Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year From Pickwick Sales Corp.!--"Tinker Town Santa Claus," "The Sound of Christmas," more!

 



I thrifted this during my three day internet-withdrawal period, and I apparently got a great deal at 99 cents--it's at Discogs in Poor condition for $56.00 (Can the dealer be serious?), and it doesn't show up at all on eBay.  My copy has some moisture damage to the back jacket but is otherwise fine.  Such a tacky-cool cover photo, and if the copyright year shown on the back cover is the year of release, then this is from 1957 (Design's first year).  This is quite possible, since the label is in the earliest style, complete with the promise of "Stereo Sonic Sound," which this disc does not deliver--the tracks are all mono.  Stereo didn't happen at Design until the early 1960s, apparently, but I guess Pickwick Sales Corp. figured no one would sue.  I can picture a Design engineer saying to the label makers, "Anyone who buys this junk isn't going to know what stereo is.  So, don't worry."  Label makers: "But you guys are liable if someone gripes, right?  Right?  Right?  Hello?"

The tracks, all released as singles or EP tracks on Pickwick's Cricket and Playhour labels (and who knows where else), date back to 1953 or earlier (I suspect A Christmas Carol is pre-1953), and I'll have to say they're well performed and produced--surprisingly so, given that 1) they're from the early 1950s and 2) products of Pickwick.  I've always had a less than glowing opinion of Pickwick's kiddie stuff (Cricket, Playhour, Happy Time), but maybe that's because of the highly uneven quality of the pressings, plus the fact that Pickwick re-re-re-reissued its tracks in greater numbers than SPC and Waldorf combined.  But hearing these tracks all packed into a single album has me reevaluating the Pickwick kiddie line.  I suppose these could be considerably worse.  The singers are good, the super-condensed version of A Christmas Carol is fun and nicely spooky (it's like a Classics Illustrated version of a Classics Illustrated version), and Ding Aling Dong, The Sleighbell Song (aka, Ding-A-Ling Dong, The Sleigh Bell Song) remains one of my favorite cheap kiddie holiday numbers.  Plus, we get the ad-jingle-sounding Tinker Town Santa Claus, which I first heard in its 1970s Playhour Records edition, and I've Got Eighteen Cents, an annoying number sung by Rosemary Jun (1928-2016), whose real name was Rose Marie Jun, and who can't be blamed, since she didn't pen the thing.  Rose Marie, aka Rosemary, is credited on the back jacket, along with the Cricketones, Toby Deane, Norman Rose, and Linnea Holm, and the label lists the Cricket Children's Playhouse (which doesn't seem to have existed) and one Brett Morrison, who was actually Bret Morrison (1912-1978), and who, among others, played The Shadow on the radio.  

Here's Brett (left).  Pickwick's children's labels had a weird habit of referring to singers as "casts," as in "Performed with full cast and orchestra."  And its "cast" credits weren't consistent, either--sometimes, they varied between sleeve and label, and (far as I can tell) from issue to issue.  But Pickwick wasn't trying for anything near the orbit of perfection, so we can forgive them for screwing things up on a regular basis.  I mean, do we have a choice?  Five of the Christmas Is for Children selections are traditional, if we include Jingle Bells (a pop song, really) under "traditional."  Four of the five are sung by the St. Margaret's All Boys Choir, who might be the group doubling as "Santa's Friends" on Jingle Bells, and these tracks are a nice break from some of the over-cuteness which precedes them, such as Little Christmas Stocking with the Hole in the Toe (aka Just Come up with a Title So We Can Get Out of Here), and the Eighteen Cents song, which, again, I'm sure was merely another gig for Rose Marie Jun, and not something we can pin on her in any way.  In all, the perfect cheap collection.  If you don't believe me, ask Roy Freeman, Director of Artists and Repertoire (Pickwick had one of those??): "Here is as fine a group of gay holiday songs as you'll find under any musical Christmas tree...All of the favorites for Santa's little helpers."  And I can so picture 1957 children yelling, "We want Tinker Town Santa Claus--and I've Got 18 Cents!"  

"Many, many happy Yuletide hours are the promise and offering of this gala Christmas package...and may we warn you in advance...BE SURE..OPEN BEFORE CHRISTMAS..."  Oops.  Guess we're a little late.  Well, not if we're going by the Julian calendar, in which case Christmas isn't until January 7.  My edition must be missing some material, since it clocks in at about 37 minutes, not "many, many happy Yuletide hours." Curious.  Maybe everyone was drunk.  Wow, this album even had a program and technical consultant.  And it's a CP LP.  "CP is Design's designation of controlled production."  You can read all about it on the back jacket scan.  I'm just overwhelmed by how much effort they put into this collection of previously released singles, to say nothing of the number of folks involved.  Oh, and I stand corrected--apparently, we're getting "the complete Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol.'"  Somehow, I don't remember it being so brief.  And I thought the author was Charles Dickens, not Dicken.

Anyway, have a happy Pickwick New Year!


DOWNLOAD: Christmas Is for Children (Design DLPX 2; 1957?)




Lee

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Yet more Christmas 78s, Part 2!--David Rose, Art Mooney, Gennett Sound Effects, New Temple Quartette, Bläserchor



I'm still here.  I think, anyway.  (I think, therefore I'm here.)  Three days away from the internet--a situation I handled with unusual maturity (to my surprise), then back home, and with my allergies running on high.  So I'm like Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction--movin' kinda slow.  You may wonder why I'd be having allergy issues at a time when pollen has left the air, but there are other things in the air that can cause sinus issues.  Mold, for one.  Also, wonky weather--with fronts moving in from all angles--is the enemies of sensitive sinuses.  We sinus sufferers can't win!

But we're not here to talk sinuses--we're here to talk Christmas shellac.  Actually, we're here to listen to it.  We start with some amazing, almost hi-fi fidelity on David Rose's wonderful Christmas Medley from 1949, for which I combined both sides into a single file.  I'm 99.9 percent sure Rose was the arranger, and, as far as Handel as composer of the Joy to the World melody, this was long accepted to be the case, but nowadays Handel scholars say no--The tune (Antioch) is, in fact, by Lowell Mason, and the words, of course, are by Isaac Watts.  And, while the song is used to announce the coming of Christ, it's actually a Second Coming song.  I have a number of early-to-mid 19th century tunebooks, and second coming numbers were a big thing around the time of Mason's tune (1839).  The words are much earlier--1719.

Vom Himmel Hoch, my second-favorite melody by Martin Luther, appears in two versions in our playlist--first, in a brass ensemble version recorded in Germany around (just a guess) the late 1940s.  I could find zilch about the catalog number--not even in my 78 dating guide.  No year, either, for the (non-Columbia) Okeh label version sung in German by a "Christmas Chorus" with Orch. and Chimes (bells), though it's acoustical and likely 1919-ish.  The Okeh catalog no.--10097--refused to show up in any of my discographical resources.  I hate it when that happens.  The vocal version is really cool.  If Vom Himmel Hoch reminds you at all of A Mighty Fortress (also Luther), it's because of the identical closing cadence.

The Gennett Sound Effects series is from the 1930s, and apparently the Depression hurt Gennett sales to the point that the company spent the era supplying such 78s for radio stations.  Post-1930s, Gennett's sound effects series tanked.  My green label means a latter 1930s issue, though it could be a reissue of an earlier recording--I don't know.  The first side has four bands, all set up in that typical radio disc fashion--i.e., with no connecting grooves between the bands.  The tracks are Approach, Pass Recede; Approach and Stop; Riding in Sleigh; and Start and Recede.  So, if you've been forever searching for "Start and Recede" sleigh-ride effects, this is your lucky day. Side B is Horse and Sleigh (Continuous), so... yeah. The microphone for these effects must have been hand-held--in spots, you can hear the sound of the person's hand shifting.  The start-ups are kind of awkward, too.

We have to conclude that the turntables used in early radio could be cued for auto-starting.  Which means, of course, that they were electric.  Well, naturally.

And I skipped Art Mooney's 1949 Jingle Bells, which is delightful--it's in the vein of Mooney's I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover, with its energetic sing-along chorus from start to finish.  I love Mooney's postwar sing-along stuff, not only because it predates Mitch Miller, but because the singers don't have a polished, professional sound.  I hate it when, on TV shows and movies, a group of everyday folks sing in church, around the piano, or wherever, and they sound like studio pros.




I'm assuming the New Temple Quartette=The Temple Quartet, and I like the group's draggy, dead-serious style.  I wonder what Joy to the World would sound like, delivered by them in their slow fashion?  The two sides are U.S. and U.K. issues, and both appear to be from 1926, going by the matrix numbers.  I'm not positive, but nearly so.  We think (or I think) of carols as fast-tempo things, but it's cool how slowly numbers like Good Christian Men are taken on vintage discs.  No one was in any hurry, I guess.  We close with Leo Watson's 1946 bebop version of Jingle Bells on the Signature label.  My copy has had a lot of play, as you'll hear, but luckily the music is loud.  Enjoy!


DOWNLOAD: Yet More Christmas 78s, Part 2









Lee

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Yet more Christmas 78s! Shep Fields, William Jennings Bryan, Bob Grabeau, Arthur Pryor, Organta Trio


 

This post was a slightly long time in preparation, since these are all fresh rips, and because photo fixing-up takes a while.  And I seem to be moving more slowly this year.  Maybe I've become more reflective with time.  Perhaps I'm becoming wiser in my not-young age.  (That would be nice.)  Maybe I have iron-poor blood.  It could be a million different things.  Well, not a million--maybe 100,000.  No, not 100,000--maybe 10,000.  Maybe 5, 000.  Will you take 2,000 if I toss in my Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves comic book collection?  Lots of cool Steve Ditko art..

So, today's festive shellac covers the period 1908-?.  I have to use ?, since I don't know the year for Bob Gleason's side on the Another Broken Record label (seriously, that's the label name), and I'm almost sure that the two Eddie Unger songs are from 1951, but I'm not totally sure.  (Near-certainty is just another term for "I don't know.")  Unger's big number was Put Christ Back Into Christmas, and we'll be hearing what's probably the original 1951 version--the same song made famous by George Beverly Shea and Red Foley.  Privately produced, it would seem, as it's on the Unger Music label.  If the matrix is an RCA custom one, then the year is 1951, for sure.

But, back to the beginning, with the Columbia Mixed Quartette, from 1926, singing the still-popular Christmas concert piece The Holy City, written by Michael Maybrick under the nom de plume Stephen Adams.  Very nice version.  The Temple Carol Singers of England give us cool 1915 renditions of The First Noel and While Shepherds Watched, and then Thelma Gracen croons a very nice number called The Christmas Symphony with Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra (1950).  My copy has some condition issues, but not on a scale that ruined anything.  Ambrose Haley is back with 1947's Old Timey Christmas (he was included in one of my sackfuls of singles, but this excellent Western Swing number deserves a second rip), Jack Allyn sings Eddie Unger's Put Christ Back Into Christmas--again, the version made famous by George Beverly Shea and Red Foley, though this predates their cuts by two years (Well, IF the matrix number is an RCA Custom number, which I strongly suspect it is).  The flip, Unger's I Want to See My Mom for Christmas certainly meant well, I'm sure, but it just hits me as a tad creepy...  It's almost like the potential plot for the old Thriller series, hosted by Boris Karloff.  R.H. Bowers' delightful The Kiddies Christmas Frolic of 1919 (I combined the two sides into one file) is beautifully played by the Columbia Orchestra, as led by the composer, R.H. Bowers.  And the title has me wondering about the possessive apostrophe, one of my punctuation stumbling blocks.  I'm always wanting to use it for things like "Children's Concert," but apparently it's often not necessary.  

And now's your chance to start the zip file download while reading on...


DOWNLOAD: Yet More Christmas 78s.







Then, a 1923 Christmas message from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. President Haley Fiske, and dig the almost surreal difference in tone between a 1923 corporate report to employees and the sort of thing we'd hear today.  In place of "We made such-and-such million," Fiske talks about the good work the company has done for the people it serves--work God would approve of.  Boy, is this thing dated.  The flip is the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. Glee Club singing Silent Night.  Glee clubs were still a big thing at the time.  In fact, come to think of it, they're making a comeback today, or so I read.  Then, two acoustical Arthur Pryor renditions from The Nutcracker (or Casse Noisette), dated 1911 and 1912, followed by the International Concert Orchestra's marvelous 1928 rendition of Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, one of the all-time great holiday novelties.  Not to bring anyone down, but I always feel the need to note that its German composer, Leon Jessel, died in 1942 at the hands of the Nazis.  But his joyous, priceless light masterwork lives on.  It was originally titled Parade of the Tin Soldiers (Die Parade der Zinnsoldaten).





Then, from 1923, William Jennings Bryan reciting The Lord's Prayer on a Gennett 78 with a great holiday label.  Next, Sleigh Ride Polka (helpfully identified as a polka on the label), a superbly lively 1941 Columbia side.  This is followed by two 1908 German carols sung by a children's choir (Kinderchor)--Ihr Kinderlein Kommet (one of my favorite carols/hymns) and a very obscure holiday song called O Tannenbaum, which of course was popularized in 1965 by Vince Guaraldi.  (My idea of humor at this time in the morning.)  Then, Bob Grabeau very pleasantly croons Old New England Christmas and That Christmas Waltz on a label called Spartan.  1949, maybe?  Click on the link for a long tribute to Bob.  I already linked to the touching obituary for Bob Gleason, but here's the link again, and I have to say this is one of my favorite pop Christmas sides, and I think because it's done with so much feeling--so much warm, honest feeling.  And it's cool to have a number called Santa Claus Is Coming that doesn't end with "...To Town."  And the label title, Another Broken Record, has to be a pun, a "broken record" being both a new high score or, literally, a damaged disc.  (I have one of those, from a car accident about 20 years ago.)  Certainly not your everyday record label name.







Merry shellac-mas!!


Lee

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2018's Sackfuls (sacks full?) of Christmas--links thereto


Almost-Christmas greetings!  While I try to get my main 78 post finished (all the while, hoping that I'm not duplicating anything I've already posted this season), here are links to my two 2018 "Sackful of Singles" series, in which I see Liberace's pic sleeve and 78--the one I just featured.  The one I hailed as the first appearance of Liberace at this blog.  Oops.  Evidently, he's visited here before.

My only excuse is that two years is a long stretch when measured in blogger time.  An eternity, almost.

Wonderful comments this year, including tons of information on the Japense Christmas single I posted.  I had no idea there were three different children's choruses on that EP--all well known in Japan, too.  I plan to incorporate the comment into into my post--once I'm finished ripping and scanning here.  As always, I could use a staff.  (Not for walking--not yet, anyway.)  A big thanks to everyone who has commented this season, whether to share priceless info or just to say "Thank you."  The comments mean a lot, and... thanks!

The track listings are at the original posts...


LINKS

First sackful of singles  

Second sackful of singles





Lee

Picture sleeve Christmas 78s!

 




On the way, a longer post of Christmas 78s.  But first, here are three cool 78 rpm picture sleeves--and their records!  The record labels and sleeves, I scanned--the grooves, I ripped and uploaded.  Trying it the other way around didn't work so well...

Things start with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, one of my not-favorite holiday standards, though Davey Piper sings well enough, and he has Enoch Light's orchestra and chorus behind him--and, best of all, he isn't Jimmy Boyd.  That's what makes this version so special, imo.  Bear with the rough opening grooves (someone must have pushed a '50s-era tonearm down on them--"Hey, genius--just let the tonearm ride.  You don't have to shove it down!").  I minimized the distortion by using my wider 78 stylus and eliminating the noisier channel (the right), then splicing in the repaired portion, and I got the opening sounding merely lousy, as opposed to dreadful.  But we're only talking 15 seconds or so--everything is smooth tracking after that.  And we don't have to listen to Jimmy Boyd!

The flip--Dolph Dixon's version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer--is so familiar to my ears, I have to wonder on what previous ten cheap labels I've heard it.  This Prom 78 came out in 1953, but this version of Rudolph may very well date back to the year of Gene Autry's hit version: 1949.  The track might even predate the Prom label itself.  Some brave researcher needs to get on that, and right away.

Then, a MY(P)WHAE first--Liberace!  Took him long enough to make an appearance here.  A cool pic label (same photo on both sides), with Wladziu Valentino Liberace looking pretty handsome, actually.  By all reports, he was rather easy on female eyes, and here we have him dressed normally, even--a regular suit and white bowtie.  (I'm not sure I've ever seen a white bowtie before--at least, not white against white.)  I've read that everyday folks of the 1950s lacked gaydar, but I can't say for sure--Wladziu was ahead of my pop music time.  He gives us a nice two-fer of Ave Maria--the Schubert and Gounod/Bach melodies alternated for cool effect--and, on the flip, a very pleasant Christmas medley. I was expecting a more flamboyant single, but I'll take quiet and tasteful at Christmas.  No complaints.  George Liberace conducts.  I had a solo album of his at one time.

The sleeve for the Scotty McGregor It's Santa Claus and Jingle Bells specifies "Age 3-7," so I think we all qualify.  (I'm taking 3-7 as the minimum age range, so we're good.)  Cool 1948 art on this 1948 picture sleeve, and the Junior label was the Remington Records kiddie label, apparently.  True to Remington's lack of quality standards (the opposite of quality standards), everything initially sounded hopelessly muddy, even with the Remington recording curve preset in VinylStudio.  So I jacked up the treble, and the results aren't bad at all--in spots, things sound quite vivid.  I wonder if this is an early instance of magnetic tape mastering?  Lively, charming, old-fashioned numbers, and perfect for kids--and, no, I'm not going to add "...and for the young at heart."  I don't resort to such clichés as "...and for the young of heart."  That's why I have no intention of using the cliché phrase, "young at heart."  See how skillfully I avoided using it?

I hope to get my heapin' helpin' of 78s--all ripped from my overflowing collection--ready to go by tomorrow afternoon or evening.  Until then, Merry Almost-Christmas!



Sunday, December 20, 2020

Bark! The herald canines sing...

 



Read all about Carl Weismann's Singing Dogs here.  The Danish Weismann was an ornithologist who made field recordings of birds--recordings that were often ruined by the sounds of barking dogs.  It's not completely clear whether Carl, in league with producer Don Charles, accomplished his singing-dog tracks by using the stray barks (so to speak) on his bird-song tapes or if he and Charles specifically recruited four dogs (all of whom barked in a different pitch) and recorded them in a studio.  I'm guessing it was the latter scenario, because the dogs all had names--Pearl, Dolly, King, Caesar, and (later) Pussy.  A dog named Pussy--that's correct.  It's possible Carl and Don had wanted to name the dog Cat, but he or she objected, and they compromised with "Pussy."

Anyway, since the dogs all had names, and because they all barked in the correct pitches for creating tunes, I'm guessing they had to be studio dogs.  With contracts, royalties, doggy treats, etc.  I consider this arf-fully likely.

We'll be hearing a DJ edition of The Singing Dogs' first single--the one from which the famous barking Jingle Bells hails (did I just type, "from which the famous barking Jingle Bells hails??), and which also includes equally brief bark-athons of Pat-a-Cake, Three Blind Mice, and Oh! Susanna (the last title, in fast and slow versions).  And, while these are all familiar tunes to us humans, imagine how fresh and exciting they must have sounded to the performers.

As a bonus, we'll hear a Singing Dogs 78 I had to search like crazy to find in my rows and stacks.  At one point, almost all searched-out, I checked the Internet Archive--and found not a scent of it.  So I resumed searching, and up it sat--er, up it turned: 1956's Hot Dog Boogie (credited to dogs Dolly and Caesar) and Hot Dog Rock and Roll (credited to dogs Pearl and King).  No mention of Pussy--I suppose it's possible he or she had a paw in the writing process, but was unable to fetch any of the credit. (Cha-dunk, crash!)

I wish I owned those pic labels.  I don't--I swiped the images from Discogs.  And I just recalled that the regular, non-DJ release of the first single (with Jingles Bells, etc.) included a circus-style opening, with either Carl or Don introducing the dogs over a drumroll: "Lades and gentlemen..."  (I forget the rest.)  There was also circus-style music spliced in at the end of each selection.  That lead-out music was removed for this DJ issue--hence, the abrupt stops.

I should note--and I hope I don't offend any Dean Martin fans--that Spike Jones was inspired by the Singing Dogs when he did his all-barking take-off on Memories Are Made of This.  I believe I've seen a picture of Spike Jones pretending (?) to conduct a chorus of canines.  Also--and I had no idea this record existed--there was 1974 Singing Dogs LP on the Mr. Pickwick label, recorded by Carl Weismann!  This LP probably followed from the success of RCA's 1971 Jingle Bells re-release.  

Arf!



DOWNLOAD: The Singing Dogs, Directed by Carl Weismann, 1955-56






Lee

Japanese junior choruses sing Christmas carols





Eight tracks by a Japanese children's choir three Japanese junior choruses.  I can't read Kanji, so I have no idea what they're called.  (Update: see comments and listing below.)  I bought this while stationed in Japan from (let's see) 1982-1985.  600 yen--about the price of a fast-food meal.  I remember the small record shop I found it in--it was on the third story of a tall shopping center/mall.  Lots of buildings were built high in Japan, because of the general shortage of usable land.  Lots of rocky surface in Nippon.

This is a 33 and 1/3 seven-incher, and I can identify all of the songs except the last two.  They're all Western Christmas hymns and pop songs.  When I was in Japan, there was a trend of placing American words on clothing--words whose only requirement was to be American.  There were phrases that didn't make sense, plus words that seemed to have nothing to do with the apparel they were sewn onto.  Speaking of American (or British) phrases, you'll notice that, in this version of Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, "Melly Christmas" is inserted prior to each "Santa Claus weez comink to tahn."  Looking up the lyrics, I see no "Merry Christmas," so we can conclude that some liberties were being taken.  Which is fine with me.  I'm sure they were taken tastefully and in the proper Christmas spirit.  And I shouldn't be making fun of the accents (which you have to admit are cute), since I can't begin to speak Japanese.  I suspect my attempts would be pretty hilarious.

If anyone can identify the numbers titled "?," please let me know.  Enjoy...

UPDATE: And please see the recording details in the comment section, which I will now incorporate into the listing.  A million thanks for this data!!  My Santa be extra nice to the kind souls who help out with my posts--this one, especially!


DOWNLOAD: Japanense children's choir, Christmas carols


Jingle Bells
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (Japanese text: Kanbe Tako.  Thanks, Scott!) 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Silent Night
Joy to the World
?
?


#1 Yumi Baba and Toei Junior Chorus
#2 and #4 Naomi Kasuga and Toei Junrio Chorus
#3 Yukari Jo and Toei Junior Chorus
#5 and #6 Hidenori Goto and Suginami Junior Chorus
#7 and 8 Yasuko Koura and Wakakusa Junior Chorus

(Track credits from a Japense fan.  What a wonderful gift--a zillion thanks!  And click here for a complete translation of Kanbe Tako's words for Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town!)




(Victor KVC-213)





Lee

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Macy Singers: Songs of Christmas (1954)

 


A cool and unusual cover, and I submit that it's impossible to admire the cool Santa sextet (as it rotates the oblong title section, tooting away) AND notice the song-title typos at the same time.  But I seem primed to find mistakes on album covers, and so I immediately noticed that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is incorrectly listed as Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer.  I also noticed the misplaced comma in God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, which the Benida label calls God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.  Nope--sorry.  To reference the Oxford English Dictionary via Wikipedia, "the phrase 'God rest you merry' means 'may God grant you peace and happiness.'"  In short, God is not instructing a group of merry gentlemen to get to sleep because Santa's on the way.

The cover does get Adeste Fideles right, I should note.  It's often misspelled Adeste Fidelis.

With those vitally important issues out of the way, let me predict that you'll be a regular Macy's customer after hearing this talented and energetic semi-amateur choir.  Though no one would mistake these singers for the Robert Shaw Chorale, they do themselves and their company proud.  I got this 10-inch LP on eBay three years or so ago, and I only paid a buck.  I think the $1 price was because of condition, which is not so good in spots.  The most needle-dug track is Rudolph, which almost gives up the ghost halfway through--I made things much better by re-recording the second half with my 1.2 mil needle, then combining the two track sections (in my usual seamless fashion).  Result: acceptable sound quality. 

The mono sound (apart from the condition issues) is terrific, and maybe I'll find a VG/VG+ copy some day.  Or maybe not--this doesn't seem to be an item that shows up very often.  Just delightful arrangements all the way through, courtesy of Jimmy Leyden, a name we see on the Bell label's fake-hit sides, and at Decca and RCA.  The choir is directed by Dick (Harlem Nocturne) Rogers, so we can be sure that Macy's did a Line Material here.  By which I mean, they laid out a good amount of dough to produce an excellent company Christmas give-away (assuming it was, in fact, a give-away).

"This is the first industrial choral group to be signed to a major label for international distribution," according to the notes, though I'm not sure Benida was a major label.  Discog's multiple listings for Benida have me dizzy--I wish I could understand why there wouldn't be a single Benida Records entry, but... anyway, it doesn't look like the outfit put out a ton of stuff.  Some interesting-looking jazz singles, and some other stuff, but it appears Benida didn't make a huge showing in the vinyl market.

The Macy Singers are "the new Miracle on 34th street," say the notes.  Clever, clever.  A delightful LP, making its second appearance (the first file has gone to the Great Expired Zippyfile Section in the Sky), and in a higher bitrate!  Enjoy.


DOWNLOAD: The Macy Singers--Songs of Christmas (Benida LP 1021; 1954)


The First Noel
Silent Night
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Adeste Fideles
Rudloph, the Red-Nose (sic) Reindeer (Johnny Marks)
White Christmas (Bing Crosby--er, Irving Berlin)
Jingle Bells
Reprise--White Christmas


Songs of Christmas--The Macy Singers, Directed by Dick Rogers (Benida LP 1021; 1954)


Lee