Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Santa Claus Blues (Jass Records)

Since the beginning of the year, I've been spotlighting new CDs that were given to me as genuine Christmas gifts. Although this one isn't "new" as in "newly released" last Christmas, this rare compilation definitely qualifies as a true present!

It was found by my brother Rafael in a second hand store in the deep South (Cleveland, Tennessee). As is standard practice by members of my immediate family, he called me first to ask if I had this CD. I asked for the playlist (my standard practice) and heard many familiar names - Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, Lionel Hampton, and lots of Louis Armstrong. But on a "blues" Christmas album?

Upon opening it on Christmas morning, I was astounded to discover his CD was pressed in Canada from Jass Records in 1988. It's getting more scarce finding CDs pressed before 1998 these days, even more so for Christmas albums. So to find a 20 year old Christmas Canadian import is simply mindboggling and exciting!

The cover artwork was a thrill to look at (over and over). I didn't spot the 78s for sale at first, did you? I thought I spotted Mickey Mouse on another look. And what about those Christmas ornaments?

And yes, it did contain a lot of Louis Armstrong but the remaining tracklist more than made up for that:

A good 2/3 of this album I already own in my collection but it's the remaining 1/3 that counts! There are some amazing tracks from Ozie Ware, Ted Weems, Putney Dandridge, Dick Robertson, Al Bowfly, and Johnny Otis that I've never heard before and that was good enough for me!

Used copies of this CD at Amazon.com are fetching a pretty penny. I can only imagine the prices it's going for on eBay. This might be the steal of the year (both last year and this year). And it was a Christmas present to boot!

Thank you, oldest brother Rafael! Bet you didn't know any of this when you bought it!



Dave said...

So you're not going to share it with us?

stubbysfears said...

Not for nothin', but I don't think Tenn. qualifies as "the DEEP South". GA, AL, Mississippi, yes. Maybe SC. Tenn is just "the south".

Just sayin' ;-)

Dave said...

Well. To us NY Yankees it is pretty deep....lol. Really to most of those raised up here anything below Virgina is deep south. Just like saying you're from New York doesn't necessarily mean anywhere near New York City.

BTW, my Sister and her famly aren't too far from Cleveland in Winchester, TN.


Anonymous said...

This a great cd I bought it a s acut out about 6 or 7 years back.
the jass lablel was had some great dirty blues and drug song comps also.

of mike and cindys ho ho

Jeff said...

This CD features 11 of the 15 cuts on "The Stash Christmas Album," a 1985 vinyl release on Stash Records out of Brooklyn. That album has a great cover of Louis Armstrong with a Santa Claus hat airbrushed on (in the days before Photoshop).

rafael said...

well, kid brother, it would have been NICE for you to call and tell ME it was a stunning find!

just playing .. Joy and I will keep our eyes peeled!

And FYI, after living 20 years plus in Cleveland, TN, it's DEEP ENOUGH in the South for anyone who's never been south of the Mason Dixon line.

Believe you me.