Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tiny Tyke Toys, Inc. presents "A Christmas Dream" (1969)

From 1969, a "Play a Story Book" with a 7-inch 33 1/3 single included.  The illustrations, by Myrtle H. Troaster, are gorgeous, and they're interspersed with the sheet music for "A Christmas Dream,' which is written in the key of C but sung in G.

Tiny Tyke Toys, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah, was responsible for this give-away (?), though the label spells "Tyke" as "Tike" ("Tiny Tike Records").  'Tis a mistery.

Pleasant songs, pleasant singing, and it's kind of cool to see something this 1940s/1950s-style come out in 1969.  Nowhere near Line Material level, but better than many such company vanity efforts.  Someone should do a compilation of kids-falling-asleep-and-meeting-Santa songs.  You could get two volumes out of them, probably.

To a ride with Santa: A Christmas Dream

Christmas Dream (Ralph O'Brien)--Dottie East w. Doug Barnes Combo (Tiny Tike CMP 1030), 1969
Christmas Tree (Ralph O'Brien)--Same.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

On the sixth day of Xmas, I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus

This one is all about the picture sleeve, though the versions of "I Saw Mommy" and "Rudolph" are pleasant enough.  On the former, the kid vocalist--Davey Piper--sings it straight (no "Aren't I cute?" attitude in his voice) and, unlike the singer in the Big 4 Hits version, he can hold a tune.  It's an unusually matter of fact rendition of this awful Christmas standard.

Some groove issues at the start of "Mommy," but things quickly adjust.  At some point during its life, this 78 rpm disc may have been played on a gramophone for ten seconds or so.  Whatever the case, the temporary wear is highly visible.  But Davey Piper soldiers on through, and past, the noise.

Click here to hear:  I Saw Mommy, etc.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus--Davey Piper w. Enoch Light, his Orch. and Cho. (Prom 1060)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer--Dolph Dixon w. the Prom Orch. and Chorus (Prom 1060)


Friday, December 29, 2017

Another Broken Record for the fifth day of Christmas--"Santa Claus Is Coming"

Strange but cool name for a record label--Another Broken Record.  And it almost become one--the center hole is so small, I had to force it on and off the spindle.  But, luckily, the disc (despite being a 78) is some kind of hard plastic rather than shellac, so it could withstand the twisting.

Two nice, humble Christmas sides from 1949.  Never heard of Bob Gleason, but he had a fine voice--and he co-wrote both sides.  I'm assuming he's not the guy I found when I Googled "Bob Gleason" + "singer."

Enjoy this "novelty Fox Trot" today!

Click here to hear: Santa Claus Is Coming

Santa Claus Is Coming--Bob Gleason (Another Broken Record 1002)
Christmas Wish--Same


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Classic 78s for the fourth day of Christmas!

Click here to hear: Classic 78s for Christmas


Christmas Message from Haley Fiske (Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.), 1923
I'd Like to See My Mom for Christmas (Eddie Unger)--Bob Jones, Williams Sextette (on Unger Music label)
Put Christ Back Into Christmas (Unger)--Organta Trio featuring Jack Allyn (Same)
Sing a Kris Kringle Jingle--Bobby Stewart w. the Peter Pan Orch. and Cho. (Peter Pan X-31)


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

More cheap Christmas picture discs! Pampers, L&M, and Sapphire (?)

We still have our tree and our porch Christmas lights, not to mention the made-in-Hong-Kong creche displays we're fixing to put up, so it's still Christmas.  Actually, it IS, come to think of it.  The second day of the 12 Days of Christmas, to be exact.  Good grief.  How could I have forgotten that?

Of these three cheap Christmas picture discs (cardboard backings, thin vinyl coating), only the L&M T.V. Quartet required a 78 rpm disc (for more solid backing) and Scotch tape to flatten it enough to play.  Otherwise, it skipped mercilessly.  And I have no idea who or what Sapphire was/is, but memory tells me their disc is the first of its type, so far, to play best with a 78 needle.  The first I've encountered, anyway.  Oh, and the L&M Quartet side is the first one I've found with a year listed (1960).

I find these lo-fi wonders a lot of fun.  And dig the bass response on the Pampers side.  I can only wonder how they packaged the free disc.  On the back of the pack, or...?

DOWNLOAD:  More cheap picture discs!          


Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town--Pampers
Recording of Your Favorite Christmas Carols--L&M T.V. Quartet, 1960
Christmas Greetings--A Christmas Medley--Sapphire


Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas 2017 singles, Part 2

More Christmas singles from my collection--this playlist is a mix of 45s and 78s.  Notes: Martin Walker ("I Just Wrote to Santa") is a she, "Little Drummer Boy" (1938) is a completely different tune than the famous holiday number, and the funny "Mistletoe Song" owes more than a little to Spike Jones.  Merry Christmas Eve!

Click here to hear:  Christmas 2017 singles, Part 2

Massachusetts Mixture (Jingle Bells)--Lawrence Joy w. Wilbur Waite's Pokeberry Promenaders, 1951
Christmas Times a-Coming--Bill Monroe, 1951
'Twas the Night Before Christmas--The Lancers, 1954
Jingle Bells--The Dennis James Boys and Girls, 1955
Let's All Sing a Song for Christmas--The Dennis James Boys and Girls, 1955
Jingle Bells--I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day--Jeanne Privette, Soprano, RCA Victor Orch.
I Saw Three Ships--Once in Royal David's City--Jeanne Privette, Soprano, RCA Victor Orch.
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus--Patti Page w. Jack Rael Orch., 1950
The Mistletoe Song--Jack Owens-Sam Cowling, w. Eddie Ballantine Orch., 1948
White Christmas--Jack Owens w. Eddie Ballantine Orch., 1948
Wonderful Christmas Night--Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, 1949
I Just Wrote to Santa--Martin Walker w. Sammy Spear Orch.
Cantique de Noel--Martin Walker w. Sammy Spear Orch.
Little Drummer Boy--Horace Heidt and his Brigadiers, 1938
Jingle Bells Fantasy (Arr: Rosario Bourdon)--RCA Victor Salon Orch., 1948


Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas 2017 singles, Part 1

My insomnia continues, and I'm running on fumes right now.  However, I managed to get a very nice two-hour (or so) nap tonight, and, boy, is it nice to sleep.  And I'm on a new med combination that promises to (slowly) correct my sleep problems.  Just not overnight.  There's a pun there, someplace.

At the tiny chapel where I volunteer as organist, we're having our Sunday Christmas Eve service in the morning--which is cool, since temps in the low 30s are coming on that day, along with snow, starting in the afternoon.  I'm fine with not driving at night in that setting.  I hope lack of sleep doesn't put me face-first on the organ keys, snoring away in the middle of our carol sing, because that would be both embarrassing and unprofessional.  "A Service of Lessons and Carols" our pastor calls that section of the service, but I call it our carol sing.  Since this is my blog, "carol sing" wins.

I'll remember this as the Christmas of Insomnia. Oh, by the way, I have two copies of Ruby Wright's "Merry, Merry, Merry, Mery XMas," and I wish I'd scanned the labels to show you, because one copy has four "Merry"'s in the title, plus "XMas," whereas the other copy simply says, "Merry, Merry Christmas."  Exact same recording, record label, artists, etc.  How "Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry" got demoted to "Merry, Merry," I can't pretend to know.  I guess they wanted to save on ink.

("Let's see--do we need four 'Merry''s or just two?")

But enough of that--here are twelve great Christmas singles, all waiting for you in the zip file I just uploaded to Zippyfile--I mean, Zippyshare.  (Is it morning?  What day is this?)

Click here to experience: Christmas Singles, Part 1


Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Xmas (or Else)--Ruby Wright w. Cliff Lash and His Orch., 1957.
Season's Greetings--Larry Noble w. Pete Pontrelli and His Orch., 1959.
Boofo Goes Where Santa Goes--Linn Sheldon (Cleveland, Ohio, kiddie show host), 1958.
Rabbits Have a Christmas--Same
Buzzy, the Christmas Bee--Jeff and Sue Mitchell, Orch. c. by Duke Mitchell (It's a Click 728)
Winter Song--RCA Victor Male Chorus, 1925.
Dear Lord and Santa Claus--Biddle (Bo) Peep
Elizabeth the Christmas Queen--Buddy Pastuck, the Roller Skating Cowboy, 1978.
Ghost on Christmas Eve--Allen and the Lads
The Story of Christmas (J. Melis)--Jose Melis, 1958
Christmas Everywhere--Fran Alexandre, 1956
One Star--Same



Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Feminist Christmas Carols--Feminist Carolers (1972)

From 1972, familiar Christmas carols with feminist lyrics substituted by Russellyn S. Carruth, whom a Google search identifies as a Pittsburgh lawyer, if she is in fact the same Russellyn S. Carruth.  Not a common name, so....

These come from the nine-track 45 rpm EP Feminist Christmas Carols (above).  "Hold the Door" is sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells," "O Come Dear to Bed" to "O Come, All Ye Faithful," and so on.  The download includes scans of the two lyric sheets included with the EP--you'll need them.

Enjoy: Feminist Christmas Carols--Feminist Carolers (1972)


Hold the Door
We Teach Our Sons
O Come Dear To Bed
Onward to the Legislature
Somewhere Today
Mickey Mouse
Oh Susan B.
Senate Rules Committee
Twelve Days of Marriage

All written by Russellyn S. Carruth, 1972.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Freddy Martin and His Orch.--Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite in Dance Tempo (1942)

A 1949 two-45rpm-EP RCA Victor reissue of a 1942 Freddy Martin set that's one of the coolest shellac sets ever made.  We'll let the 1949 liner notes (were they transferred from the original issue?) tell the story:

"The success of his dance version of Tchaikovsky's 'Piano Concerto' made it a natural next step for Freddy Martin to make a dance arrangement of another masterpiece of the Russian composer, "The Nutcracker Suite."  Since it was written by Tchaikovsky as dance music in the first place, it's especially well suited to modern dance adaptation."  So there.  By the way, the arranger is Ray Austin, not Martin.  Anyway....

Is the music corny?  To an extent, yes.  Martin's music was a weird mixture of schmaltz and brilliance.  It works for me, and then some.  Crack musicianship, occasional swing, state of the art recording quality--what's not to like?  Martin had one hell of a band.  AND he gave us Merv Griffin, don't forget.

I used an inverse RIAA curve and a bass turnover of 500 HZ, which gives the sound a nice full quality, I think.  (Me, trying to sound technical.)

Download without delay: Freddy Martin--Nutcracker Suite

Overture Miniature
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
Russian Dance
Arab Dance
Chinese Dance
Dance of the Reed Flutes
Waltz of the Flowers


A 1958 McDonald's Flexi disc not from 1958 or McDonald's


"Oh, boy," I said in my head.  "A McDonald's flexi-style record from 1958!  Hm.... The art doesn't look like the right period, but what the heck.  I need this one."  I bid on it and won.

Now, had I looked at all three pictures (I only noticed the cover) and actually read the description in the ad, I'd have learned right off that 1) It's not the fast-food-chain McDonald's, 2) The disc style is way post-1958 (in fact, Eva-tone Soundsheets started in 1962), and the 1958 date is the song copyright, not the date of issue.  You'll recall that 1958 was the year Harry Simeone tried to claim Katherine K. Davis' Carol of the Drum as his own, renaming it as The Little Drummer Boy.

Every clue to tell me this is not a 1958 McDonald's freebie, including the following sentence in the ad text: "This is not the McDonald's fast food chain."  Oops.  That cold have been an important detail.

Duh.  Double-duh.  Triple-duh.

So, anyway, enjoy this circa-1970 McDonald's (not the fast food chain) Eva-Tone Soundsheet recording of The Little Drummer Boy.

The Little Drummer Boy

I are a savvy and informed eBay customer.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Here We Come A-Polka-ing

Click here to polka!!  A Polka Christmas


Santa Claus Polka--Eddie Wojcik Orch., v: Syl Wojcik
Toymakers Song--Keith Williams and his Orch., Vocal by MR. CLAUS and his helpers
Seasons Greetings Polka--Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones
It Must Be Christmas Polka--Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones
When Santa Does the Polka--California Connection
Have a Merry Christmas Polka--Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push
He'll Be Coming Down the Chimney--Mark Janson and the Brass Express
All I Want for Christmas Is a Concertina--No artist credited
Honky Style Christmas--No artist credited
I Can Tell It's Christmas--No artist credited
Stephan's Christmas Party--No artist credited
Under the Mistletoe Polka--No artist credited


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Frank and Jack--beyond odd

Frank and Jack's 1956 novelty versions of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Jingle Bells fall into the so-bad-they're-fascinating category.  Frank and Jack are trying to be Spike Jones, Dickie Goodman, and Wes Harrison all at once, and it does not work.  Yet, somehow, this 45 cries out to be heard, simply because the makers put so much effort into being bad.  Because they put so much time and care into constructing one of the What the...? novelties of all time.

I have no idea what I'm babbling about.  Neither did these guys.  Download without delay.

By the way, Billboard reviewed this on December 8, 1956 and concluded that the first side ('Twas) has "some funny moments" and that "many jocks will find it useful in the coming weeks."  The same person dismissed Jingle Bells as "unfunny."  I'd opt for "really, really dumb."

Maybe I dreamed this record.  Download before I wake up....

Click here to hear: Frank and Jack

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, 1956
Jingle Bells, 1956


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

'Twas the Night Before Christmas--The Mistletoe Singers

Kind of a nice cover for such a cheap LP.  The "Mistletoe Singers" is a fake name for whoever and whatever the label (Tinkerbell) could dig up for this effort, and, to my genuine surprise, the album's a pretty fun mix of frequently-released old stuff (a number of Perry Como sound-alike Johnny Cole/Kay sides from the Johnny Cole Wishing You a Merry Christmas LP on Crown CST-165, 1959), and newly-recorded stuff.  From the sound of the newer stuff, I'd deem this LP a 1970s relic.  No date at Discogs.

"A Favor for the Little Christmas Tree" may be my favorite track: "Now there's something I'd like you to do that will make it all worthwhile: When the holidays come to an end, don't toss me any-old-where.  Instead please plant me once again, 'cause burning me pollutes the air."  It's different.

The usual cobbled-together holiday cheapie, but somehow cooler than most of its type.  Oh, and despite the presence of old Crown material, the company is SPC (Synthetic Plastics Co.).  The give-away?  A barely legible "Ambassador Record Corp." credit on the back cover.

Oh, and the jacket lists the tracks in the correct order.  This is getting to be a pattern.

Click here to hear: The Mistletoe Singers (Tinkerbell SX 1732)


'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Every Little Snowflake
Good King Wenceslas (typo on zipfile--"Wesceslas")
Go Tell It On the Mountain
Gather Around the Christmas Tree
The Mostest, Bestest, Merriest Christmas Time
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The Shepherd's Carol
I Wonder as I Wander
Rise Up Shepherd and Follow
A Favor for the Little Christmas Tree
Cantique de Noel


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas, according to RITE Records (Big 4 Hits and Gateway!)

Today, five selections from the Big 4 Hits label, and four from Gateway Records.  Both were put out in the 1950s by RITE Records of Cincinnati, Ohio.  These are sound-alikes, and they range from fun (The Night Before Christmas Song) to "I've lost the will to continue living" (I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus).  I mean, I Saw Mommy... is going to bad in any version, even when it's done in the proper cutsie, campy, "Isn't that adorable?" fashion, but the Big 4 Hits version is intolerable.  (I really know how to plug my playlists, don't I?)  Fortunately, it's the first track, so it's over quickly enough, and there's much better stuff to follow.

Sources are 78s (Big 4 Hits) and a fairly hammered 45 (Gateway) that I played with my extra-big 45 needle from Rek-o-Kut.  Ending track is the dumb aren't-children-singers-cute standard Nuttin' for Christmas, which, though the song lyrics clearly refer to the behavior of a naughty boy, is sung by one Dolly Nunn.

Even the lightest Decliker/Decrackler filter application on the Gateway Records EP caused fluttering and drop-outs in the male singing voices, so I went ahead and recorded it minus filtering.  Then I went in, obsessively removing some of the louder noise manually.  Do you remember when "clicks" were called "ticks" by serious audio people?  I do.  "Ticks and pops."  (Hm.  A quick Google check shows the term is still in use.)  But to me, they'll always be clicks.

To the cheapo RITE Records Christmas classics: RITE Records Christmas


I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus--Lynn Peal (Big 4 Hits 56, 1953)
Blue Christmas--Preston Ward (Big 4 Hits 110, 1954)
Frosty the Snowman--Eddie Williams (Same)
Here Comes Santa Claus--Billy Thomas (Same)
Winter Wonderland (Frank Roberts (Same)
The Night Before Christmas Song--Eileen Scott (Gateway, 1956)
C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S--Terry Buter (Same)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer--Jack Daniels (Same)
Nuttin' for Christmas--Dolly Nunn (Same)


Friday, December 08, 2017

Merry Christmas from (who else?) Line Material!!

                                 Scans by me, from my collection

(This repeat post appeared in nearly the same form in 2015.)

Ahhhh... Line Material Christmas singles--one of the best parts of any Christmas, anywhere. How to explain? How about with a capsule history of the company: Line Material.

Luckily for all of us, Line Material gave Christmas booklets and records to its employees during the holiday season.  A number of these have survived.  Here are eight of the LM singles, starting with 1956's The Magic of Christmas.  (I own a ninth--1949's Keeping Christmas--but it's not remotely as good as these, so you're not missing anything.)

Oh, yeah--and London-born John McCarthy (1919-2009) was the arranger on tracks 2-7.  That's why they sound so incredibly professional.  John is way better known for his Ambrosian Singers Christmas sides.  From 1961 to 1966, the Ambrosian Singers were known as the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus.  (Last bit of info swiped from Discogs.)

Here's John, from 1989:

Click here to hear: Merry Christmas from Line Material!


The Magic of Christmas--1956
Santa's North Pole Band--1957
The Kinds of Christmas--1958
The Sound of Christmas--1959
Santa's Factoree--1960
The Day That Santa Was Sick--1961
Let's Trim the Christmas Tree--1962
The Story of Santa Claus--1964

Ripped and de-clicked by Lee Hartsfeld, 2007.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Another Record Corporation of America holiday classic!

Sure, it's a cute cover (another 10-incher for Christmas 2017), but it doesn't exactly have "High Quality" printed all over it.  Well, actually, it did, and it took me hours to clone out the lettering.  What a task....

Varsity, of course, was one of Eli Oberstein's labels, so the no-budget nature of this collection should come as no surprise.  No artist credits, BUT (and I consider this a minor Christmas miracle), the tracks are listed in the correct order on the cover!!   A possible first.  Of course, the label screws them up in one spot, but you can't have everything.

I have at least two of these on singles, and there's something about one of the credits that's quite amusing.  Too bad I can't remember what it was....  (Too lazy to dig up the single and check?  Moi?)

The perfect background music for those cheap light-show thingies they're advertising on cable TV (including "Star Shower").

Click here to hear:  Merry Christmas Songs (Varsity 6905)

Consult track listing on cover scan.


Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Merry Mervmas!!

A Merry Mervmas from the late, great Merv Griffin (1925-2007)!

Click here to hear: Merry Mervmas!


Merry Christmas Polka--Merv w. Freddy Martin Orch., 1949
Sleigh Ride--Same, 1950
Christmas Time--Same, 1950
Christmas City--A WDSM Recording, 1962
Song of the Christmas City--Same, 1962

See: The Real Story Behind Merv Griffin's Iconic Song "Christmas City"
A Christmas City surprise discovered inside KBJR6


A "Season's Greetings" record card from our former Toledo, Ohio neighbors

Wow.  The "pre-owned" stuff you spot on eBay: in this case, a Christmas record card from Beringer's Gulf Service--1918 Wayne Street, Toledo 9 Ohio.  "Whoa," I said to myself mentally. "A Gulf gas station, 1918 Wayne Street.  We lived next door!!"  Indeed, we did.

Since there's no date on this disc, I dunno whether the Gulf station was still called Beringer's when we moved next door circa 1962.  It's possible.  After all, it was still Wayne St. and our pre-zip-code "zone" was 9, so those check out.  And it was a Gulf station.  But was it still Beringer's?  Dunno.

Oh, cool instructions on the back of the card--"Best way to play--tape corners to any standard record or to turntable."  And the irony is, this is so far the only cardboard-backed disc I haven't had to tape down.  It played just fine!

Merry Christmas from my Toledo neighbors:

DOWNLOAD: Season's Greetings--Beringer's Gulf Service--1918 Wayne St., Toledo 9 Ohio.


Merry Christmas from the Garcia Corporation!

This may be the weirdest company-produced Christmas single of them all, but of course one can never be sure.  Two, perhaps, but not one.  It's Garcia's long-playing Merry Christmas EP from 1962--the Garcia Corp. of Teaneck, NJ, to be exact.  In 1980, Garcia became the Swedish ABU Garcia.  It's all explained here in a manner that's almost possible to completely follow.

If "Abu" doesn't sound particularly Swedish, it's because it's a shortening of "AB Uhrfabriken." So there.  ABU Garcia makes highly valued fishing reels.  And highly obscure Christmas EPs.

And I just accidentally deleted the URL, so let me re-find it.  The weather has my sinuses in turmoil, which puts me in space.

I regret to report that Garcia had no closing jingle.  That is, no chorus singing "Merry Christmas from Garcia Corporation fishing poles," possibly because that would be a bear to set to a tune.

Click here to hear: Garcia--Merry Christmas


Silent Night--Garcia Glee Club
Noel--French Mitchell Chorus
Forever Christmas---Composed and Sung by Tony Baly
The Star Over Eastern Land--Swedish Abu Chorus
Christmas Is Here Again---Swedish Abu Chorus
Silent Night--German by Plate Chorus

Produced and arranged by Sal Muley of the Garcia Corporation


Saturday, December 02, 2017

The Ain't-Not Tree--Radio City Music Hall Chorus, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1963

The Ain't-Not Tree, as featured by the Radio City Music Hall Chorus in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1963.  Cute song, but the lyrics aren't the easiest to make out.  (Maybe my 60-year-old ears are partially to blame.)

But here are some of the lines I made out:

"It ain't not big, It ain't not small."

"The Ain't-Not blooms at Christmas, the favorite time of year."

and my favorite...

"It never saw the out-of-doors, Because it grows in Macy's stores."

The flip is the Carollers crooning "A modern Christmas carol" called Happy Birthday, Dear Christ Child.

I hope you ain't-not going to not download this classic:

Click here to hear: The Ain't-Not Tree.

The Ain't-Not Tree--Radio City Music Hall Chorus
Happy Birthday, Dear Christ Child--The Carollers


Friday, December 01, 2017

A Gilmar and Tops 78 rpm Christmas!

I had no idea the cheapie label Gilmar had produced 78s, so when this showed up on a 78 list, I grabbed it.  (Actually, I sent money for it and waited for it to arrive via USPS.  I didn't literally grab it.  Tried, but it didn't work.)  Most of Gilmar's output consisted of fake versions of current hits, the material coming from Tops and Broadway/Value--Hit Parade Tunes.  Hence, the "Tops All-Star Orchestra and Chorus" credit on this disc.  (I hope that made sense.)

Pretty rough shape, and sounds terrible with my 78 stylus.  So I tried an LP needle, and... infinitely better results.  That'll happen, sometimes.

The bonus track--The Music Hall Dram Group and Orch. performing The Night Before Christmas--appears to have originated on the Record Guild of America label.  Perhaps Tops purchased the master from it.

Click here to hear: Gilmar--Christmas Favorites


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Have a Hawthorne House and Everlast Products Christmas!

Last year, I shared these two Hawthorne House Record Cards--greeting cards with thin wafer-type records which, to be restored, have to be removed from their paper backing and affixed to a solid surface. As in, to another record.  Click links to hear:

 Jingle Bells--Hawthorne House, 1948
 Joy to the World--Hawthorne House

This year, I have two Christmas postcard records made by Everlast Products, Inc., of NewYork, NY, and the challenge here was flattening the cards so the grooves could be tracked.   To accomplish this, I taped the (rather large) postcards to a couple of unwanted 78s.  Click links to hear:

 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town--Everlast Products, Inc.

 Jingle Bells--Everlast Products, Inc.

Here's what the Everlast postcards looked like, front and back, prior to processing:

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town--Artists unidentifed

Jingle Bells--Artists unidentified



Saturday, November 25, 2017

Christmas songs in Chinese!

Another ten-incher, here.  There are familiar Christmas numbers sung in Chinese--at least, I'm almost sure this is Chinese (so said the ad).  I bought this for the novelty value, but these turn out to be gorgeous renditions in an almost completely Western style (which is kind of a novelty, really--the "Western style" part).  Beautifully recorded, too, and with quite cool cover art.  A winner.

For some reason, Joy to the World is titled Glory For a Child Is Born, and It Came Upon the Midnight Clear goes under, of all names, Christmas Card.  Kind of adds to the charm of the whole thing.  I thoroughly love this album.

Click here to hear:  Christmas Songs

Jingle Bells
Holy Night (Silent Night)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!
Glory For a Child Is Born (Joy to the World)
The First Noel
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Christmas Card (It Came Upon the Midnight Clear)
Christmas Tree (O Christmas Tree)

Tower TWK-6 (10-in., 33 1/3)


Friday, November 24, 2017

Songs of Christmas by the Macy Singers!

Click here to hear: Songs of Christmas--Macy Singers

The First Noel
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Adeste Fideles
Rudolph, the Red-Nose (sic) Reindeer
White Christmas
Jingle Bells
Reprise--White Christmas

The Macy Singers
Directed by Dick Rogers, Conducted and Arranged by Jimmy Leyden
(Benida A-1021; 1955)

You'll be a regular Macy's customer after hearing these singers.  I got this 10" LP for a buck (!) on eBay last year.  It was "Buy It Now," and I bought it now.  Got here very quickly, and for G/VG condition vinyl, it yielded a very good file.  After I removed most of the clicks, anyway.

The mono sound is tremendous, though I decided to tweak the upper end a bit on VinylStudio.  One look at the track titles, and I figured this would be a fairly dull listen, but it's mostly delightful.  Dick (Harlem Nocturne, et al.) Rodgers is the director, and I was surprised by his considerable arranging skills--and then I noticed the Jimmy Leyden (Bell, Decca, RCA) credit on the back jacket.  It was Jimmy, all along.  That explained it.

"This is the first industrial choral group to be signed to a major company for international distribution," note the  notes.  (Not sure about the "major company" part.)  Interesting.  And the group itself?  A spirited, beautifully rehearsed semi-professional outfit which produces some fine sounds, along with some painful ones (esp. on Silent Night).  They won't make you forget Robert Shaw on the arty numbers or Lawrence Welk on the poppy tracks, but they're several cuts above the norm for this kind of group.

The notes call The Macy Singers the "new Miracle on 34th Street"--very clever.


Christmas Party for Children--20 Favorites (Yulesong SY-0222)

We kick off the 2017 Christmas posting with the ultra-cheap classic, Christmas Party for Children--20 Favorites.

And what list of Christmas favorites would be complete without "Hickory Dickory Dock," "Farmer in the Dell," "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "London Bridge," "Me and Teddy Bear," or "The Bible Tells Me So"?  Oh, and they also have filler like "White Christmas," "Silent Night," and "Toy Soldier," the latter sounding a lot like Leon Jessel's 1897 Die Parade der Zinnsoldaten (Parade of the Toy Soldiers).  Uncannily so, in fact.  Hm.  Maybe Yulesong was saving on ink when it typed out "Toy Soldier."

This disc was, quote-unquote,"Mfd. by Cadet Records, Inc.," but we cheap-label experts know that we're not talking the Chess/Argo family of labels, but rather the infamous Crown/Kent/United/Robin Hood/Custom, etc. brood.  What I can't believe is that Yulesong didn't have enough actual holiday cuts on hand to fulfill the LP's "20 Favorites" promise, given all the Crown Christmas material they had in the vaults, but then they didn't specify which kind of "favorites," now, did they?

The sound is acceptable, for the most part, and there's some real stereo to be heard on a few selections, making the label's "stereo" promise not a complete lie.

In the best cheap-label tradition, the title line-up on the jacket has zilch to do with the actual one.  I cloned out the masking tape on my jacket scan, but now I'm thinking I should've kept it there for maximum el-cheapo effect.

Click here to hear: Christmas Party for Children--20 Favorites

White Christmas
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Toy Soldier
The Night Before Christmas
Happy Birthday to You
The Bible Tells Me So
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Alphabet Story & Song
Farmer in the Dell
Hickory Dickory Dock
Little Drummer Boy 
Down By the Station
Me and Teddy Bear
The First Noel
Three Blind Mice
Jack and Jill
Silent Night
London Bridge
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Jingle Bells