Only here will you find a holiday playlist which includes both John McCormack and Nelson Pendergrass. Some repeats from last year, a few not, and at least one that's "new." And I have no idea what I just typed.
The Teresa Brewer side, from 1975, is too much for even me to take. Sure, it's just a combination of standard Christmas song cliches: A kid making a selfless holiday plea, a message to Daddy that we're doing okay, the whole "Dear Santa" bit. But what pushes it over the top for me is the line, "Please fly down Heaven's chimney 'stead of mine." Heaven's chimney? I couldn't come up with something that awful if I spent a hundred years! Let's face it--I'm jealous.
The John McCormack side is from 1941, and I used to have it on a U.K. Decca 78, but I damaged it with a drop of my gramophone needle (back when I had an HMV cabinet gramophone). These days, I could have simply ripped a file and cut out the noise, but back then.... Anyway, it's the nicest Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring I've ever heard. McCormack may be my favorite singer of all time. In fact, he is.
Connie Francis' Baby's First Christmas (1962) and the Lauritz Melchior's Ave Maria (1947) were St. Vincent de Paul 45 rpm finds. The latter is a reissue of a 78, using the same catalog number, and while I prefer John McCormack's version of this Bach-Gounod classic, Lauritz is just fine. And Baby's First Christmas is very well done--certainly, less corny than I expected. Maybe once a person has heard Take a Message to Jesus, anything sounds serious by comparison. When Santa Does the Polka sounds just about as you'd expect, except for maybe the children's chorus. I like the idea of polka music giving Santa's reindeer the energy to make their rounds. And Ron Oliver, who gives us a terrific version of Victor Herbert's March of the Toys, was really someone else--years ago, a reader told me his real name, but of course I don't remember. If anyone knows, please share.
Two 1950 tracks of Merv Griffin with Freddy Martin, The Cadillacs (better known for Speedoo) giving us an R&B Rudolph, Ruby Wright singing Merry, Merry Christmas (my other copy of this 45 says Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas), our yearly square dance version of Jingle Bells (with calls by Lawrence Loy), Bobby Helms doing his 1965 version of Burt Bacharach and Larry Kusik's The Bell That Couldn't Jingle, and two sides by Nelson Pendergrass on the Tulsa OK label Pride. I do not know who Nelson Pendergrass is, except that he recorded for Pride.
Larry Kusik is much better known for Speak Softly, Love from The Godfather.
And this mouse pen is driving me nuts. I'm so used to the traditional mouse. Plus, sometimes I have to click any number of times to get things to open, and I'm not yet sure why. I'll figure it out.
Click here to hear: Various Artists, Christmas 2018
Baby's First Christmas--Connie Francis w. Don Costa, 1962
Ave Maria (Bach-Gounod)--Lauritz Melchior w/ Georgie Stoll and the MGM Orch., 1947
Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring (Bach)--John McCormack, 1941
When Santa Does the Polka--California Connection, 1991
March of the Toys--Ron Oliver and His Orch.
Sleigh Ride (Anderson)--Merv Griffin w. Freddy Martin and His Orch., 1950
Take a Message to Jesus--Teresa Brewer, 1975
Massachusetts Mixture (Jingle Bells)--Leonard Loy w. Wilbur Waite's Pokeberry Promenaders, 1951
Merry, Merry Christmas (Lyons)--Ruby Wright w. Cliff Lash and his Orch. and The Dick Noel Singers, 1957
Santa Comes Tonight (Pendergrass)--Nelson Pendergrass
Christy the Christmas Tree (Pendergrass)--Nelson Pendergrass
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer--The Cadillacs, 1956
The Bell That Couldn't Jingle (Bacharach-Kusik)--Bobby Helms, 1965