Monday, December 10, 2018

Various Artists, Pt. 2--Bob Ellis, Joey Alfidi, Merv, Alex Houston and Elmer

I've switched back to Zippyshare.  Just close the pop-up page, press the download button again, and you should be okay.

Merv, Ray Stevens, Russ Morgan, and the yearly classic, Buzzy. the Christmas Bee.  Joey Alfidi performs with a lot of spunk but no singing ability on The Santa Claus March, a 1956 regular at this blog.  I can't stand the flip side, a slow, nothing ballad, so I didn't rip it.  Toymakers Song is a cute polka (well, polka-waltz) side with good sound effects, and I'm assigning it 1960 for the year, since someone wrote "1960" on the label.

The two 1956 "break-in" sides, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Jingle Bells, may be the least funny artifacts of that particular record genre, and that's saying a lot.  Or not a lot.  Not sure which.  Anyway, "break-in" discs broke out after Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman's The Flying Saucer. (1956), which Wikipedia calls a "mashup."  Whatever.  The Buchanan and Goodman record was genuinely funny in an idiotic way--an intentionally silly effort, skillfully edited.  These two sides are without a point, though the sound effects are cool, at least.

As for Bob Ellis' Santa's Sleigh (see third scan above for label art)... hoo, boy.  Let me cut and paste what I wrote in 2016 regarding this strange artifact.  Bob Ellis was the stage name of Raymond Asserson, Jr., the great-grandson of Rear Admiral Peter Christian Asserson. Raymond was the fourth husband of Christine "Cee Cee" Cromwell, daughter of American diplomat James H.R. Cromwell and Dodge Motor Company heiress Delphine Ione Dodge. Christine got none of the Dodge fortune when her mother Delphine died in 1943, whereupon it was discovered Delphine had disinherited James H.R. Cromwell (after their divorce, I'm guessing) and anyone related to him, which meant "Cee Cee" and her half-sister Anna Ray "Yvonne" (Baker) Ranger. But it doesn't sound like Christine was without dough....

 In 1970. Christine survived a plane crash.  Get the whole story here.  This record was made during Bob's (Raymond's) marriage to Christine. when he was co-managing her night club in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.  You never know what kind of history is going to pop up behind a thrift and/or eBay acquisition.  Maybe it's better not to know, sometimes.

Bill Monroe's 1951 recording of Benjamin "Tex" Logan's Christmas Time's A-Coming is the first-ever, says Wikipedia.  Wiki describes Logan as "an American electrical engineer and bluegrass fiddler."  He performed with Monroe in the 1960s.

Some would call Here Comes Peter Cotton Claus the worst holiday side of all, but it's merely cornball country comedy of the Grand Ole Opry type, and it's for kids, besides.  The concept is kind of cute, really.  It's just that voice--ugh.  But who cares what I think?  No less a country star than Charley Pride gave his endorsement for the LP which yielded this track.  Years ago at this very blog, I heard from the lady who, as a little girl, said "Wait, Peter Cotton Claus.  Wait for me!" on this record.


Click here to hear: VA, Part 2--Christmas 2018

Buzzy, the Christmas Bee--Jeff and Sue Mitchell
The Santa Claus March--Joey Alfidi w. Russ Morgan Orch., 1956
Merry Christmas You Suckers (Roberts)--Paddy Roberts, 1962
Jungle Bells (Dingo-Dongo-Day)--Les Paul and Mary Ford, 1953
'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Breaking Through the Sound Barrier)--Frank and Jack, 1956
Jingle Bells (From the Sound Track)--Same
Christmas City (Don Peterson)--Merv Griffin, 1962
The Song of the Christmas City (Don Peterson) Merv Griffin and Maureen Reynolds, 1962
Toymakers Song--Keith Williams and his Orch., v: Mr. Claus and his helpers, 1960?
Santa's Sleigh--Santa Claus (Bob Ellis) and the La Motta Bros. Orch.
Cowboy Santa--Larry Cartell
Christmas Time's a-Coming (Tex Logan)--Bill Monroe, 1951
Here Comes Peter Cotton Claus--Alex Houston and Elmer, 1972
Santa Claus Is Watching You (Stevens)--Ray Stevens, 1962
Sidewalk Santa--The Merrill Staton Choir, 1960



Buster said...

You didn't mention it (although the anecdotes you did relate are plenty amusing), but I am most interested in the Bill Monroe song.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Well, the label says it's by Tex Logan. And I see I neglected to include the hyphen! ("A-Coming") Oops. On line, it seems to show up, in its various versions, as "A-Comin'"

Wikipedia says this is the original recording, and that Benjamin "Tex" Logan was a Bell Labs engineer! "American electrical engineer and bluegrass music fiddler."--Wikipeida. Far out!

Don said...

Could you reup this ?

Lee Hartsfeld said...

That's weird. It should have been up. I'm sending it to the hosting service as we speak. Will be up in a bit.

Diane said...

I'm shocked that Merv's "Christmas City" is as late into his career as 1962. I thought it was a '50s throwaway. By '62, he was already a game show host and talk show host, on the cusp of big things there. But I guess if you're singing about Duluth, your singing career ain't really working out.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Well, he was still trying his luck as a recording artist--his Cameo LP "My Favorite Songs" was recorded in 1963, and he'd had a couple of chart hits in 1961 (fairly low, but they still charted) on the Carlton label. And he liked to do things like this. He did favors for folks. He seems like he was a weird combination of humble and not so humble. Down to earth in many ways--reportedly, he had no airs about him around employees. On the other hand, he didn't like it when someone else topped his ideas during meetings. So I've read. He was a Republican, but by all appearances a liberal one--he even got in trouble with, I think, CBS for booking so many anti-war guests on his show. And apparently he did not like Donald Trump. So he had to be a pretty good guy. Apparently, Merv gave many entertainers their first breaks, only to have the credit go to Johnny Carson, because Carson was hipper. Merv was for the family. He angered CBS by insisting they honor the terms of his contract when they had him go up against Carson. He was to be paid even if the plan failed. It did, and he demanded his dough, anyway, and they weren't happy. So he had backbone, too. And he was one hell of a big band singer, even if he showed up late in the era.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

True story: I started collecting his records as a joke, then quickly came to like them. Then love them. He had big hits on RCA, but then nothing. His Columbia sides are his best, especially "I Kiss Your Hand, Madame," which he sang in "So This Is Love," where he co-starred with Kathryn Grayson. Never activate a Merv fan(atic)!

Buster said...

Coincidentally, I just reupped the So This Is Love soundtrack. Unfortunately, Merv did not appear on the record, which is all Kathryn Grayson.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Yeah, I know--I bought it many years back, hoping for a Merv track or two. Since there was no Merv, I assumed he didn't sing in the movie. Saw it for the first time a few years back on TCM and was surprised to hear him croon "Madame." I've always wanted to type "Croon 'Madame'."

Don said...


Kwork said...

Thank you!