Monday, November 29, 2021

Christmas Music for the Winter Season, aka An Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music (Halo, Rondo-lette, Golden Tone...)


So, I ripped this from a Rondo-lette (Eli Oberstein) disc but scanned my Halo label jacket for the album, which was the same as the Golden Tone jacket but brighter and newer-looking.  The Golden Tone jacket, of course, went with the Rondo-lette disc.  I hope you're taking notes.

By the way, regardless of which label shows up with this release, the catalog number is always 51500, so at least they're consistent in that regard.  And somewhere there's a Royale 51500 copy waiting to be found--I just know it.  I feel it.

Along with the usual budget label-juggling, we have the standard jacket/label title conflict: Christmas Music for the Winter Season (jacket), or An Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music (label)?  Take your pick.  And, since this is the Royale Concert Orch. (yeah, right), we can assume this began life as a Royale LP.  Or not.  Anyway, about time we had Christmas music for the winter season. 

Now that we've cleared all of that up, let me confess that I switched the side order on this.  That is, I switched the order of sides--things start with the B side, which is far more lively and fun.  Nothing wrong with the A side, except that it drags by comparison.  Maybe the orchestra was warming up for the B-side festivities on Side A.

And, for some reason, Rondo-lette/Halo/Golden Tone/Royale(?) decided to include a second Jingle Bells track, only without listing it.  (They doubled March of the Toys, too.)  So, for your convenience, I've labeled those tracks Jingle Bells (1) and (2).  I find Jingle Bells (2) to be cooler.  Oh, and the beginning bars of White Christmas were later cribbed as background for a cheap label A Christmas Carol.  Budget stock music!

I love the greeting-card nature of this cover, and I wonder if these were actual greeting cards.  Very skillful (and beautifully "period") watercolor work.  On the Halo issue, the back jacket gives 1957 as the copyright year, but I don't trust Record Corporation of America info.  And, by the time Eli Oberstein started Rondo-lette, he had allegedly sold off his Record Corporation of America labels, so I'm confused.  But confusion is the rational reaction to budget-label issues like these.  The only rational one.

Delightful, lively arrangements--followed by more conventional treatments.  For your winter season:

DOWNLOAD: Christmas Music for the Winter Season (Rondo-lette 51500)


Jingle Bells (1)
White Christmas
March of the Toys
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
March of Toys (sic)
Jingle Bells (2)


Silent Night, Holy Night
The First Noel
Adeste Fidelis (sic)
O Little Town of Bethlehem
We Three Kings of Orient Are
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Angels We Have Heard on High

Christmas Music for the Winter Season/An Hour of Christmas Orchestral Music (Rondo-lette/Golden Tone/Halo 51500)



Bryan said...

Hey Lee,
Thanks for this post. I will listen to it tomorrow while helping with Christmas stuff, I think.
Oh, they doubled March of the Toys, and not Toyland. Not that it matters.
I will go ahead and make a duplicate of this album. The duplicate I will rearrange the tracks in order to be back to the A and B sides. This way, they will match the front cover as much as possible. What I just wrote sounds strange, as my brain is tired. Again thanks.

Oh, Diane, in Europe we have Pepsi Lite. Diet I was told sounds too much like the word die. Besides, I also have been told, our versions of Coke and Pepsi are healthier than the US versions. Ingredient laws are very strict here.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Thanks for the correction--and I hope you enjoy these. In the U.S., there is (or was) a revived version of Pepsi with real sugar instead of HFCS. The difference is amazing. With sugar, you can actually taste the Pepsi in Pepsi.

Rich said...

Hi Lee,

I came across this album sometime this year. I won't have to try to rip it thanks to your efforts.

Thanks, Lee,

Buster said...

Lee - I would be surprised if those were not commercial cards that the label appropriated for their use. I suppose it is possible that the designs were available for hire, but don't you think it's more likely that the art department just ripped the backs off some cards and handed them to the printer, along with a title list that includes both "March of the Toys" and "March of Toys."

Lee Hartsfeld said...


My pleasure.


Yes, you do make a good logical argument there...

Ernie said...

Lee, I could swear I've seen this cover here before. Did you share this one in previous years? Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just wondering if it's my memory playing tricks on me. Or maybe it's another sleeve with the Christmas card motif?

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Yes, I put it up years ago (2012-ish). But the link was history (remember that hosting service that deleted uploads after 30 days of inactivity?) and the zip file (if I kept it) is on a stashed-away CD-R. So I did a new rip (with my wider needle, since the fake RCA discs are so badly pressed), and this is it. Higher bitrate, too.

Ernie said...

Just checking. :)

RL said...

According to The World of Budget Vinyl Records (YouTube Channel):

"This album was issued first on Royale Records as release 1500, then Concertone Records and Halo Records as 21500 and 51500 respectfully."

Lee Hartsfeld said...


Thanks. I figured it had to be a Royale release in its first edition. The interesting thing is that Eli Oberstein allegedly sold all of his Record Corp. of America material when he started Rondo-lette. Clearly, he didn't relinquish all of it.

Gilmarvinyl said...

I have this same album, love it!

Unknown said...

RobGems68 wrote:
I wonder how many copies of this album's sleeves were damaged permanently by people (kids, mostly) actually cutting them up and using the postcards to send to friends and relatives.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


I love it, too! It's an amazingly high-quality effort for the Record Corp. of America. Good fidelity, even. It would be nice to have the genuine credits for the performances, beyond "Royale Concert Orch." Probably a group of underpaid European musicians.


I wonder the same thing. One of these days, I'll come across a cut-up copy, I'm sure!

RL said...

Of course I meant to say Thank You for this share, and for all your wonderful work.

Also, did you notice that this album is *nowhere near* "An Hour" of music? Gotta love budget labels.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Thanks! And that's always the case with the Record Corp. of America's "Hour" LPs! This one, of course, clocks in at barely over half that time. I guess they figured no one would sue for false advertising.