Thursday, November 23, 2006

Swingingest Christmas (Oodles Of Doodles CCVII)

I've been agonizing for months now over what to share out first for Christmas 2006. I finally decided just this morning that this record had to be it. It's got all sorts of things about it that I love to share here at Ernie (Not Bert). First, it's one of those records that's just hard as all get-out to find. I nearly dropped it when I first picked it up and realized what it was this past summer. It was at a Goodwill store in Englewood, FL, among a bunch of other mildly interesting stuff. Having never seen one in the flesh, I really had to look at it well to understand what it was. In case you don't know either, let me explain it. This is a various artists LP from 1959. What distinguishes it from the others is that one of the artists was Esquivel, who arguably had a bigger career during the Space Age Pop revival of the nineties than he did in the fifties and sixties. The other artists include Ray Martin, Mimi Hines and The Skip-Jacks.
What else is there to love about this album? Well, you get one of those RCA Victor tags that I love so much. Oddly enough, this is one of the few taglines that they repeated in their series. I shared another Merry Christmas tag with you back on the opening day of Christmas In July. (I see that I also mentioned this record, and wished for it. I guess Santa came early this year.)
Can it get much better? Of course it can. There's a doodle on the back! A sort of a Santa-themed cuckoo clock motif, where Santa and your mother hook up right at midnight. And if you look closely, someone sees Mommy kissing Santa Claus.

So all of this adds up to the perfect start to the Christmas Share-A-Thon for 2006. The only problem is that parts of this record have been released on CD. Several years ago, they took the Esquivel solo tracks, as well as the tracks on which he backs the Skip-Jacks, mixed in some LP tracks that had a holiday theme, added a rather merry non-holiday B-side, a couple of tracks by a famous swing-revival DJ featuring a voice-over from the bed-ridden Esquivel, and called it an Esquivel Christmas album. It's short, but great. So that means I can't share 6 of the 12 tracks with you. Trust me, the remaining six tracks are well worth your time. The remaining tracks all feature Ray Martin And His Orchestra, and most of those feature lead vocals by Mimi Hines. She does a great job using several different voices to make each song sound a little different. After all that build up, are you ready to download The Merriest of Christmas Pops (RCA Victor LSP-2032, 1959)? Go get it, end enjoy!


Stephen said...


Ernie, Ernie, Ernie. If I had one wish for a Christmas vinyl album showing up this year, this was the one. I heard about it on the Retro Cocktail Hour a few years ago and knew it was rare, so I didn't think anyone would actually have it.

I'll have to try to track down the other tracks to make it complete, but I really appreciate this one!

Inkydog said...

Unless I am mistaken, the Esquivel CD is currently out of print and fetching some pretty high prices on the used market.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ernie,
Wow, can't believe my son was able to find this!! This has always been my favorite Christmas album ever since I was a kid. I love the cool, jazzy feel and the tight 50's harmonies. Even though I still have the original one I listened to so long ago on those snowy Minnestota nights as we trimmed the tree, the pops and crackles are getting more noticable so I appreciate being able to burn it to a disc. I found the Esquival Christmas disc several years ago by chance at Virgin records. Now I can burn the whole album! Thanks so much, and I hope others will stumble upon this great music.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a johnny come lately comment here, but firstly I'd like to say a BIG THANKS! And secondly, the version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is different than the version on the Reader's Digest 'Joyous Noel' 4xlp Box Set released in 1968, which has the laughing at the end and a different vocal take altogether. Unfortunately and sadly, this Box Set like a lot of the earlier RD box sets (I'm assuming) are all in mono. I think the mono version is the best of the two.

Does anybody know if Mimi released a true stereo Christmas lp of her own with the Reader's Digest I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus version?

Ernie said...

There's a different take on that Reader's Digest box? Hmmmm. Pretty sure I have that one at home, or can find it in a day of haunting the locals thrifts. I'm gonna have to check that out. And if Mimi ever did a full LP of anything, Christmas or otherwise, I'd be excited to find it. Thanks for the information, and I hope to have some followup soon.

Anonymous said...

From the Reader's Digest liner notes on Record 4, side 2:

"Appealing as the song itself is, there is no doubt that much of the enormous popularity of 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' is due to the highly successful first recording of it by Jimmy Boyd, a 12-year-old boy with a voice that could charm the ornaments off a Christmas tree. His disk sold nearly 2,000,000 copies the first year of its release, and has sold at least another 2,000,000 since. Tommie Connor, the happy composer of both words and music, wrote the song in 1952. Mimi Hines sings our version with a voice so fresh that she may charm the Christmas tree right out from under its ornaments."

RD's 'Joyous Noel' has been a family favorite since 1969 and since our copy is pretty much worn, I've decided to try and make a stereo version searching for the individual tracks as the mono versions just don't give the songs any justice.

When I first heard the version you uploaded, I was happy and disappointed at the same time! When I started hearing it, right off the bat the laughs in the beginning were missing! Then a few more seconds into the song and I knew that it was a different vocal take altogether. And then when I got to the end, I said, Oh NO! Her laugh is missing at the end too!!! The kids, grandkids and all of us love her laughs!!! Why did they leave her laughs off, especially at the end! They ruined the song! :(

If you don't have the box set, I made a rough wav of the Reader's Digest version if you want to hear it. The quality isn't as good, but I got it if you want it. Just let me know.

Anonymous said...

Oh and one more thing. The reason why the grandkids really get a kick out of the song besides the laughs is because Mimi in the first verse or refrain says "...She didn't see me creep down the stairs to have a pee..." At least the mono version sounds like 'pee'. I never knew this until the grandkids pointed it out. But I told them no, she is saying 'peek'. It wasn't until I put the headphones on that it sounds like 'pee'! But the second time she creeps down the stairs at the end of the song, she definitely says 'peek'. I'm thinking the mono version drowns out the 'k' in the first 'peek', but I'm not sure as I don't have the best amplifier. The stereo version she definitely says 'peek' in both instances.

Anonymous said...

Since it should rhyme, isn't the word "peep", instead of "peek"?

Anonymous said...

anon, you're right. But when you listen to the mono version, the bass drowns the last letter and it sounds like 'peek' at least to me anyway, though I shoulda known better that the word she uses is 'peep' since they're supposed to rhyme. And the stereo version, yes, you can clearly hear the 'peep', though I'm so used to hearing 'peek' on the mono version, not realizing what she really is saying. And I think more now that the first 'peep' gets drowned out by the bass in the mono version.

Anonymous said...

To Ernie and everybody else who may think I'm a jerk or just plain selfish for not sharing what I've been talking about...sorry if I gave the impression...

I'm fairly new at music editing and file sharing so bear with me. Like I said before, I don't have the best amplifier or computer when I created the wav file. The song was in bad shape on the left channel, so I opted to swap the right for the left to make the sound more clearer. The mp3 is in 320kbps so you can hopefully hear everything. The link should be good for awhile I hope. I still wish this version was in stereo. Enjoy!

Does anybody know where I can find stereo versions of the following songs (if they exist), all from the Reader's Digest Joyous Noel:

Silver Bells - Floyd Cramer
Sleigh Ride - The Melachrino Strings and Orchestra
What Child Is This - The Voices of Walter Schumann
Frosty The Snowman - Vaughn Monroe
We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Lorne Greene
Jingle Bells - Glenn Miller (Tex Beneke version)
Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Hank Locklin

Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Oops! Sorry, I guess I made the title too long! Here's the rest of it:


Anonymous said...

I found the songs I was looking for on cd, as well as the Jimmy Boyd version. The Jimmy Boyd version is ok, but I think the Reader's Digest version is the best and I wonder if there are other never-released-anywhere-else versions on their other Christmas box sets?