Rockie Charles, “I Just Called To Wish You A Merry Christmas” from Born For You (1996): One Track Mind

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Alfred Charles Merrick, better known as Rockie Charles, was a New Orleans blues treasure. Though he had been recording sides since the mid 60s, Charles’ first long player didn’t come out until 1996, when local outfit Orleans Records released his proper debut Born For You. Called the “President of Soul” after the name of his local hit from 1970, Charles made a couple more LP’s before passing away in 2010 at the age of sixty-seven.

Thanks to a recent re-issue on 12″ vinyl by independent label distributor Select-O-Hits, Born For You is re-born, giving turntable enthusiasts a chance to discover one of New Orleans’ best-kept secrets. And here, the singer, songwriter and guitarman lives up to his unofficial title, making the blues go down easy with a spoonful of soul, just like ZZ Hill used to do.

That soul is on full display for Charles’ self-penned yuletide ditty near the end of this strong set of recordings called “I Just Called To Wish You A Merry Christmas,” from that church organ to Charles’ sweet, pleading vocal delivery that’s not quite Al Green, but is well situated in his neighborhood. With an relaxed tempo shared with the better-known holiday standard “Please Come Home for Christmas” but with a Fats Domino, vintage RnB style, there’s no mistaken its Crescent City flavor.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at [email protected] .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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