December 1st, 2012

Welcome to the December 2012 holiday issue of Black Grooves, sponsored by the Archives of African American Music and Culture.  This month we’re featuring box sets, books and DVDs that any Black Grooves fan would be delighted to receive, plus several additional new releases.

We start off with our top six picks for best new holiday music: the gospel albums Christmas with Earnest Pugh & Friends and Grace Gift from James Fortune & FIYA; the entertaining Cee Lo’s Magic Moment from Cee Lo Green;  the jazzy What Christmas Means from balladeer Kem; the compilation Santa’s Got Mojo 2: An Electro-Fi Christmas Blues Celebration; and Gary U.S. Bonds’ houserocking Christmas is On!

Box sets and compilations include the 4-CD Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th Anniversary Collection,  the 10-CD Bessie Smith Complete Columbia Recordings, the hardcover book/CD He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul of Arizona Dranes, the 9-CD Bill Withers Complete Sussex & Columbia Albums, the book/CD Loving on the Flipside: Sweet Funk and Beat-Heavy Ballads 1969-1977, the revised and expanded reissue of Drop on Down in Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1977-1980, the 2 volume History of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues, 1921-1953, Ike & Tina Turner’s What You Hear Is What You Get: Live at Carnegie Hall 1971,  and Volume 10 of the annual favorite Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920s calendar and companion CD.

For reggae fans there are reviews of three new Lee “Scratch” Perry releases: the 2-CD compilation Disco Devil featuring 1970s-era extended dub mixes from Perry’s legendary Black Ark studio; a collaboration between Perry and ambient house institution the Orb titled The Orbserver in the Star House;  and The Sound Doctor featuring obscure Perry cuts.

For the babies and young children on your holiday list we recommend Velvet Sky, an album of lullabies by Broadway and film star Valarie Pettiford.  Blues fans will likely enjoy the new Buddy Guy autobiography Then I Left Home: My Story, while any fan of New Orleans music and culture would be thrilled to receive the lavishly illustrated book Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans.  And joining the steady stream of posthumous Jimi Hendrix releases is the new volume Hendrix on Hendrix, a compilation of the 50 most significant interviews with the guitarist.

Wrapping up this issue are reviews of the documentary Give Me the Banjo and two recent Latin jazz releases: Dos y Mas  by Elio Villafranca and Arturo Stable, and Live in Hollywood by Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band.

Review Genre(s): African American Culture & History


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