The Little-Known Recording of Louis Armstrong Reciting ‘The Night Before Christmas’

“This is Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong,” the voice resounds, “talking to all the kids from all over the world at Christmastime.” With that, the trumpeter and singer tucks into a lyrical, buoyant reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” He hews to the words but makes them his own in a voice that glitters with joy. When the 69-year-old describes Santa’s “little round belly /that shook when he laughed like a bowl of jelly,” he breaks into a wheezy giggle that sounds like a truck rumbling to life at a green light. 

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