I get the feeling you’re getting tired of all that old stuff, that you’d like to hear some tunes you can actually go out and buy.
So we’re gonna head into the weekend with three tunes from a couple of contemporary blues outfits.
We start with Roomful of Blues, a New England-based group that I’ve enjoyed since the early ’80s. I dig a big horn sound, and they certainly deliver on that score. In 1997, they put out “Roomful of Christmas,” and I haven’t heard a better R&B/blues Christmas album since.
“Christmas Celebration” and “White Christmas,” Roomful of Blues, from “Roomful of Christmas,” 1997.
The first cut is a swinging cover of the tune written by West Coast bluesman Lloyd Glenn. You know “White Christmas,” of course, but this is one of the best versions I’ve heard. It opens with a falsetto vocal, then swings into a sassy New Orleans groove driven by Matt McCabe’s barrelhouse piano.
Our third cut comes from Chicago, where local faves the Mighty Blue Kings put out “The Christmas Album” in 2000. It isn’t as solid as “Roomful of Christmas,” but it has its moments.
“Christmas Time,” Mighty Blue Kings, from “The Christmas Album,” 2000.
Matt Thompson lays down a solid bass line on this tune written by another West Coast bluesman, Jimmy McCracklin. It’s complemented by some nice Hammond B3 organ from Chris Foreman and — what else? — some big horns. Scott Burns delivers a sizzling alto sax solo halfway through.