Saturday, December 25, 2010
A budget Christmas--or, the kind of holiday most of us are having this year. It looks like I can get this playlist up in the nick of time (Get it? Nick of time??), and what better mp3s with which to end this big day than budget classics from Tops, Rondolette, Treasure, and, perhaps the worst of all cheap labels, Design? My First Christmas Tree, Santa Claus is Flying Thru the Sky, four versions of Jingle Bells (two from the same LP!), All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, and two bargain-basement readings of The Night Before Christmas--these are the costume gems which await you on (in?) this download.
(Note: The seventh track, Jingle Bells (2), was mislabeled as Royal Concert Orch.--should be "Royale.")
Low-budget, yes, but charming and so Christmas-y.
Do not delay: Christmas 2010, Part 21--Budget Holiday Classics
'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Treasure Records 824--Merry Christmas!)
SANTA CLAUS IS FLYING THRU THE SKY (Treasure Records 824)
MY FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE (Treasure Records 824)
JINGLE BELLS (Treasure Records 824)
JINGLE BELLS--Tops Orch. and Choristers (Tops L-1525--Christmas Favorites, 1957)
JINGLE BELLS (1)--Royale Concert Orch. (Rondolette 51500)
JINGLE BELLS (2)--Royale Concert Orch. (Rondolette 51500)
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS MY TWO FRONT TEETH--Santa's Helpers (Design)
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS--Santa's Helpers (Design)
(Last track restored from fake stereo to acceptable mono.)
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Christmas 2010, Part 20--Christmas Hymns and Carols: Robert Shaw and His RCA Victor Chorale (1945-46)
The recordings we're about to hear were made in 1945 and 1946--so I discovered at one point (can't remember from where). They were available on a crummy-sounding CD, now out of print. I ripped these from an RCA Victor boxed 45 rpm set, and I'd like to think they sound better than that CD, though I haven't done side by side comparison yet. I plan to, once these are on my hard drive. If it turns out mine sound no better, I'll never tell.
These marvelous performances have (or, rather, had) remained in print for nearly 60 years. I want to keep that tradition going.
By the way, on the mp3 track info, "Herlad Angels" is a typo, but a cool one, I think.
To the carols: Robert Shaw and His RCA Victor Chorale, 1945-46.
1) JOY THE WORD; IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR; ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
2) O COME, O COME, EMANUEL; O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM; SILENT NIGHT
3) O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL; AWAY IN THE MANGER; GOD REST YE MERRY, GENTLEMEN
4) WE THREE KINGS; THE FIRST NOEL; HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING
5) SHEPHERD'S CAROL (Billings); COVENTRY CAROL; PATAPAN
6) MY DANCING DAY; I WONDER AS I WANDER; BRING A TORCH, JEANETTE, ISABELLA
7) CAROL OF THE BELLS; LO, HOW A ROSE E'ER BLOOMING; GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
8) I SING OF A MAIDEN; ECHO HYMN; WASSAIL SONG; DECK THE HALLS
Christmas Hymns and Carols--Robert Shaw and the RCA Victor Chorale (RCA Victor Red Seal WMO-1077) (Orig. recordings, 1945-46)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So... I'm almost (but not completely) sure that the above 1908 postcard depicts the German Christkind, even if there's a trio of her. The German Christkind is a female angel messenger for the gift-giving Christ Child. Or, rather, the surrogate for. And, you ask, was Kris Kringle derived from Christkind/Christkindl? Why, yes. Very good!
A former prof of mine, Jack Santino, is a well-known folklorist who writes about holidays, and his account of the evolution of Santa Claus is a wonderful (and scholarly) alternative to the media take of late. (I've always wanted to type "take of late.") It can be found in his All Around the Year. Santa, it seems, is a combination of St. Nicholas, Christkind, and Northern European sky gods (I say Thor, but Woden is the popular choice).
Santino, in contrast to the ratings-aware folks at History Channel, doesn't bow to the current bias that declares St. Nick secular: "Santa Claus, even though he is frequently referred to as an example of the secular or pagan aspects of the contemporary Christmas celebration, refers specifically to Christmas, and is a part of Christmas, and is therefore inappropriate for a nondenominational celebration."
Santino's assessment of modern "pagans" (I forgot which page) is very amusing and definitely not in tune with the stereotype.
Oh, the music. Yes, the music. Well, we have Eartha Kitt's follow-up to Santa Baby, a contemporary cover version of Harry Simeone's Little Drummer Boy, two Christ-back-in-Christmas numbers, and four holiday selections from a mega-cheap Irene label 78 rpm e.p. Enjoy!
To the music: Christmas 2010, Part 19
THIS YEAR'S SANTA BABY--Eartha Kitt, 1954.
THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY--The Broadway Pops Orch. (Tiara label)
GOD BLESS US ALL--Spike Jones, feat. George Rock, 1953. (From RCA Victor 45)
C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S--George Beverly Shea.
PUT CHRIST BACK INTO CHRISTMAS--George Beverly Shea, 1954.
I WANT CHRIST BACK IN CHRISTMAS--Sister Cecilia with Ursuline Sisters, 1962.
SILENT NIGHT--Shay Torrent (Irene I-503)
WHITE CHRISTMAS--Neighbors (Irene I-503)
HEAR THE CHRISTMAS BELLS--("Songs for 3's in Sunday Church School")
RUDOLPH THE REDNOSE (sic) REINDEER--Meadowlarks (Irene I-503)
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN--Meadowlarks (Irene I-503)