Yes, we take requests here at AM, Then FM, and we have one from Mike, who says:
“I’d like to request anything else from ‘A Creole Christmas,’ but especially Dr. John’s ‘Merry Christmas, Baby.’ I owned this disc at one time, but sadly can’t find it now. Ah, well. I seem to remember Dr. John’s version of this song being even more languorous than the Charles Brown version.”
Christmas is about making wishes come true, and we can do that tonight. Here you go, Mike.
Three from “A Creole Christmas,” a 1990 compilation CD released on Epic/Associated. It’s out of print and increasingly hard to find.
“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” Luther Kent.
Kent is a blues singer, something of a local institution in New Orleans. He performs on another Christmas album, “Christmas in New Orleans,” with the Dukes of Dixieland, the Pfister Sisters and Moses Hogan’s Gospel Choir.
“Let It Snow,” the Dixie Cups.
Yep, the same vocal trio that scored a huge hit with “Chapel of Love” in 1964. Also from New Orleans. Today, the group consists of original members Barbara Hawkins and Rosa Lee Hawkins (they’re sisters) and Athelgra Neville Gabriel (yes, one of those Nevilles).
And, of course …
“Merry Christmas Baby,” Dr. John.
Dr. John, first known as pianist Mac Rebennack, is a New Orleans legend. He started as a session man in the ’50s, then emerged as a solo act in the late ’60s. Billed as “Dr. John, the Night Tripper,” his shows and his albums indeed were trippy, a mix of R&B, blues, rock, funk, Creole and voodoo influences. I didn’t know what to make of all that when I heard him in the ’70s, when I was in my teens. It wasn’t until the ’80s, when I came to know the work of Professor Longhair, an earlier New Orleans piano legend, that I really came to understand Dr. John.
(For the tune that got Mike thinking about this album — Irma Thomas’ terrific version of “O Holy Night” — circle back to Vol. 11.)
Enjoy. More to come. Maybe even more from New Orleans.