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

White Christmas
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
Silver Bells
Some Children See Him
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Hallelujah Chorus

Home for Christmas--Terry Baxter/His Orchestra and Chorus (Columbia House DS 950)



Buster said...

Sounds like a good one!

Lee Hartsfeld said...

It's perfect background music. You can half-listen and still be entertained.

Ernie said...

Cool. I've seen some other Terry Baxter/Columbia House stuff before, but never this one. I wonder if he was a real person or just a pseudonym for their record club releases?

Lee Hartsfeld said...

That's an excellent question. I always assumed the name was real, but it could have function as Columbia's "Elliot Everett." When I have a moment, I'll Google him, though I suspect there are tons of Terry Baxters out there, so it'll be a matter of narrowing the search. Sometimes, when I have to wade through a slew of unwanted matches, I just quit. That's one instance in which my OCD doesn't dominate.

giampiero darini said...


Buster said...

I'm guessing it's a recording name used by Columbia. (Discogs shows 17 Terry Baxter LPs, all for Columbia clubs.) That would explain the variety of styles that Lee mentions.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

I also suspect this was culled from a larger Christmas set, or set of sets. (Set of sets??)

Ernie said...

Over at the 'Fa, there was a large Columbia set shared that may be what you're thinking of, Lee. Probably three albums. Maybe something that lacked artist attribution, but my memory is fuzzy, it was years ago. If I can find it, I'll point you towards it.

Kwork said...

Nice! Thank you.