My Christmas collection has many sub-genres - Hawaiian Christmas music, Christmas music on organs, banjo Christmas, new age Christmas, Broadway Christmas, kiddie Christmas, country Christmas, R&B Christmas, schlocky celebrity Christmas albums, even tone-deaf Christmas music (see last review).
One area that was missing was honky-tonk piano Christmas. This album fills that hole in my collection.
'Big" Tiny Little Jr. was born in Worthington, Minnesota on August 31, 1930. His father, Tiny Sr., was a big band leader who was popular throughout the Midwest.
At the age of 5, Little began piano lessons. By the age of 15, he went on the road to perform. A stint in the Armed Forces didn't slow Tiny down - while stationed in Japan, he played jazz with Japanese musicians on a nightly basis.
After his release from the service, Little got the break of his life - Lawrence Welk invited him to play on his television show in 1955. He became yet another star that Welk featured every week on his television show. For four years, Little wowed America with his honky-tonk piano playing. This led to numerous albums, concerts, and the like. Around 1959, Little decided to leave Welk and was replaced by an unknown piano player by the name of Joann Castle (whatever happened to her?).
This album was recorded in 1961 and captures Little at his best. It's hard to pick a standout track because each track is so well done you can't choose. There's so many elements in each song you can pick out thanks to the overdubbing and the beautiful Coral stereo. You will not believe your ears.
Little continued to record albums, appear on the television shows of Dean Martin, Dinah Shore, and Mike Douglas. He also found a second home in Nevada where he began playing casino lounges nightly. He has appeared in every state of the union except Maine - he jokes that being a native of Minnesota, he doesn't need any more cold weather. I only wish Little had a website, a discography, ANYTHING that covers his career. He definitely deserves it.
This gem of an album was picked up over at the blog of Ernie (not Bert). Ernie supplied all of us over at FaLaLaLaLa.com with MANY outstanding Christmas albums throughout last December - many of which I about to burn and review for your reading pleasure in the upcoming weeks and months. Thanks for the 8th trillionth time Ernie!
If you check out this entry on Ernie's blog, you just might be able to DOWNLOAD this album still. Get going!
On to the next new Christmas album in my collection...