B.B. King The Best of B.B. King - 20th Century Masters / Christmas Collection
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- Released: September 23, 2003
- Originally Released: 2003
- Label: MCA
- $0.99 on iTunes1.Please Come Home For Christmas
- $0.99 on iTunes2.Lonesome Christmas
- $0.99 on iTunes3.Back Door Santa
- $0.99 on iTunes4.Christmas In Heaven
- $0.99 on iTunes5.I'll Be Home For Christmas
- $0.99 on iTunes6.To Someone That I Love
- $0.99 on iTunes7.Christmas Celebration
- $1.29 on iTunes8.Merry Christmas Baby
- $0.99 on iTunes9.Christmas Love
- $0.99 on iTunes10.Blue Decorations
- $0.99 on iTunes11.Christmas Comes But Once A Year
- $1.29 on iTunes12.Bringing In A Brand New Year
- $0.99 on iTunes13.Auld Lang Syne
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel: Leon Warren (guitar); Melvin Jackson (saxophone); Stanley Abernathy, James Bolden (trumpet); James Sells Tony (keyboards); Calep Emphrey (drums); Tony Coleman (tambourine).
Audio Mixers: John Hobrock; John Holbrook; Josiah Gluck.
Liner Note Author: B.B. King.
Recording information: Dockside Studios, Maurice, LA; Sound on Sound; Unique Studios, NY.
Photographer: Kevin Westenberg.
Unknown Contributor Role: The Nashville String Machine.
Arranger: B.B. King.
This edition in Universal's discount-priced compilation series 20th Century Masters/The Christmas Collection is actually a re-titled reissue of the 2001 collection A Christmas Celebration of Hope. It took B.B. King a long time to get around to his first Christmas album, which didn't appear until about half a century into his recording career. It's an adequate, good-humored reprisal of various holiday chestnuts, among them some material with blues/R&B origins, like "Merry Christmas Baby." King wrote just one new song for the album, the instrumental "Christmas Love," though he did originally record another of the tracks, "Christmas Celebration," back in 1960. Wisely he plays "Auld Lang Syne" as a funky instrumental instead of vocalizing the singalong lyrics. In addition to periodic bursts of King's trademark guitar, there is plenty of brass and organ in the peppy arrangements. The Nashville String Machine adds its strings to just three tracks, which cuts down on over-produced excess (which is only a problem on "Please Come Home for Christmas"). It's hardly the first King you'll pull off your shelf, and not the first R&B Christmas album you'll turn to, either, but you could do worse in the holiday season. ~ Richie Unterberger
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