Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Music for the Winter Season, or An Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music (Halo 51500, 1956)

Half an LP for this rip--I stuck with the B side only on this disc, because that's where all the good tracks are.  You're not missing much.  Side 2 is where all the action is.

The last time I put this up was six or seven years ago, and I used my other, lesser-condition copy.  This one is a solid VG+.  Notice the arrow drawn on the B-side label by whoever owned this back in the day.  It indicates that Jingle Bells is both the first and last track, and that is indeed the case.  Luckily, they're different versions.  And March of the Toys occurs twice in different versions, too.  Halo thought they could fool us with March of Toys--leaving out the "the."  Quite ingenious, but I'm afraid it didn't work.  You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool me.  8:30 am at the latest.

This copy has the Record Corporation of America (Eil Oberstein) name and partial address on the back--and, oddly enough, it shows a year of 1957, whereas discogs says 1956.  Not a big deal.  I already put 1956 on the files, and I trust that discog knows what it's doing.  Or the member who posted the info.  This LP either preceded my appearance on the planet by one year, or it saw life the same year I did. (Sputnik, Jailhouse Rock, Leave It to Beaver!)

This copy says "Halo" on both the cover and label, and while that doesn't make up for the botched track listing or the conflict between jacket title and label title (Christmas Music for the Winter Season vs. An Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music), it shows that Olbertsein's labels could get something right.  My other copy is a mess, attribution-wise, its cover showing "Ultraphonic" in the upper left-hand corner, but "Golden Tone" at the bottom and on the back.  What does the label say?  "Rondo-lette," what else?.  I don't have time check to, so I'll just assume Tops owned this material by time it came out on Golden Tone (Golden Tone and Tops being related).  And I lied--I did have time to check.  Took me a couple minutes.  Tops was owned by Precision Radiation Instruments (PRI), Incorporated, and Golden Tone was one of PRI's sublabels.   In the early 1960s, Golden Tone acquired some Record Corp. of America material, apparently including this LP.  Isn't it all clear as crystal now?

The "Royale Concert Orch." credit suggests there was a Royale label version of this at some time, and in fact at least four of these tracks came out on Royale under the title Christmas Orchestral Music.  There's obviously one long confused and confusing history behind this.  Oh, and there's nothing close to one hour of music here.  And think of the time I could have saved by not worrying about any of this.

I could have shortened this essay to "Side B has cool stuff."  But, nooooo.

Ultraphonic, Halo, Royale, Rondo-lette, and Golden Tone tracks are waiting for your ears:

CLICK HERE TO HEARA (Not) Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music ( Halo 51500, in this case)


Jingle Bells
White Christmas
March of the Toys
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
March of Toys
Jingle Bells

An Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music--Royale Concert Orch., or whatever this really is (Halo 51500; 1956 or 1957), Side B only



Ernie said...

So wait, I missed something. What happened to the other side?

barba said...

just wanted to say "have a happy" before the big day. that stuff by edouard scott that you mentioned... isn't that cool? after all those stories about edison and 'mary had a little lamb', this other guy beats him by almost twenty years. actually, i had heard about it previously and had been hoping that you or buster would find some discarded christmas phonautograms in a 'marche aux puces' or 'will de good'and post them. but no such luck. (i doubt if ernie would do it unless he could somehow find stereo versions.) well, a new year and new ventures are upon us. so keep an eye out. thanks.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


I decided to stick with Side B only, because that's where all the good tracks are. I had mentioned that in my essay, but that paragraph got lost. I was up late, and I had the same Blogger page up in Two windows. Discovering this, I shut off one of the Windows, losing my place in the essay. This is what happens when I work fast....


If I come across any phonautograms, I'll let you know. I'll probably see what I can get for them first--those would be worth serious dough.


Ernie said...

I've already been told that I'm getting a non-functional cylinder player for Christmas! How excited am I!! Comes with a box of Blue Amberols! I doubt if any of them are in stereo though...

Buster said...

Merry Christmas to my pals Lee, Ernie and barba - and to all who see this message!

barba - I'll be on the lookout for phonoautograms, but honestly it's hard enough to find plain old vinyl and shellac around here.

Gilmarvinyl said...

I have this album, I posted the full album on on YouTube. I like the A side more than the B side, but that is just me.

Anonymous said...

You got me curious now! What's wrong with side A? Is it that It's all 'blander than bland ' super generic choral singing (seeing these are the more religious Christmas tunes) and the sound, being what Royale is, is super duper muddy, making the bland into inaudible mush? LOL (I have nothing against choral singing, btw, as I enjoyed your other offerings of this nature!)

Lee Hartsfeld said...

I'm not completely sure--maybe it was just because I was pressed for time, with stuff that had to be done (quick practice for church, feed the cats, etc.).

Yes, it was partly the same ol' aspect, but mostly the contrast between the two sides. One quite exceptional (at least by this label group's standards!), the other perfectly okay but a bummer by comparison. I can rip it if people wish. I just felt like getting to the good stuff. Where else are you going to get a side that repeats two of the selections, lists six selections when there are seven, and so on?

But I'll happily rip side A.

Kwork said...

Lee, thank you for side b. I am admittedly also curious about side a if you do choose to rip it. Thank you so much!