Song of the Week – A Christmas Celebration, BB King

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Today’s post was written by repeat guest contributor, Michael Paquette.  This is Michael’s third SotW essay this year.  Merry Christmas!  TM

Before launching his career as a blues artist B.B. King worked as a disc jockey for a radio station in Memphis in the late 1940s under the name Riley B. King.  There he became known as the “The Beale Street Blues Boy” which was later shortened to Blues Boy and eventually to B.B.

He recorded more than a dozen hit songs in the 1950s and 1960s before he released “The Thrill Is Gone” in 1969 which became a global sensation and introduced him to a much wider audience.  It also earned him a spot as an opening act for The Rolling Stones.  In his time his career would last more than 50 years and he would become America’s most famous blues musician.  He traveled the world with his trusted guitar Lucille, thrilling audiences with his brilliant solos and his heartfelt vocal treatments.

In 2001 he released his 39th studio recording which was a Christmas album — A Christmas Celebration of Hope — and one of my favorites of this genre.  It peaked at 151 on the Billboard Top 200 and it hit number one on the Billboard Blues list.  The album earned him two Grammy Awards for the Best Traditional Blues Album and his take on “Auld Lang Syne” earned him the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

The “title cut” is my choice for SOTW.

It showcases King’s distinctive jazz-influenced blues style with a big band arrangement that features a rhythmic piano accompaniment punctuated by short bursts of rhythm and blues brass.  This song was originally recorded in 1960 and it harkens back to his earlier big band style.

The lyrics are appropriate for an intimate gathering on Christmas with the singer professing his love and holiday wishes to his sweetheart.  As many couples will likely enjoy a more secluded holiday gathering this year this song seems to fit the bill.

The last part of the song says:

We’ll enjoy ourselves together, Christmas dinner and everything

We’ll share every bit of pleasure, every Christmas brings

Here’s to you

May Christmas bring you happiness

I want you to have a good time

Like we did on all the rest.

I wanna be home with you baby when New Year’s rolls around

We’ll make our resolutions before the sun goes down

Here’s to you honey

May Christmas bring you happiness

I want you to have a good time 

Like we did on all the rest.

Merry Christmas to all from the King of the Blues.

Enjoy… until next week.

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