Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ponderosa (Not Gunsmoke)

You're probably looking at this cover and thinking "Is he still doing Christmas? That doesn't look very Christmassy", but you'd be wrong. For on the innocent looking single pictured above can be found a couple of previously unknown Lorne Greene tracks in celebration of Christmas. You all of course know about the Ponderosa Christmas album, and the Lorne Greene solo Christmas album (which you can get over on the forums at FaLaLaLaLa) and then there are the radio spots he did back in the 80s. But this single was something that had escaped my notice until today. Please give a listen to Lorne Greene-Must Be Santa (RCA Victor 47-9037, 1966). This record is from Canada, same as Lorne, so maybe this never came out in the US. (I wish I had gotten this record a couple of months ago. Must Be Santa is on my annual Christmas CD, but by Mitch Miller. I would much rather have gotten this version on there. It's a better take on the song, and plus it's Lorne Greene!!!)

You Asked For It, You Got It

I asked if anybody had any requests the other day, and this is one of the albums that someone asked for. I would have bet money that this was on CD, but it turns out that it isn't. This record has been re-released several times over the years, but the one you see in the scan is the issue I recorded. I believe it was originally available as Decca DL 8171 & later MCA 517, but you are about to download and listen to Fred Waring And The Pennsylvanians-'Twas The Night Before Christmas (MCA 15016), the copy I had that was in the best condition. And believe it or not, Fred had recorded this entire album earlier for Decca (as an LP, and sets of either 45s or 78s), which I may also share out if I get the time. You can buy a CD with the same tracks (and more!) here, made up of versions performed by Waring, et. al, from radio broadcasts. The cover you see above is by Norman Rockwell, and is owned by Hallmark Cards.

If you don't listen to any other tracks on this record, listen to Rudolph. Spike Jones must have been in the room along with one of the Chipmunks when they recorded this!

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Last Of Leibert

The last, earliest, and probably least, of the organ records by Dick Leibert today is this EP from 1951. Keep in mind that the material found this record is from 10 years earlier than the other two, and the musical world had been turned on it's ear during those years. The organ sound during those intervening years seems to have gone from the rather stiff and staid funereal tones here to the playful and swinging instrument you heard on The Happy Hits of Christmas. So just keep that in mind when you download and listen to Sing And Rejoice! Christmas Carols Played by Dick Leibert At the Organ of the Radio City Music Hall New York City (RCA Victor EPB 3056, 1951). FYI this is a gatefold sleeve containing 2-7" 45 rpm records. The back was just ads for other records, so I didn't include a scan of that. There are 8 tracks in total, each a medley of two songs.

Rockettes Red Glare

I'm just teasing you by showing you this cover. I can't share the LP, but I can encourage you to go out and buy it on CD (only $10!). I doubt if the small CD packaging can do justice to this lovely gatefold cover image though. And, as you might have guessed, our friend Dick Leibert plays the organ on this recording of the annual Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. This is Christmas Holidays At Radio City Music Hall by The Radio City Music Hall Symphony Orchestra under the Direction of Raymond Paige, Richard Leibert at the Grand Organ & The Radio City Music Hall Choral Ensemble (RCA Victor LOP-1010, 1958). The inside of this gatefold features a booklet with lots of behind-the-scenes shots of the process behind bringing the show to the stage. And of course more pictures of the Rockettes, which was probably why most guys bought this record in the first place.

Organ Transplant

As promised, here's yet another organ LP, and yet another record by Dick Leibert recorded at Radio City Music Hall. This one is quite a bit more jaunty than the last, which you'd expect from an LP titled Happy Hits Of Christmas. I had this LP for years before I listened to it, and I was sorry I waited so long before I finally put it on and gave it a spin. Be sure you don't make the same mistake I did. When you download it, be sure you give it a listen. Here's Dick Leibert At The Console-The Happy Hits Of Christmas (Christmas Evergreens Played On The Radio City Music Hall Organ) (RCA Victor LSP-2771, 1963). Enjoy!

Shouldn't It Be Organ City Music Hall?

I know how much you folks love the organ sounds of Christmas, so here is the first of not one, not two, but three records by the long-time organist at Radio City Music Hall, Dick Leibert. Dick's organ playing shows up on dozens of LPs recorded at Radio City, from the 50's right through to the 70's, and maybe earlier and later, but those are the only ones I've found so far. I doubt I'll get all three of them up today, but I should be good for at least two. And here is the first. Please download and give a listen to Dick Leibert-The Sound Of Christmas On The Radio City Music Hall Organ (RCA Victor LSP-2558, 1962).

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Oodles of Doodles CLXIII-Christmas 2005

From the flip side of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas (RCA Camden CAS-1101, 1968), this is The Sugarplum Fairy. She hosts this record of stories designed to get little tots to go to sleep on the night before Christmas. I don't know how well that plan worked, either for parents to get their excited kids to sleep, or for RCA to sell a record designed to be played once a year, but at least we get a nice doodle.

Suggestion Box

Anybody out there have any suggestions of what you'd like to hear for Christmas? I've got plenty of vintage vinyl laying around here (That's just the Christmas platters you're looking at below. Well, most of the Christmas platters...), and I'll never get to all of it. But if there's something specific you're looking for, please drop me a line, leave a comment, or stick a note on my windshield. I make no guarantees, but it never hurts to know what you folks are actually interested in.

If you'd like to say thanks for the tunes, you could find me a copy of Greetings From The McGuire Sisters. That's the LP I've been hunting for quite a while now. I don't know if it's actually any good, but I'd like to hear it someday. So if you have that one, please share!

More Organ

Here's a little more organ Christmas music for you! I think you're going to like it. This is Merry Christmas from George Wright At The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ (High Fidelity Recordings R-706, 1956). Dig it!

Update-I left out the scan of the flip side on this LP. You can download it here. Sorry about that.

Update (13 Oct 08): This one is now available as a legal download! So go get it! Here's a link to Amazon, but it's also available elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Sharity Recap, Week Two

Here's another update of what I've posted so far. You can print this out and check things off as you download them if you'd like. Or maybe not. I just don't want you to miss any of the yuletide goodies. In the last week I've posted:

Eddie Dunstedter-The Bells Of Christmas (37 [corrected version]+66[original bad version])
Eddie Dunstedter-The Bells Of Christmas Chime Again (95)
The Caroleer Singers And Orchestra-Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (86)
The Caroleers-'Twas The Night Before Christmas (105)
The Snap-On Male Chorus-Carols Of Christmas (61)
Menudo-Feliz Navidad (53)
Hugo Winterhalter-Christmas Magic (87)
Hugo Winterhalter-Sleigh Ride (Bonus Track!) (78)
Kathy Dunn-Santaville/In The Valley Of Santa Claus (61)
Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra-The Christmas Album (69)
Raymond LeFevre And His Orchestra-Merry Christmas (97)
Pete Fountain-Candy Clarinet (61)
Yogi Yorgesson-Yingle Bells (60)
The Ray Charles Singers-Winter Wonderland (39)
The Ray Charles Singers-Here We Come A-Caroling (13)

The numbers in parentheses are the number of total downloads as of today, so if you want to stick to just what's popular, look for the big numbers. Of course, then you're going to miss some of the weirder stuff, so I recommend you download it all and give it a spin at least once.

And in case you're playing catch-up, here's the stuff from last week, with updated download numbers:

George Feyer's Echoes Of Christmas (92)
Avon Goes On Record 1968 (73)
Sy Mann-Everybody's Christmas Favorites Organ & Chimes (94)
The Moog Machine-Christmas Becomes Electric (132)
101 Strings-Christmas Moods, aka The Glory of Christmas (78)
Cyril Stapleton And His Orchestra With Children's Chorus-Children's Christmas Album (70)
Muzak Christmas (82)
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (119)
Charo-(Mamacita) ¿Donde Esta Santa Claus? (126)
Christmas With Big Tiny Little (127)
Buddy & Bunny Burden-Christmas Favorites (86)
The Rainbow Sound Of Bianco His Harp And Orchestra-Joy To The World (72)
Ruth Welcome-Christmas In Zitherland (79)

And the Thanksgiving posted that started it all off, Spencer Ross-Thanksgiving Day Parade (53)

More Of The Same Other Ray

As promised, here's the second Ray Charles LP released in 1956 for Christmas. I don't know how great of a marketing decision that was, but for those of us who enjoy the music today, it was pretty nice. I can't imagine what Christmas was like 49 years ago, but I'm sure it was a bit different from today. That's our Ray on the front cover, by the way, there on the left. So now you know for sure it's not the usual Ray Charles. Please download and enjoy The Ray Charles Singers-Here We Come A-Caroling (MGM E3467, 1956).

I forgot to mention that I shared an interesting cover from The Ray Charles Singers earlier this year.

Another Ray Charles

Here's the first of a double-shot from Ray Charles today. No, it's not that Ray Charles, it's the chorus leader Ray Charles. He's much more white-bread. This LP is really more seasonal than the other one you'll see pop up here later (from the same year, no less!), but it's still pretty good, and has some traditional holiday carols. Please download and give a listen to The Ray Charles Singers-Winter Wonderland (MGM E3387, 1956). This is from before the days when The Ray Charles Singers became staples of Enoch Light's various record labels. Suprisingly enough though, some of the other folks who would record for Enoch Light also show up on this record, including Dick Hyman and Tony Mottola.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Long Before Fargo

From way, way, way back in 1951, this is Yogi Yorgesson With Johnny Duffy And The Scandahoovians-Yingle Bells (Capitol EAP 1-461, 1951). As I mentioned, I don't have many singles, but when I found this one at the expensive record store a couple of weekends ago, I couldn't resist. It looks like this was out on CD once, paired up with a few Stan Freberg tracks, but it seems to be out of print now. I know some of the tracks have been anthologized here and there as well, but not all of them. And I believe Dr. Demento wears the grooves out of his copy come Christmas time. I don't think you'll mistake this version for a clean copy from CD. But hopefully if you're like me, a little vinyl crackle makes you feel all warm and tingly. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wrap Your Tongue Around This

Last night it was French orchestra leaders, tonight it's a clarinetist from the French Quarter. How's that for a segue? Give a little listen to Candy Clarinet by Pete Fountain (Coral 57487). There's an advertisement on the back of this one for the previously featured Christmas With Big Tiny Little, and for the much-desired-by-me (hint, hint, hint) Greetings From The McGuire Sisters, both on Coral Records.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Noel Deux

More Christmas music for you from France. It must have been a really swinging place in the seventies, that's all I can say. Please download and give a listen to Raymond LeFevre And His Orchestra-Merry Christmas (4 Corners Of The World FCS-4257). And if you don't believe this music is going to be any good, just check out the conductor on the back cover shown below.

See what I mean! He looks like the bad guy from a Matt Helm film!


Here's a little bit of French flair for your Christmas listening pleasure. This is Paul Mauriat And His Orchestra-The Christmas Album (Philips PHS 600-255, 1967).

Polar Plate?

I like to imagine that if Santa had a tag on his sleigh, it might be shaped like this. It would probably be personalized, though. Maybe NTY OR NC, or maybe ELF 01. Something like that...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Dunn With Santa

I'm afraid I don't have very many Christmas 45's. They seem to be rather hard to come by anymore. I found this one in a pile of stuff I bought some time ago, but I must have forgotten all about it. But lucky for you I stumbled across it yesterday. Two delightful tracks about Santa. Well, more like Santa the place, not Santa the Claus. Listen to it, and you'll understand. This is from Kathy Dunn (Santaville Records K80W-4901/2). I wish I knew a year on this. Anybody have a clue? In fact, I'd like to know anything about this release. Google is coming up blank on this one. I'll have to break out the books.

If you want more Christmas singles, go see Lee!

December, Week Two

This week we have a calendar page picture from Fort Desoto, again. What is this, the fifth, sixth or seventh picture from up there? Well, I suppose if you didn't know it was from there, you couldn't tell just by looking. What you see here is a tight shot of a sea urchin shell against an old piece of brick in a breakwater. I love the way the pale purple stands out against the orange.


OK, Since you'll all been so good the past few minutes, here's a bonus track for that previous Hugo Winterhalter post. This is Sleigh Ride from his LP Wish You Were Here (RCA Victor LPM-1904, 1959). I don't know how a holiday song got stuck on there, but you're the beneficiary of his mistake. Enjoy!

If you're curious, I posted a doodle from the flip side of this LP earlier this year.

"Winter"-Halter, Get It?

Well, since my Up With People post was a bust, here's a second choice. A lot smoother than those singing teens, this is Hugo Winterhalter-Christmas Magic (RCA Camden CAL-449, 1958). This is a pretty sweet album, I think you'll enjoy it. And if you folks are good, I'll throw in a bonus track later. :)

Up With Christmas!

They keep bringing back the seventies, but they never talk about Up With People! I wonder why that is? I'm guessing it's the polyester clothes. I'll keep watching VH1 for a mention on I Love The 70's, while you download and listen to Up With People-Merry Christmas To You All (Pace Records 1105, 1968).

Well, nevermind. I just found a website where they sell the Up With People music on CD, and it looks to be legit. You'll have to go over there and buy this fine music on CD. It probably sounds better anyway... And I would have sworn this was 70s vintage. Guess not.


I shot this last night, right before the boat parade down in Venice, FL. The sun had been down for about 15 minutes, and the moon was fast on it's tail. Those clouds on the horizon were the only ones I saw all day.