Merry Christmas, Baby, plus Louis Armstrong’s Hot 5, and local stars

Written by on December 22, 2015




Viking Twang Episode 70, December22, 2015

Good morning, welcome to Viking Twang Episode 70. My name is Randy Black, hope you’re all ready for Christmas.

If you’re not, we’re going to help with some Christmas music, which we’ll get to in the first set. The second set will feature some vintage Louis Armstrong from his Hot Five years, and we’ll have some great music from local bands in the third set. Here’s our local favorites, Well Swung, to get us started.

1 – Turkey Red; W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground.
2 – Jingle Bells; Well Swung. Local heroes Jonathan Trawick with Aarun Carter on fiddle, and Carolyn Martin on vocals.
3 — I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus; John Prine. From the 1994 album “A John Prine Christmas.” Written by Jimmy Boyd in 1952.
4 – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town; Ella Fitzgerald. From the 1960 album, Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas.
5 – Santa Baby; Eartha Kitt. The original recording of the song, from 1953 with Henri Rene and his orchestra.
6 – Merry Christmas, Baby; Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers; the original from 1947, written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter, with Charles Brown on the vocals.
7 – May Every Day Be Christmas; Louis Jordan. From 1951.

When I was a kid, Louis Armstrong was this old guy who kept showing up on TV with this gravelly voice and goofy grin. It’s only been recently I’ve gotten into his great playing, especially early, which I first got through his collaborations with Jimmie Rodgers.

So we’re going to play some music from his Hot 5 in the 1920s. The band is his wife and manager, Lil Hardin, on piano; Johnny Dodds on clarinet and sax, Edouard “Kid” Ory on trombone, and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo.

8 – Gut Bucket Blues; from the band’s first recording session on Nov. 12, 1925.
9 – Heebie Jeebies; from Feb. 26, 1926, featuring Louis’ first vocal perfomance.
10 – Ory’s Creole Trombone; from Sept. 2, 1927. This is a song that Kid Ory first recorded in Los Angeles in 1921.
11 – Struttin’ With Some Barbecue; from December, 1927.
12 – Christmas Night in Harlem; recorded with Eartha Kitt in 1951.

Probably about eight years ago. J.D. Dawson showed up at the Off Key Easy Bluegrass Jam at Holman’s, the first time I played with this remarkable musician. He’s a songwriter and a great mandolin and guitar player.

In the past few years he’s put on a couple of monthly shows at the Jade Lounge in southeast Portland, where’s he’s not only brought in some great guest musicians, but helped many of us move from the jam circle to the spotlight.

A few days ago, he suffered a series of strokes. It sounds as if he’s doing well considering, and I’m looking forward to being able to play with him again sometime soon. We’ll start this set of local artists with one of his songs, from his self-recorded 2010 album, Hearts and Highways.

13 – Beer Drinking Town; J.D. Dawson.
14 – Cutie Pie; Ken Chapple. The Portland expatriate now living in Asheville, N.C., from his album Crossing the Black.
15 – Ants in the Kitchen; the Hillwilliams, from their new album, Hill Yeah!
16 – Ghost of Gram; Sweet Sunny South; from their 2010 album, Carried off by a Twister.
17 – River; Joni Mitchell. From 1971’s Blue.
18 – Twang Theme; Countrypolitans.





  • Turkey Red
    W.C. Beck & the Portland Country Underground
  • Jingle Bells
    Well Swung
    Jingle Bells
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    John Prine
    A John Prine Christmas
  • Santa Claus is Coming To Town
    Ella Fitzgerald
    Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas
  • Santa Baby
    Eartha Kitt
    The Essential Eartha Kitt
  • Merry Christmas, Baby
    Johnny Moore's Three Blazers
    Blues, Blues Christmas Vol. 2
  • May Everyday Be Christmas
    Louis Jordan
    20th Century Masters -- The Christmas Collection
  • Gut Bucket Blues
    Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
    The Hot Fives, Vol. 1
  • Heebie Jeebies
    Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
    The Best of the Hot 5 & Hot 7 Recordings
  • Ory's Creole Trombone
    Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
    The Best of the Hot 5 & Hot 7 Recordings
  • Struttin' With Some Barbecue
    Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five
    The Best of the Hot 5 & Hot 7 Recordings
  • Christmas Night in Harlem
    Louis Armstrong & Eartha Kitt
    What A Wonderful Christmas
  • Beer Drinking Town
    J.D. Dawson
    Hearts and Highways
  • Cutie Pie
    Ken Chapple
    Crossing the Black
  • Ants in the Kitchen
    Hill Yeah!
    The Hillwilliams
  • Ghost of Gram
    Sweet Sunny South
    Carried Off by a Twister
  • River
    Joni Mitchell
  • Twang Theme
    Tired of Drowning

  • Show Notes & Show Blogs


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