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Since the beginning of the year, I've been spotlighting new CDs that were given to me as genuine Christmas gifts. Although this one isn't "new" as in "newly released" last Christmas, this rare compilation definitely qualifies as a true present!

It was found by my brother Rafael in a second hand store in the deep South (Cleveland, Tennessee). As is standard practice by members of my immediate family, he called me first to ask if I had this CD. I asked for the playlist (my standard practice) and heard many familiar names - Benny Goodman, Louis Prima, Lionel Hampton, and lots of Louis Armstrong. But on a "blues" Christmas album?

Upon opening it on Christmas morning, I was astounded to discover his CD was pressed in Canada from Jass Records in 1988. It's getting more scarce finding CDs pressed before 1998 these days, even more so for Christmas albums. So to find a 20 year old Christmas Canadian import is simply mindboggling and exciting!

The cover artwork was a thrill to look at (over and over). I didn't spot the 78s for sale at first, did you? I thought I spotted Mickey Mouse on another look. And what about those Christmas ornaments?

And yes, it did contain a lot of Louis Armstrong but the remaining tracklist more than made up for that:

A good 2/3 of this album I already own in my collection but it's the remaining 1/3 that counts! There are some amazing tracks from Ozie Ware, Ted Weems, Putney Dandridge, Dick Robertson, Al Bowfly, and Johnny Otis that I've never heard before and that was good enough for me!

Used copies of this CD at Amazon.com are fetching a pretty penny. I can only imagine the prices it's going for on eBay. This might be the steal of the year (both last year and this year). And it was a Christmas present to boot!

Thank you, oldest brother Rafael! Bet you didn't know any of this when you bought it!