Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, Baby (1947)

The original. Recorded in Los Angeles, California and released by local, indie (yes, they were called "indies" back then as well) label Exclusive Records near the end of 1947. It was both a local and national hit, reaching the number 3 spot on Billboard's "Most Played Juke Box Records" chart. Guitarist and bandleader Johnny Moore was the brother of fellow guitarist Oscar Moore, the latter of whom was peaking in popularity with The King Cole Trio at this time. Johnny's similarly styled cocktail combo, The Three Blazers, had a distinctively more dominant blues edge due in no small part to vocalist/pianist Charles Brown. The Moores and Brown all originally hailed from Texas and eventually all settled in the Los Angeles area. In fact, Moore's trio (rounded out by Eddie Williams on bass) arrived on the West Coast intact and took the place of The King Cole Trio on the Atlas Records roster when Cole and Co. jumped shipped for Capitol Records. The Three Blazers were tremendously popular on the West Coast, particularly on Central Avenue in Los Angeles. Black-owned Exclusive Records picked them up  and shared in their success after the trio's few discs with Atlas went nowhere. Brown, frustrated by Moore's headstrong manner of running the combo, left for a solo career in 1948 and The Three Blazers never really recovered in spite of a string of excellent piano men and singers - as well as Oscar Moore joining the group as a second guitarist after he had been eased out of the King Cole Trio. 

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

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