Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No Drumming Allowed


The reason I grabbed this LP when I came across it in the bin was this great cover. Isn't this what Christmas was supposed to look like in 1957? The music was secondary, but turned out to be quite good. These are some great vocal numbers done by a great chorus that did some great things in it's day. The leader, Jack Halloran, was a regular on albums by luminaries such as Bing Crosby and Dean Martin, even leading the chorus on Dean's TV show for many years. So trust me when I say the music on this album is great. Please help yourself to The Jack Halloran Singers-Christmas Is A-Comin' (Dot DLP 3076, 1957). Be sure and note that there is no song on here called The Little Drummer Boy. It hadn't been written yet.

19 comments:

Stephen said...

I wish Christmas looked like that in 2007! Thanks, Ernie!

Ryan said...

Great album! I was going to post this next on my blog... :)

Ernie said...

Don't let me stop you. Go ahead and post it. Your copy may be better than mine. And leave a link here...

R said...

Ernie, I don't know who you are but I want you to know that you have made this Christmas a very happy and special one for me! Through the years my parent's album was lost and I had been searching for a replacement album for several years now without any success!
As a young kid in the 60's, I remember playing these same very songs over and over. I vaguely remembered the name of Jack and could not remember his last name but I did remember the album name was "The Little Drummer Boy" and had a young boy's picture playing a drum. Last night as I tossed and turned, Jack's last name came to mind and I googled it at work. There evidently was a re-release of this album with a new cover and name b/c the music is exactly what I remember. Thank God for Google and your thoughtfullness of placing this music on the net. Have a Joyful and Merry Christmas!

Chip Arcuri said...

Ernie, I am not quite certain what you meant by the title of your review of this LP, 'No Drumming Allowed,' and when you said in your commentary, "Be sure and note that there is no song on here called The Little Drummer Boy. It hadn't been written yet."

I surmise that either you were being facetious, or that perhaps you were tacitly alluding to the fact that the new title of Katherine K. Davis' song "Carol Of The Drum" had not yet been written -- that new title of course being "The Little Drummer Boy." Notwithstanding, here is the forgotten history of the song and of this rare album:

The Jack Halloran Singers recorded their version of "The Little Drummer Boy" in 1957 -- a full year before the Harry Simeone Chorale. Dot Records originally released it on the album "Christmas Is A-Comin'" with its original song title of "Carol Of The Drum." Then, the very next year, in 1958, and much to the chagrin of Mr. Halloran and Dot Records, Harry Simeone took pretty much the same group of singers and recorded his own version of the song for 20th Century Fox Records. It was then quickly issued as a single with the new title of "The Little Drummer Boy," and as the saying goes -- the rest is history. In addition, Mr. Simeone, along with Henry Onorati (who was a Dot Records producer who took the song and arrangement to Simeone) was also able to negotiate co-writing credits to the song, along with the song's rightful composer Katherine K. Davis. Other than the re-titling, Mr. Simeone and Mr. Onorati had nothing else to do with the composing of this song, which was done long before, in 1941.

This forgotten history of the song's origins understandably sticks in the craw of Mr. Halloran's children, especially his daughter Dawn Halloran Charouhas, with whom I am acquainted. In fact, Dawn wrote an excellent article on this that pretty much says it all. Take a look: http://www.jerryosborne.com/12-10-01.htm

The LP "Christmas Is A-Comin'" was only in print for two years before Dot Records reissued it in 1959 with the new title of "The Little Drummer Boy," in order to capitalize on the popularity that was generated by Mr. Simeone's hit single. Because it was only in print for two years, very few copies of "Christmas Is A-Comin'" were ever printed. In fact, after 35 years of collecting, it remains the most rare and hard-to-find album in my entire collection. It also the album I had to pay the most amount of money to obtain -- nearly double my next highest album. Other than the copy I have in my collection, I have literally never even seen another copy -- ever.

Ernie, you should feel quite fortunate that you found a copy of this very rare album, and I’m sure you paid a lot less than I did!

By the way, Mr. Halloran was also the arranger for what in my opinion is the greatest version of "The Little Drummer Boy" (aka "Carol Of The Drum") ever recorded: the 1962 rendition by The Ray Conniff Singers, which was released on the classic and legendary Columbia Records LP, "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." In addition to this, Mr. Halloran also arranged the version of the song recorded by Bing Crosby in 1964 for Reprise Records, as well as the version recorded by The Johnny Mann Singers in 1967 for Liberty Records.

Even though today he is not generally credited with the song's success as Mr. Simeone is, I think it would be more than fair to say that Mr. Halloran is indeed the godfather of this modern-day Christmas classic.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for displaying this rare Jack Halloran album. Dot re-released this album a few years later as 'The Little Drummer Boy' (DLP 25233 which implies stereo). Among the tracks is an original composition by (Mrs.) Ella Mae Halloran titled 'Prince Of Peace'; this is an exceptional chorale with beautiful harmony and great dramatic tension. I have seen this album re-released on CD featuring 'The Original' Little Drummer Boy. Also noteworthy is an earlier Halloran album titled 'Songs For An Old Fashioned Girl' (DLP 3065); basically a barbershop quartet style arrangements of early American material, really well done.

Kindest regards,

Kaisen

Anonymous said...

I heard the album (vinyl)"The Little Drummer Boy", by the Jack Halloran Singers for the first time this year. I apparently had bought the album at a flea market, or second hand store. Had never heard of the Singers before. I must say, I think they are wonderful. Even though my album is damaged, the quality of the singing and harmony make goose bumps on me. This is the best version ever of the song, "The Little Drummer Boy!
Delilah

Cathy said...

Wow!! Thanks so much for the wonderful Christmas gift of being able to download this wonderful album. I have the LP, but haven't had a record player for years. So incredible to hear the music again--listened to it every holiday season for years and years. Now can hear it again!! Merry Christmas!

Larry said...

Yes, Jack Halloran's "Christmas is A-Comin" is possibly the most superb Christmas choral album of all time---no kidding---the artistry of Mr Halloran's arranging, conducting and the quality of the ensemble singing is
absolutely breathtaking.

Read the long message posted here which relates the sad facts about Harry Simeone and friends who usurped the credit due to Mr Halloran for his exquisite "Carol of the Drum" which--YES, Ernie---IS the first recording of the beloved "Little Drummer Boy".

For me, the highlight of this album is Jester Hairston's "Mary's Little Boy Chile"---in an arrangement so ethereal and serene it must be heard to be believed!!!

My dad, a well-known DJ in Chicago for 50 years, brought this album home in 1959, and yes....the lovely cover painting DOES, in fact, capture the look and feel of Christmas during that time...and I'm glad I am old enough to have experienced it first-hand.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ernie. My name is Paul. This download has brought tears of Joy to me. I can hardly believe what I am hearing.

My family had many songs from this album - and others from Jack Halloran - in a collection which my father compiled on a 4 track endless cassette tape. We'd put it on at Christmas time and just let it play over and over. For us kids, this music captures the essence of Christmas -and all the memories that encapsulates. Our mom was in our church choir, and the Christmas Eve party was held at our house after midnight mass each year. These tunes playing late into the night accompanied the revelry, warm fire, and sleepy children being sent off to bed every year.

My brother on the East Coast still has the tape - though it is fragile to nearly breaking, so we no longer can play it. I have intended to make a project of restoring it to the best of my ability, but time and distance have kept me from this project for years now. I've also tried finding the album, but had no idea of the title. It seems that it's rare enough that I would have had little luck anyway.

Your generous post has fulfilled a deep longing in my heart. Thank you.

Dr Gonzo said...

Hi,

Does anyone know how I can contact Dawn Halloran Charouhas? If so, please e-mail me at kevinmillerxi@gmail.com. Thanks!

Nana said...

Thank you for this wondeful space in which my father's music is so well loved and appreciated. It brings tears to my eyes to know there are so many others out there for which "Christmas Is-A-Comin' was such a Christmas staple and tresured Christmas memory. I am another of Jack's daughters. I just wanted to make a slight correction to one of your bloggers about "The Prince of Peace", which our mother wrote. Your bloggers words were dead on about about what a beautifully harmonized and dramatic piece this is. Her name was EllaRose, not Ella Mae, and she often composed the Sunday morning anthem with four days to work on it in time for Thursday night choir practice, incorporating the appropraite Scripture sermon title. She, as well as our father, was an incredibly gifted composer as well as accomplished and talented pianist and organist. They were both committed to teaching in order that others might share in the joy that really good music brings. They touched a lot of people in their lifetimes, sharing their love and knowledge of music. All who knew them loved and respected them, and that is a far greater legacy than any fame that would have been brought to our father had Harry Simeone not done what he did. Both Jack and EllaRose were laid to rest in a tiny town called Mount Hope, Kansas, where our mother was born and raised.

Nana said...

Thank you for this wondeful space in which my father's music is so well loved and appreciated. It brings tears to my eyes to know there are so many others out there for which "Christmas Is-A-Comin' was such a Christmas staple and tresured Christmas memory. I am another of Jack's daughters. I just wanted to make a slight correction to one of your bloggers about "The Prince of Peace", which our mother wrote. Your bloggers words were dead on about about what a beautifully harmonized and dramatic piece this is. Her name was EllaRose, not Ella Mae, and she often composed the Sunday morning anthem with four days to work on it in time for Thursday night choir practice, incorporating the appropraite Scripture sermon title. She, as well as our father, was an incredibly gifted composer as well as accomplished and talented pianist and organist. They were both committed to teaching in order that others might share in the joy that really good music brings. They touched a lot of people in their lifetimes, sharing their love and knowledge of music. All who knew them loved and respected them, and that is a far greater legacy than any fame that would have been brought to our father had Harry Simeone not done what he did. Both Jack and EllaRose were laid to rest in a tiny town called Mount Hope, Kansas, where our mother was born and raised.

Dexter said...

Dear Nana,

My apologies for incorrectly writing your mother's name, had I been a little more careful it would not have happened.

I shall never forget it is EllaRose Halloran.

Also I greatly appreciate learning about her dedication to composing for the time of worship.

I have tried to transcribe to words to "The Prince of Peace" that she composed, the words are astounding. Your mother was not only a master skilled in prose but also a Christian with a true love for scripture.

here are the words to Prince of Peace (parenthesis are phrases my poor hearing can't discern)

The Prince of Peace

by Ella Rose Halloran

The shepherds went their hasty way
And found the lowly stable shed
They found that humble stable nest
Where the virgin mother lay
And how they checked their even (prayer)
(Fortoon) amazed that at her bosom cling
A mother's arms a tender song
The virgin mother's (bid)
They told her how a glorious light
Streaming from a heavenly throng
Around them shone suspending down
While sweeter than a forest dawn
Lest angels harrowed (in or at) the savior's birth
Glory to God, glory to God
Peace on the earth
She listened to the tale divine
And (though...the...she pressed)
And while she (.........)
She held the Savior to her breast
Joy rose within her like a summer's morn
Peace on the earth, peace on the earth
The Prince of Peace is born

Steve T. said...

Is this still available for download? Instead of RapidShare, clicking the link brings up some sort of service that wants your bank info. Can you make this available on RapidShare, please? Thanks!

Ernie said...

Steve, I'm sure there's still a good download link at a more recent post of this LP. It's quite a popular share around here.

Steve T. said...

Ernie, thank you. Here's the working link: Christmas Is-A-Comin'

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I came across a copy of this album, does anybody happen to know the value?

Anonymous said...

Hello, I came across a copy of this album, does anybody happen to know the value?