This is Charles Brown performing his hit classic holiday song “Merry Christmas Baby”, live in 1983 Los Angeles, California. Composed by Charles Brown, but credited to Lou Baxter and Johnny Moore, Brown sang lead on this song as the pianist and vocalist with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers.
The song, initially released in 1947, has charted consistently in three decades! That is the definition of a true classic. This song was subsequently re-recorded and appeared on Charles’ solo album entitled “Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs” in 1961.
“Although Brown was clearly the group’s star attraction, Johnny Moore refused to allow him his own credit on the records. He also refused to sign an exclusive contract with any label, so that the group’s early records appeared on various labels, particularly Philo, Exclusive and Modern. In 1948, frustrated by his lack of recognition and financial reward, Charles Brown left the group for a successful solo career. ( Source)”
As further explanation of the song credit confusion I came across this: “From Mojo magazine, January 1997: “Brown… was approached by a songwriter named Lou Baxter who tried to sell him a seasonal ditty titled “Merry Christmas Blues.” Brown then, allegedly, revamped the song… but listed Baxter’s name as composer so that he would get a cut. Brown… recorded it as lead singer with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers and Exclusive Records promptly placed Moore’s name on the label.” Brown has recorded this several more times since the original performance under his own name.”
Brown was a true renaissance man. With a degree in chemistry he taught school, worked as a chemist and was classically trained in piano – all before he began his music career.
Texas born Brown, one of the biggest influences on Ray Charles, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1999, about two months after his death.
Charles Brown’s WIKI Page is here.