This Christmas, we’re serving up holiday platters for the many moods and sonic flavors of the season. We get down to some very merry Chicano rockabilly from Los Straitjackets; gather around the fire with French fiddlers in snowy Maine; imbibe “Sugar Rum Cherry” concocted by Duke Ellington; dream of a white Christmas a la Booker T. & the MGs, and hear the tale of Miles Davis‘ “Blue X-mas” from jazz composer Bob Dorough. Plus, cool Yuletide exotica from Esquivel, joyous free jazz from Rahsaan Roland Kirk and ring shouting for a New Year from the Georgia Sea Island Singers.
Photo by James Billeaudeau
We remember Elvis Presley on what would be his 84th birthday. Exclusive interviews with bandmates DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, producer Sam Phillips, and biographer Peter Guralnick focus on the social and cultural interactions unique to Memphis and the Deep South that sparked Elvis’ musical explosiveness. The songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller talk about working with Elvis on their compositions “Hound Dog” and “Jailhouse Rock,” and guitarist James Burton describes the Vegas years. Memphis R&B great Rufus Thomas describes the complex relationship many black musicians had to Elvis, and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson says the king of rock ‘n’ roll was a perfect gentleman on their dates.