As promised, three more from another album I seemingly have had forever.
When I bought “An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas” in what probably was the late ’80s, I was deep into any R&B and blues that came out of Texas. I’m sure I bought this first for the fabulous Miss Lou Ann Barton’s blistering vocals, then for the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ blistering blues. Everything else was icing on the cake, and pretty tasty icing at that.
All of the performers on this album were familiar names on the thriving music scene in Austin, Texas, when it came out in 1985.
“Boogie Woogie Santa Claus,” Angela Strehli.
This one swings, with vocals by Strehli, who started out on the Austin scene in the ’70s and still bills herself as “the queen of Texas blues.” She sounds young and fresh on this cut, almost like a big-band singer from the ’40s.
“Merry Christmas Darling,” the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
This is a bit of gritty, greasy slow blues from what’s considered the T-Birds’ classic lineup of singer and harmonica player Kim Wilson, guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, bass player Keith Ferguson and drummer Fran Christina.
Wilson, who offers up some fine vocals, is credited as co-writer with “Semiens.” I can’t find any confirmation, but that might be “Rockin’ Sidney” Simien, the Louisiana zydeco/blues/soul/R&B legend. The T-Birds covered some of his tunes on their earlier albums. I wouldn’t be surprised if these were new lyrics to an old tune, but I don’t know that for sure, either.
“Please Come Home for Christmas,” Lou Ann Barton.
I’m not sure how Angela Strehli, a fine singer, can bill herself “the queen of Texas blues” when Lou Ann Barton is still breathing.
Though this mid-tempo blues rendering of Charles Brown’s classic tune doesn’t really give you an idea of Miss Lou Ann’s vocal power, you’ll get a feel for the passion she puts into her performance.
A couple of years ago, I was reunited with my old junior high pal Mike. When he found out I had a lot of Christmas music, he asked whether I had “a woman doing a really hot, down and dirty version” of this song, or words to that effect. He didn’t know the performer, but he described it close enough. When I sent him a mix CD with Miss Lou Ann’s cut on it, he said, “Yep, that’s the one.”
All from “An Austin Rhythm and Blues Christmas,” 1986.
Enjoy. More to come.
Your requests are welcome. After all, we still have a few days to go.