Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mighty Blue Kings - The Christmas Album

According to the WorldCat online search engine for libraries, only a handful of libraries around the globe carry this album you see before you on their shelves.

I have been made to jump through hoops of fire to try to get library workers on both ends to agree to an interlibrary loan so I could just listen to the CD. Five months and several dozen attempts later, I finally decided to purchase the CD over at Amazon.com.

Shortly before I moved from Chicago to Toledo in 1996, the lounge music craze was forming slowly. The Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were just picking up steam when several talented Chicago musicians decided to join into the fray.

Naming themselves the Mighty Blue Kings, they began playing in clubs before landing the house band gig at the legandary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago. After several successful tours of the Midwest and the West Coast, they formed their own record label - R-Jay Records.

Their first release was 1997's "Meet Me In Uptown" followed by "Come One, Come All", released by Sony's Work Records the same year. In 1998, they produced their "Live In Chicago" album which captured their live act and people around the country were beginning to take notice of the Mighty Blue Kings. Between 1998 and 1999, lead singer Ross Bon & MBK appeared on several movie soundtracks, including "Kissing A Fool" and "Three To Tango".

This album was released at Christmas, 2000 (just around the time the lounge music scene was about dead in popularity). It focuses more on the blues than the lounge. What you get is a respectable Christmas CD that's very good to listen to.

My favorite tracks on this album include "Christmas Time", "Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday", and "All I Ask For Christmas". However, the standout track is their version of "White Christmas". Irving Berlin never liked rock bands to perform his signature song (just ask Elvis). But if he heard this version (think a softer Otis Redding version), Berlin might have changed his mind.

Several line-up changes in the band soon followed after their Christmas release. Their new official name became Ross Bon & The Mighty Blue Kings and they continue to perform and record. You can visit their official website here.

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...


Capt

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