Wednesday, December 01, 2010
No It's Not The Major Award You See Pictured Below, It's The Jamaican Christmas Mix 2010!
Ho, ho, ho and all that stuff... I know I am way ahead of schedule this year but I figured it makes more sense to share early so everyone can enjoy the mix throughout the Christmas season instead of towards the end... and for one thing, it was nice not procrastinating until the last minute!
We start off the 2010 Christmas Mix with a little tune by the man Barrington Levy called "Once A Year" from a 1980 12" on the G.G. Hit label. It is followed by the absolutely killer DJ riff on the same riddim by Jah Thomas which we will call "Christmas Shopping" since it isn't given credit on the record's label.
Mixing it up inna Studio One style for the next tune... Tennessee Brown & The Silvertones give us their distinctively Jamaican take on "Little Drummer Boy." Many may mistakenly give credit to "Little Drummer Boy" or "Carol Of The Drum" to the angelic voiced Harry Simeone Chorale but it was originally written in 1941 by Katherine K. Davis. Harry and his posse just helped to popularize the tune when it was released in 1957. The Harry Simeone free version you're going to hear is taken from the 1992 Heartbeat CD Reggae Christmas From Studio One.
It pains me to say this... the late great, Gregory Isaacs is up with his version of "The Christmas Song" originally penned by Mel Torme and Bob Wells. One of my favorite traditional Christmas songs and Gregory makes it just a little smoother with his trademark Cool Ruler style... that will forever be missed. This was lifted from the 1990 CD Sonic Sounds Presents A Vintage Christmas obviously on the Sonic Sounds label.
Pearl Bailey tosses it to the next track and it's a fun one... it's called "Wuh You Got To Gimme For Christmas" by an artist by the name of Sachmoore and is taken from a 7" on the Canadian Pebble Grove label. In a nice calypso style, Sachmoore recounts the story of Vera a pushy woman who lives down the street who won't let any man pass her yard without asking him, "Wuh you got to gimme for Christmas." The thing is, Vera expects a gift for Christmas and is more than willing to reciprocate the kind gesture but Sachmoore doesn't want anything to do with the "gift" she's offering in return, if you know what I mean - wink wink, nudge nudge.
Leon Danger and Mr. Culture are up next with the a hopeful plea for peace from 2006 called "This Christmas." It comes from a 7" on the Hillsman label and it is really one of those tunes that makes you pause and think about the wrongs of the world and makes you hopeful for a time when man can live at peace. A beautiful song.
Up next is Chris Wayne with his version of the 1951 classic "Silver Bells." This one comes from the 1989 compilation LP Youth Promotion Christmas Jamboree on the Youth Promotion label and it was produced by another one of this year's late greats; Sugar Minott. It definitely has a distinctive late 80's digital feel that works real well with the the lyrics.
Going back quite a few years, to 1965 to be exact, for the next track in our Christmas Mix... The mix takes a decidedly turn for the ska with this tune appropriately titled "Merry Christmas" by Cedric Bravo with Rico and The Five Stars and from a 7" on the Ska Beat label. I love this song; nice mellow ska with a festive theme and even further accentuated by the fantastic trombone riffs of the legendary Rico Rodriguez. Push aside the Christmas tree and clear some space on the floor when you get up and groove to these yuletide vibes!
Norman T. Washington is up next in the mix... I took his song "Happy Christmas" which was originally released in 1975 as a 7" on the Jama label and mixed it up with its b-side version to create a dubby tune complete with echo and reverb. I was going to buy the single but came across a CD on Ernie B's called Music Specialist Christmas Sampler also on the Jama label for $.99! In this economy I gotta save where I can save! I was quite pleased with the end result and I hope you are too!
With an appropriately extravagant intro stolen from Dean Martin's Christmas album we roll into one of the baddest versions of "Silent Night" you've ever heard. This one is by a group that was labeled as the Silent Choir and it comes from a 1973 7" on the UK based Magnet label. They even toss in a couple verses of "Jingle Bells" to keep it lively! One of this year's favorites!
The late great Alton Ellis gives us the joyous "Praise Jah It's Christmas." This track was borrowed from Heartbeat Records' 2002 various artists CD release, Christmas Greetings From Studio One. Nice sentiments from Mr. Ellis and a nice tune!
The man Wade Brammer, better known as DJ Trinity, follows up Alton with a smooth love song called "Santa Claus Comes Once A Year." The message is simple, Santa Claus only comes once a year but his love, for one lucky lady, is continually there... not necessarily a straight forward Christmas song but enough sweet vibes to keep it in the yuletide vein. This one comes from a 2003 CD on the Burning Bush imprint called Ghetto Deejay Style: The Best Of Trinity.
Speaking of aliases... Edmund Carl Aiken, better known as Shinehead, is up next with the smooth "Reggae Christmas Medley" riding the M-16 riddim and taken from a 1989 7" on the Elektra label.
Also from 1989... the late, Tyrone Taylor, of "Cottage In Negril" fame, gives us a nice upbeat digital take on the 1934 Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith composition "Winter Wonderland." This comes from the Blue Mountain Christmas Party LP on the Blue Mountain label.
The self-titled Big Belly Man, Admiral Bailey keeps us in the digital stylee with his 1985 7" on the Jammy's label called "Christmas Style."
Man, this is starting to look like a memorial mix instead of a Christmas mix! The late singer, musician and producer, Ruddy Thomas is up next with a nice little song called "Reggae Happy Christmas." Some good vibes in this tune, which comes from a 7" on Ruddy's own Ruddy T label.
Mixing it up inna rub-a-dub style is Tony Tuff with the tune "Christmas Irie" from my copy of the problematic Merry Christmas From Black Roots LP (see last years griping) on the Black Roots label.
I've been hesitant on posting the next two tunes because of their scratchiness but decided to bite the bullet and do it anyway. These two come from the Rub A Dub Christmas album on the Black Solidarity label. Little John starts it off with "It's Christmas Time" followed immediately with Triston Palmer's "Oh Holy Night." Both appearing here after a 3 year wait and in all of their nakedly noisy Jamaican pressed glory.
The group called the Arcanians are up next with the song "Christmas In Jamaica." This is a nice mid-80's era tune taken from a 12" on the Jama label and I find the chorus so catchy that I find myself humming it to myself long after the record has been put back on the shelf.
A swingin' version of "Joy To The World" by Alton Ellis and taken from the 1990 CD Sonic Sounds Presents A Vintage Christmas comes in next. I've heard this Christmas carol all my life by countless performers but Alton Ellis' is the only version that will make you want to get up and skank along.
King Everald is up with his King Tubby produced digital cut "Santa Claus" and it's lifted from a 12" on the Firehouse label. Not one of my favorites but I hope you like it nonetheless.
The man Delroy Melody, who I can't find any background information on, follows up King Everald with a nice little tune called "Christmas Time" from a 7" on the Acadia label. Nice vibes in this tune.
Finally... The Cimarons wrap up the 2010 Jamaican Christmas Mix with their 1971 takes on the timeless Christmas carol and the Irving Berlin standard... the song is awkwardly called "Silent Night White Christmas" and was originally pressed as a 7" on the Downtown label... we're going to hear the same tune but it comes from the 2005 CD The Reggae Christmas Collection on the Pulse label.
Well that wraps it up... I hope everyone has a great holiday season and to quote the legendary Don Cornelius... "I wish you peace, love and sooooooul!" Lots of love everyone!
The Complete 2010 Jamaican Christmas Mix 2010