1. Reindeer Romp ’N Roll -- Chris and Jet Watling
2. Jolly Old Saint Nick -- Scott Taylor
3. Angels We Have Heard on High -- Charlie Sayles
4. O Come Emmanuel -- Scott Taylor
5. A Christmas Blues -- Charlie Sayles
6. Greensleeves -- Tony Fazio
7. Homeless Christmas -- Subsidiarity feat. Scott Taylor
8. Peppermint Milkshake -- William Dagher and Run Little Elephant
9. Christmas Spirit -- Scott Taylor
10. O Star of Mystery -- Richard Schletty
11. Silent Night -- Charlie Sayles
12. Children’s Christmas Gloria -- Matilda Jane Kraemer
13. The Curious Christmas Boy -- Braver Noise
14. It’s Not the Present -- Charlie Sayles
15. Child of Eternal Love -- Richard Schletty
16. I’m Blessed to See Christmas -- Scott Taylor
17. The Christmas Way -- Charlie Sayles
18/19. Duerme, Niño, Duerme/Sleep, Baby, Sleep -- Christopher Schletty and Richard Schletty
20. The First Noel -- Scott Taylor
21. All This Happened on Christmas Day -- Subsidiarity and Tony Fazio
22. Christmas Memories -- Matilda Jane Kraemer
At the time I stumbled across Fetal's website, the Christmas album was just coming together. It was sort of a smaller idea that organically grew into a full-scale album. Well, now, it is done. The release date is November 20 and it will be available in CD and digital formats. You can see the cover art for "A Colorful Christmas" above, along with the track list. And I get to tell you all about it (or try to). But I can't be unbiased. "A Colorful Christmas" is all my favorite things--a local label multi-genre Christmas compilation with tons of artists I don't know singing Christmas songs no one else has ever sung, AND there's a lot of Blues music here...including new music from the legendary Charlie Sayles. I mean, I'm in heaven! But heaven's no fun if you're the only one there. I want you to be as excited as I am.
And let's talk about Tony Fazio for a second--the guitar wizard who is a common thread through much of the album. Tony was one of the artists behind the resurrection of Fetal Records. He's most well know for his work with Electrified (aka The Electrified Blues Band). And his guitar playing throughout "A Colorful Christmas" is spot on perfect. He has a good feel for what a song needs--sometimes just a touch and sometimes much more. But my guess is that, from start to finish, you're going to be thinking to yourself, "Damn, this guy's good." And he is. Tony gets one song of his own, here, "Greensleeves". And, though it begins simply enough, the man will make it all his own before he's done (and you will wish the track was longer when its done).
Scott Taylor is a revelation. If Tony Fazio does it all with his guitar, Scott Taylor does it all with his voice. From Scott, we get one of the album's best moments--the Blues masterpiece that is "Christmas Spirit". But Scott also gives us some street corner Soul ("Homeless Christmas"), takes us to church ("I'm Blessed To See Christmas"), and even gives us a bit of Bluesy Ska on "O Come Emmanuel". And I have to make special mention of "Jolly Old St. Nick", in which Scott calls to mind the classic R&B of greats like Otis Redding. "Jolly Old St. Nick" isn't one of my favorite traditional tunes (probably those Kids records again), but Scott made me love it.
For "A Colorful Christmas", Charlie gives us the original "A Christmas Blues", which is a more or less traditional Blues about a man coming to grips with the season after losing his family. And Charlie plays the hell out of that harp. "It's Not The Present" is a non-traditional Blues. I'd almost call it a Post Punk Blues, but most would just call it a Funky Blues. He gives the tune plenty of that Charlie Sayles personality and, once again, the harp playing is gonna get you. "The Christmas Way" is done more as a rural Blues--vaguely Country, even--but infused with some Gospel spirit. Charlie also sings two traditional carols and, on both "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Silent Night", Charlie forgoes the harp, but his vocals are so heartfelt that you won't even be thinking about that. And "Silent Night" is as beautiful a version as I've ever heard. It's so real, it'll bring tears to your eyes. All of Charlies's tracks are raw and that's a feature, not a bug. I said in my earlier write-up I would kill to have me some Charlie Sayles Christmas songs and, thanks to Fetal Records, I don't have to.