Title - 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'
Artist - Kenny Neal
For those not in the know, Kenny Neal, son of Raful Neal, is a blues and swamp blues guitar player, singer and band member. Indeed, as you would expect given the pedigree of his father, Neal comes from a musical family and has often performed with his brothers in his band.
If you have ever listened to Neal's music, his awesome guitar playing, you'll know that he purposely preserves the swamp blues sound of his native south Louisiana; as befits someone who learned from Slim Harpo, Buddy Guy and his father, the harmonica player, Raful Neal.
In 1987, Neal cut his debut album for the Florida record producer, Bob Greenlee — an updated swamp feast initially marketed on King Snake Records as Bio on the Bayou. Alligator Records picked it up the following year. The rest, as they say, is now history.
Luckily for us lovers of all-thing Kenny Neal, let alone anything flavored with the great city of New Orleans, Cleopatra Records has brought out this Louisiana-flavored Christmas album from the New Orleans-based blues singer/guitarist himself. And, by God, it is FINE!
1. 'Christmas Comes Once A Year'
2. 'Silver Bells'
3. 'Winter Wonderland'
4. 'Merry Little Christmas'
5. 'Please Come Home For Christmas'
6. 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'
7. 'Merry Christmas Baby #2'
8. 'Lonesome Christmas'
9. 'Merry Christmas Baby #1'
10. 'O Come All Ye Faithful'
11. 'Silent Night'
Having received multiple awards throughout his career, including the Blues Music Award for Song Of The Year and the Monterrey Bay Blues Artist Of The Year Award, Neal has also earned multiple Grammy nominations and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 2011! Listening to I'll Be Home For Christmas it's easy to see why the plaudits have always circled their welcome wagons for the guitar specialist.
As you can tell from the track listing above, I'll Be Home For Christmas mixes both traditional and modern holiday favorites to enrich anyone's season! From the opening Blues piano / sax rock of 'Christmas Comes But Once A Year,' that leads us into the slower 'Silver Bells,' this album begins in the best way possible. The then female-sung duo of both 'Winter Wonderland' and 'Merry Little Christmas' are a nice diverse aspect, and then comes Neal's unique takes on both 'Please Come Home For Christmas' and, especially, the title track itself, I'll Be Home For The Holidays'.
The deep blues vocals of 'Merry Christmas Baby #2' are next, and then the slow blues harmonica funk of 'Lonesome Christmas' ensures that you are fully aware of where this certain genre of music ie: New Orleans, was born. Another 'Merry Christmas Baby #1' is then brought forth, before an astonishingly brilliant female-sung 'O Come All Ye Fathful' is gifted to us. The final track, also sung by the lady in question, is a definite new-favorite of mine, 'Silent Night,' and rounds off this album in the style that it was born to always perfectly portray.
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