Tuesday, December 04, 2018

A Sears, Roebuck and Company Christmas!

When I found this Silver Seal LP, I thought I'd really found something.  Alas, despite its lack of artist credits, it's just an edition of this Johnny Kay LP (image swiped from discogs):

Darn.  Oh, well.  Perry Como-soundalike Kay had a nice voice, and these under-rehearsed arrangements are adequate enough (the background singers get lost at times), but there's so little change in tone and feel throughout the album, things get a bit monotonous.  To my ears, anyway.  Plus, to me, Kay sounds like the winner in a Perry Como Sound-Alike contest, with an astonishingly similar voice but without Como's soulfulness.  Como was very laid-back, of course--that was his brand--but I think he sang more smoothly and with more warmth.  Of course, many find Perry too bland, but I'm right and they're wrong.  A famous blues singer--I'm almost sure it was B.B. King--named Como and Tony Bennett as two of his favorite artists.  The interviewer wasn't sure he'd heard correctly, but he had.  It's always funny when a big-name blues or R&B artist ends up liking someone we wouldn't expect him to, but we're all allowed to like whatever and whomever we choose.  Blues singers, too.  It's in the Constitution.

Here I am, presenting a Johnny Kay LP that Sears didn't bother to attribute to him, and I'm talking B.B. King, Perry Como, and Tony Bennett.  But I really did enjoy this, because I've read a lot about Johnny Kay (he has his fans), and I have him on some Prom/Promenade sound-alike tracks, so this is a chance to hear him twelve times.  (Once per track.)  And the sound is mostly excellent, for which I have to thank VinylStudio's amazing declicker.  After VS declicked the LP, I exported it to MAGIX, where I did some more work and placed track markers, etc., but most of the cleaning was VS's.  If you could hear what this sounded like when I set the needle down vs. the final result--well, pretty amazing.  I wasn't sure I could save it.  Merry Christmas from VinylStudio.

Christmas Carols--Johnny Kay (Silver Seal 1000)

Silent Night
The Wassail Song
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Away in a Manger
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
I Wonder As I Wander
We Three Kings
Oh, Tannenbaum
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Come All Ye Faithful



Buster said...

I've seen the lower cover many times, but never the Sears version that I can recall.

Ernie said...

I would have bought that in a heartbeat if I'd seen it! I still would, even knowing what's on it. I love to see things that I've never seen before, can you tell? :) Thanks!!

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Same here. The label alone is worth the purchase--and I think I paid maybe a buck.


I wonder if Sears sold these at stores, in catalogs, or both?

Buster said...


I don't know about what they did. Back in the 40s, they sold Silvertone 78s via the catalog, if I remember correctly. I often see their 60s Sears records LP series of Capitol reprints, but again, not sure how they sold them.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Earlier on, they had the Conqueror label. I came across a stack of those at an antique show--they had belonged to two guys living in the mountains, obviously catalog-ordered. What mountains, I don't recall. The dealer gave me the info. They were cool, but he wanted too much for them. Five bucks each. Nothing I wanted. But I recall they were in great shape, as if they'd never been played. Maybe the two guys just bought them to go with the gramophone decor.

Buster said...

Right - I think I have one of those Conquerors. Can't remember the artist, but it might be Jack Pettis.

Ernie said...

Lots of cool info about the Sears record business at this link:


Looks like they were sold in both stores and mail order.

Buster said...

Ernie - Thanks awfully much - it's a topic I would like to read about, but the link doesn't work (for me).

Kwork said...

Thank you very much!