Thursday, December 06, 2018
Terry Baxter Orchestra and Chorus--Home for Christmas (Columbia House DS 950)
A Christmas without Terry Baxter is like... a Christmas without Terry Baxter. This is a Columbia House mail-order LP, and I like the way it touches all the bases, musically--Silver Bells to Some Children See Him to Rudolph to The Holy City to Hallelujah Chorus. I was expecting same-sounding tracks, but the arranging styles vary a lot, with tracks that recall Ray Conniff, Robert Shaw, Johnny Mann, and George Melachrino. I especially like White Christmas, which uses musical quotations almost to the point of comedy, but it's all the more fun because of them. Meanwhile, Rudolph sounds like a joint Henry Mancini/Floyd Cramer effort, and there's a beautiful brass version of The First Noel, though at one point it sounds like an organ has joined in, creating a serious mismatch in resonance. I still like it. The Holy City is a standout, too, with an elaborate, George Martin-esque sound. I've always wanted to type "a George Martin-esque sound." Silver Bells gets a sort of bluesy treatment--Ray Charles Lite. I love the ways the styles bounce around.
Everything is expertly done, of course. Well, nearly everything--the piano-dominated instrumentals are pretty tacky compared to the rest of the LP, and they contain enough keyboard bloopers to warrant retakes. Maybe these were rushed to meet a deadline. But the rest of Home for Christmas is top-notch in the musicianship department. A much better LP than I would have expected from Columbia House. That'll teach me.
Some groove wear affecting the high frequencies, though the numerous light clicks vanished after VinylStudio's declicker got done with them, with a little help from MAGIX.
Click here to hear: Home for Christmas--Terry Baxter Orch. and Chorus
The Little Drummer Boy
The First Noel
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine
When Christmas Comes
The Holy City
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Joy to the World
Angels We Have Heard on High
Some Children See Him
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Home for Christmas--Terry Baxter/His Orchestra and Chorus (Columbia House DS 950)