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Blues Christmas Songs

Blues

Blues music has been around for over one hundred years and it originated in the African-American communities of the Deep South of America, meaning that it is influenced by other music that originated in those areas, such as jazz, country and bluegrass. Blues music can be found in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and can be characterised by various chord progressions, specific lyrics, bass lines and instruments. Blues music doesn't always make for the happiest of Christmas music, but there are a number of brilliant Christmassy blues songs that could add a little something different to your Christmas playlist this year. Our favourite is Merry Christmas Baby, originally by Charles Brown but covered by Elvis and many more - what's yours?

1) Charles Brown - Merry Christmas Baby

With a laidback, slow and sultry backing track and Charles' smooth vocals, this is a corker of a Christmas song and a great example of the genre. It also has a piano 'Jingle Bells' instrumental interlude, which helps to tie the song back to more traditional Christmas music. Perfect music for playing in the background to any Christmas dinner party.

2) Mabel Scott - Boogie Woogie Santa Claus

This is a classic Christmas song by Mabel Scott, an American gospel and R&B artis, who was married to Charles Brown for two years from 1949-1951. She's remembered for two songs - Elevator Boogie, and this Christmas offering, Boogie Woogie Santa Claus. It's a real jive-style song that is brilliant for sticking on any Christmas disco playlist - play it when you fancy a Christmas boogie.

3) Johnny Moore's Three Blazers - Christmas Eve Baby

Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, made up of Johnny Moore, Charles Brown and Eddie Williams were a hugely successful and influential African-American blues group who were around in the 40s and 50s. Describing a man proposing to his wife, this laidback song from some of the best vocal blues artists ever is a lovely tune to listen to this Christmas.

4) Bull Moose Jackson - I'll be Home for Christmas

Beginning with an interpretation of Silent Night, a classic Christmas carol, the song then moves into a beautiful, lifting song with lovely lyrics - 'Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents on the tree. Christmas Eve will find me, where the love might be'. The lyrics then go onto describe a man coming home for Christmas, and it's genuinely a lovely, festive Christmas song. Well worth a spot on your Christmas playlist.

5) Freddie King - I Hear Jingle Bells

Another song that uses a classic Christmas song as an intro - this time, it's Jingle Bells. This lovely festive offering from African-American blues singer and musician Freddie King, thought to have been born Frederick Christian, who was a very influential player in the blues genre during the 50s and 60s, is a stunning Christmas song. Perfect for the whole family, this is yet another brilliant jive song to add to your Christmas disco playlist.

6) Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas

Probably the most well-known blues singer of our time, the king of blues, Elvis Presley, is 6th on our list with this Christmas offering, Blue Christmas. Describing a sad Christmas without his loved one, this isn't the happiest of Christmas songs, but it's still a classic.

7) Otis Reading - Merry Christmas, Baby

Written by a blues artist already on our list, Johnny Moore and originally performed by Johnny Moore and the Three Blazers, we like this slightly more modern version of the classic. Otis was another majorly influential singer and musician in the blues and gospel genre and his open-throated singing paved the way for many other soul singers of the 1960s. His music was very successful, even after his death in a plane crash in the late 1960s.

8) Koko Taylor - Merry, Merry Christmas

This incredibly funky song by the Queen of Blues, Koko Taylor, is a brilliant cross between being laidback and upbeat enough to dance to. Koko was well known for her distinctive, deep, gravelly vocals, and this song shows them off wonderfully.

9) Son Seals - Lonesome Christmas

Frank 'Son' Seals, better known as Son Seals was an American blues musician and singer, well known for both his music and his rather troublesome home life - he was the only surviving sibling from 14 children, and his wife also shot him in the jaw. Aside from that, however, he released this corker of a Christmas song which really showcased his fantastic vocals. A lovely laidback song, perfect for playing at night during the festive season.

10) Billy Ward & His Dominoes - Christmas in Heaven

You may have already heard this song if you're a fan of Monty Python - it featured in the Monty Python film, Meaning of Life. It's a brilliant doo-wop song from vocal group Billy Ward & His Dominoes, who released many, many records. One of their members also went on to form international band The Drifters. This particular Christmassy offering from them is laidback and a little melancholy, but it's still very festive.

11) The Crystals - Santa Claus is Comin' to Town

One of the most popular Christmas carols ever, sung by carol singers, used in television adverts and heard on the radio throughout the Christmas season, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town is next on our list. This bluesy offering has a saxophone instrumental interlude and is really a brilliant example of The Crystals' talent. Listen to it whilst decorating the Christmas tree and you'll get firmly into the Christmas spirit.

12) Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song

Nat King Cole was well-known around the world for his jazz piano music, but he owes most of his fame to his soft voice. Even though he died in 1965, his music is still popular around the world - especially his Christmas releases. This song, recorded with Natalie Cole, is a classic - it's relaxed, laidback, and utterly festive.

13) Amos Milburn - Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby

Amos Milburn, Texan blue singer, songwriter and musician, is 13th on our list with this classic Christmas song very reminiscent of his usual style - laidback, slow and smooth and ever so slightly cheeky - this song describes sliding down his lady's chimney and also feeling her stockings. Perfect for listening to with a glass of mulled wine in front of the fire.

14) Chuck Berry - Run, Run, Rudolph

Chuck Berry is known for being one of the pioneers of rock and roll music, defining blues music into the major elements of what we now know to be rock and roll music. Today, at the age of 85, he still continues to play live. This classic Christmas offering from him is festive, frivolous and very, very fun.

15) The Ronettes - Frosty the Snowman

The Ronettes were a 1960s girl group, probably best known for their song Be My Baby, and they also released this cover of classic Christmas song Frosty the Snowman - which has also been covered by the Jackson 5, Bing Crosby and more recently, the Beach Boys. This version by the Ronettes really showcases their bluesy vocals.

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