They may crackle, they may hiss but these Christmas treasures lifted from the 1920s are true examples of the traditional Christmas spirit. And while you might expect a volley of roaring 20s Christmas songs you’ll notice that a trio of the tunes on show mention the blues. Of these it is Eva Taylor’s swinging vocals with Clarence Williams that really catches the attention, even more so when you realise that Louis Armstrong was there in the background adding the cornet parts.
1920s Christmas songs were invariably made up of large groups, orchestra’s, quartet’s and in the H.M. Grenadier Guards Band a cohort from the British Empire. For the most part they sound of their time but Bessie Smith’s ‘At The Christmas Ball’ is a revelation and out of sync with most other Christmas songs from the 1920s. The production is clear and it is possible to see how Smith was to become a beacon in the middle ground that connected the blues and jazz worlds. Think Mahalia Jackson but decades before she would consign her own piece of festive magic to vinyl.
Published by SpiritOfXmas | g+ profile