Review - A Christmas Celebration of Hope

Artist: B.B. King

Since it's taken more than 45 years for B.B. King to do his first Christmas collection, you can bet the self-proclaimed King of the Blues was going to choose his own material. So, you can forget hearing "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night" or even "Deck the Halls." Instead, King puts his singular blues style to lesser-known chestnuts like "Back Door Santa," "Christmas In Heaven," "Blue Decorations" and "Merry Christmas Baby." Recorded with King's touring band this past summer in New Orleans, this is an accomplished addition to any Christmas collection and a sure-fire stocking stuffer for blues fanatics.

While King handles the ballads well on "Celebration," it's the up-tempo numbers that seem the most festive. He rollicks through "Back Door Santa" with its yuletide double entendres, and on the instrumental "I'll Be Home For Christmas" King lets his renowned guitar Lucille do the talking. MCA Records is donating all profits from the sale of this album to City of Hope, a biomedical research and treatment center that brings help to catastrophic disease sufferers.

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