Holiday shellac for 2018. And I've tried in vain to come up with any Christmas word play that goes with "shellac," "platter," or "seventy-eights." "Shivery shellac," for instance, could describe the cold weather of the season, but it sounds much more like Halloween, so....
Festive phonograph records? No, no. Gramophone greetings? Um, for the season? No, forget it.
Anyway, I put these sides up last year, but the links expired long ago, and I wanted to make new rips, as I've gotten a lot better at using VinylStudio, the software I use to select the proper response curves for these things. Ironically, VinylStudio, despite the "Vinyl," is ideal for 78s, but the company apparently couldn't decide if it was selling to 78 fans or Boomers digitizing their rock vinyl. All I know is that no Eric Clapton or Yes LPs reside in my collection. Yet I use VS nonstop. So there.
Five of the files contain two sides of a disc--I did this wherever there was a Part 1 and Part 2. Hence, Paul Whiteman's Silent Night, Holy Night (arranged by Bill Challis) and Christmas Melodies (arranged by Ferde Grofe) are combined. Ditto for the Brunswick Concert Band, Gilbert Girard, and the Regimental Band of H.M. Grenadier Units numbers, plus Prince's Orch.'s Memories of Christmas. All but five sides are pre-electric, so, if they sound like they were recorded acoustically by large horns, that's because they were. We open with Mark Andrews' pipe organ solo version of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, and the fidelity is downright incredible--the first year for commercial microphone recordings, no less. Apologies for the loud rumble at the start--I don't know if that's the result of a small record warp or if it was something happening in the studio. It quickly passes. The "descriptive" sides (all acoustical) are delightful, with the sound effects ringing through loudly and clearly. Less delightful, to my ears anyway, is Gilbert Girard's "Children's Story with Imitations," Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land. I'm not sure which I find more grating--his horrible rolled r's or his awful vocal sound effects. Surely, someone in this era had talent in the latter area--how else would radio dramas have evolved so quickly? I realize this is for kiddies (or was for kiddies), but I listen to this guy and I want to shoot him. The pre-Revelers Shannon Quartet does a terrific job on Jingle Bells, though the sound engineering has issues. Not only are the voices too tinny, there's machine noise at the start that really comes through with a modern pick-up. I isolated that small section and clipped the bass. But, like the Mark Andrews side, this was 1925, so no doubt they were still solving mic-placement problems, and the like, and in studios designed for horn recording. So I forgive the audio issues.
Children's Toy March is a slower rendition of the main air of On a Christmas Morning. Just in case it sounds familiar. Why the singers sound so muffled on Around the Christmas Tree, I do not know--maybe they were too far off to the side or something. But the Spike Jones-esque sound effects are the real point of the side, so no matter. If I were a kid in the 1910s, I'd be playing the Prince's Orch. sides until the grooves were gone, and I'd use the Girard side as a proto-frisbee.
To the shellac: Christmas 2018, Part 2!--More 78s
Messiah--Hallelujah Chorus--Mark Andrews, Pipe Organ Solo, 1925
On a Christmas Morning--Descriptive (Currie)--Prince's Orch., 1911
Kiddies' Patrol (Christmas Eve)--Kiddies' Dance (Christmas Morning)--Brunswick Concert Band, 1920
Santa Claus' Workshop--Yuletide Orch. (Prince's Orch.), 1910
Fra himlen hoit kom budskap her (Vom Himmel hoch)--Cornet Quartet w. ogan and bells--Norwegian, 1904
Children's Toy March (Currie)--Prince's Band, 1912
Around the Christmas Tree--Descriptive (Prince)--Prince's Orch., 1913
Santa Claus Tells of Mother Goose Land--Pts. 1 and 2--Gilbert Girard, 1922
Jingle Bells--Shannon Quartet, 1925
Snow Time--Columbia Quartette, 1911
Silent Night, Holy Night (A: Challis)--Christmas Melodies (A: Grofe)--Paul Whiteman and His Orch., 1928
Children's Symphony (Haydn)--Prince's Orch., 1913
Memories of Christmas--Parts 1 and 2 (R.H. Bowers)--Prince's Orch., w. Contralto Solo and Male Quartette, 1918
Angelus (Massenet)--Charles O'Connell, Pipe Organ Solo, 1925
Christmas Time in Merrie England, Parts 1 and 2--Regimental Band of H.M. Grenadier Units, c. Lieut. Geo. Miller, 1922