OK, here we go. I know many of you have been waiting for Christmas in July to start since we celebrated Christmas last December. Well, here it is. For those of you who might be new, the premise is simple. I collect up Christmas, holiday, winter, seasonal or whatever type of music that may or may not have something to do with Christmas. Sometimes it's just a title that sounds a bit wintery, sometimes it's an established and familiar Christmas song, but it's always something from an otherwise non-seasonal album. Imagine if George Martin had plunked a version of Rudolph right into the middle of The White Album sung by Ringo. That's just the sort of track I'm looking for. Every day, I hope to bring you a few of them, all from vinyl and all sourced from my own record collection. So, let's jump right in. For the first day, I wanted to give you a sample of some of the different types of songs you'll hear through the month. Track one is pretty typical, a performance of a sacred track by a church choir that is associated with the Christmas season, but also performed throughout the year. It's the Hallelujah Chorus as performed by St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir-Melville Tully, Director-Dorothy Tully, Organist, from their album St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir (Location Recording Service LRS-1262-765, 1962, Mono). As often happens, there are a few tracks on this album that might count as Christmas music, so you'll have to stay tuned through the month to hear more of them. The next track is something with a seasonal title, in this case Winter In May, by Carmen McRae from her LP I Want You (Mainstream MRL 387, 1964, Mono). Track three is the sort of thing that stretches the holiday connection, but it's still connected. The melody from Greensleeves often features the words to What Child Is This, so I figure an instrumental version could sorta count. Right? Well, anyway, this version is by Peter Nero from his live album Peter Nero On Tour (RCA Victor LSP-3610, 1966, Stereo). You'll find that I really love those RCA Victor albums, so tracks from them pop up a lot around here. A fourth type of track I look for is pretty much anything with the word Christmas in the title. This time around it's Blest Christmas Morning, a Christian Science Hymn that shows up fairly often if you know where to look. This version is by Larry Groce from the vinyl Peace And Joy And Power (No Label 408, Stereo, 1970). A fifth source of random Christmas songs is kiddie records. For whatever reason, when a producer is looking to fill up an album of random songs for kids to listen to, they seem to always throw in a Christmas song. Perhaps that's what happened to me, I heard Christmas music all year 'round on one of these albums and now it's stuck permanently in my psyche. It could happen. Tonight's selection is a medley of Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and Jingle Bells, Orchestra Conducted By James Walker, from a 4 record set called The Wonderful World Of Music For Children (Reader's Digest, Mono). This one also features more music for Christmas that you'll hear later in the month. Furthermore, as a special beginning of the month bonus, I ripped and included a version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice from the set, narrated by none other than Mr. Magoo himself, Jim Backus. I thought this pretty interesting, even more-so when I couldn't find it shared out anywhere else on the internets. I know it's not Christmas but I think you guys will really enjoy it. And there you have it, a not-so-brief introduction to what goes on around here in the month of July. It took me two and a half months to get through this last year, but I'm hoping to do better this year. As of right now, I've got over 100 tracks already recorded and ready to share, so I'm a little ahead of the game. There's a good chance I'll miss a day or two here and there, but not weeks at a time. And I'm limiting my file hosting to MediaFire this time around. RapidShare is a pain, MegaUpload has already deleted everything I shared in December, and Uploading.com seems a little flaky for my tastes. Here's the download link, enjoy yourselves. See you tomorrow!