Monday, December 24, 2018
Dreck the Halls with Premier Albums--tra, la, la, la....
One glance at the back cover tells us this is the outfit that gave us Coronet and Spin-O-Rama. In other words, Premier Albums, Inc., which didn't even bother to provide a label name for this one. So you know it's going to be maximum bang for your dollar-bin buck. Sure enough, it's a cobbled-together effort with mostly dreadful audio quality, but it does have the best fake-hit version of The Little Drummer Boy I've so far come across, a recording which also appears on Ultraphonic and Tiara, and a 45 rpm single whose label I can't recall. It's ruined by a barely visible but bad scratch, so I substituted my Ultraphonic version, which was mastered at a slightly faster speed--I slowed it down to match the one on this LP. Other tracks are fine, scratch-wise, if not sound-wise. The fun and lively stuff happens on Side A, with Side B devoted to Silent Night, O Little Town, etc. The 21 minutes of fun ends with a dreadful version of I Heard the Bells, whose words were written by Longfellow. I didn't know that. This track doesn't use the traditional tune (Waltham), which I was never crazy about but which tops this one. To be fair, it's hard to judge the quality of a tune when it's this badly arranged and recorded.
The clunky rendition of Deck the Halls (once known as Deck the Hall) sounds very familiar, but I can't place where else I heard it. It's one of my shares for this year, but which one?
The front jacket is terrific. Premier's covers were usually at or below Design-label standards, so I don't know what was happening here. A totally cool cover when you least expect it.
The Caroleers are credited with these tracks, and they sure had a knack for sounding like eight or nine different outfits. I'm guessing "The Caroleers" is a totally made-up credit. They show up on other collections, and I don't know if that generic credit was unique to Premier, or what. If I did know at one time, I don't at this one. To the fun....
CLICK HERE TO HEAR: The Little Drummer Boy (Premier Albums, Inc.)
The Little Drummer Boy
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly
Twas the Night Before Christmas
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
I Heard the Bells
The Little Drummer Boy--Christmas Songs for Children (Premier Albums XM-8)