The Christmas Swing
Juicy Juju Records/Vizztone Label Group
Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers were formed in 2010. They won the Boston Blues Challenge twice to compete in the International Blues Challenge held annually in Memphis. In 2014 the band released their debut recording “Love Whip Blues”. Their follow up album “Big Road” was released in 2017.
The band includes Harpe, guitars, kazoo, percussion and vocals; Jim Countyman, bass; Matt “Charles” Prozialeck, harmonicas; and Chris Anzalone (from Roomful of Blues), drums and percussion.
Harpe opens with her arrangement of “Jingle Bells”, although now considered traditional, written by James Lord Pierpont and first published in 1857. Other covers include Lightnin’ Hopkins “Merry Christmas”; Bessie Smith’s “At The Christmas Ball” with pianist John Juxo and some acoustic finger pickin’ from Harpe; Leadbelly’s “Christmas Is A-Comin’”; Chuck Berry’s “Run, Run, Rudolph” and the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” with Harpe on kazoo.
My favorite cover on the album is not really a holiday song but Harpe’s treatment of Bo Carter’s “Drink and Get Drunk”. Carter, whose real name was Armenter Chatman had a solo career but was also manager and sometimes member of The Mississippi Sheiks, comprised mostly of family members.
Harpe also includes two originals. “The Night Before Christmas” and the title track, a re-working of the bands 2014 song “The Delta Swing”, now called “The Christmas Swing” featuring co-writer Richard Rosenblatt on harmonica.
Harpe states “We had a lot of fun making this album. It’s a holiday album for music fans that don’t necessarily like Christmas music; it’s just good music, that will make your holidays more fun!” And it already does.