re All I Want For Christmas,” Salsoul Orchestra with Jocelyn Brown, from “Christmas Jollies II,” 1981. It’s out of print, but can be found on eBay and from vinyl record sellers.
The Salsoul Orchestra pumps out its great blend of Philly soul, funk and Latin sounds — all orchestrated by Vincent Montana Jr. — and Brown adds some lovely vocals on this upbeat tune.
Willie’s Hot Christmas continues tomorrow.