Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hooray For The Salvation Army Band


I agonized over what I was going to share with you first this year. I finally decided on this little gem. I picked this up a couple of months ago at a huge Salvation Army store in North Tampa. I flipped past it, then went back to take a closer look. It didn't really look like a holiday record at first, but something made me look that second time, and thank goodness it did. This is one of the more interesting records I have to share this year. The Joy Strings were actually a band assembled by The Salvation Army in England. Most bands I've heard associated with The Salvation Army are brass bands that don't play very well, but this is nothing like that. These guys can rock with the best of them, at least the best of the mid-sixties. I'm only sharing out the first side, as it's the only side with Christmas songs, but it's still plenty of songs for you. This is the earliest recording of O Little Town Of Bethlehem done to the tune of House Of The Rising Sun that I've found. It's great! So welcome to this year's Christmas share-a-thon, and go get my first share, The Joy Strings-Well Seasoned (Epic BN 26321). Reading up about The Joy Strings tells me that they have other Christmas albums out there, but they may have only been released in the UK. Anyone got any those they'd like to share? ;)

9 comments:

stubbysfears said...

God bless you, Ernie! You just made my Thanksgiving and Christmas too with this one!

The Joy Strings version of "Little Town Of Bethlehem" is, indeed, the first to use the "House Of The Rising Sun" music (though, obviously, not the last). It was released as a 45 in 1967. Since then, much like Fabulous Fay McKay's "12 Daze," its just referred to as "that House of The Rising Sun Christmas song." People credit it to the Doors, the Animals, even Pink Floyd (?).

Last year, I think it was, someone over at Mistletunes identified the artist as the Joy Strings. The 45 (with pic sleeve) was up on eBay just a few days ago. I've been kicking myself for not bidding; I "knew" it would be a $30 auction at least, but it ended up going for just over $10.

I am unaware of any other LPs they have--wasn't aware there was anything more than the 45. And I hope that when Christmas has passed, you'll see fit to share the other side.

In the meantime. Thank you. You couldn't have picked a better first share of the season.

Oh and I can pretty much guarantee "Little Town" is going on a comp o' mine, so hook me up with yer address (pm at FLLLL?) when yer able.

stubbysfears said...

Well, looking through the Internets, it seems the Joy Strings had precisely one other Christmas LP. Indeed, they had only 2 LPs total (plus 6 EPs and 6 singles--not counting the American single of O Little Town).

LP #2 is "Carols Around The World." And, as bizarre as it may seem, the ONLY Joy Strings CD ever released (by the Salvation Army in the Netherlands in 2005), "Christmas Jubilee," is essentially "Carols Around The World" plus the stray non-LP Christmas single.

So "Well Seasoned" has not been issued on CD, but all their other Christmas stuff has been (not that you can find it anywhere).

Stephen said...

Off to a great start, Ernie - and I'm already behind on the downloads! Pardon me for not knowing that "O Little Town of Bethlehem" had been done to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun". I sure enjoyed that one!

risser said...

One of the tracks appears on the Brit-comp "Cool Yule" (http://www.dustygroove.com/item.php?id=nmdj8htb4r) This is virtually a bootleg itself, with several items clearly mastered from vinyl...

Glad to have the whole album!

Pastor McPurvis said...

This is a fantastic album! I found a copy years ago at a thrift down here in West Palm Beach. In fact I was thinking about sharing it this year as well -- looks like you beat me to it :)

Thanks for posting this one!

jacques said...

I know the joystrings very well.
I saw them in france and in Belgium in 1967 or 68 it was really fantastic. It's a fantastique souvenir. I never forget this day. Later I was whith joy webb when she sang in belgium whith a group called the "joy folk"

Anonymous said...

Is that Roger Delgado?

WV: aphab; this is aphab blog!

cufflink said...

The Joystrings were the pioneers of Christian rock, even though they are not widely recognized as such. I was in a band, at least its earliest incarnation, called the Willowtones. We copied the Joystrings. Later I formed a group called The Way that used some of the later Joystrings/Good News songs. Bill Davidson singing "There will Be God" is still sheer electricity. Dwight Cuff, Vancouver, Canada

Bryan said...

I was stationed in England in the early 1980's and my landlady gave me a few old albums, including this album of the Joystrings. When I think back, it was only 15 years old then, now it's way older (nearly 45 years) and I still like listening to this album--both the Christmas music and the other side (I have the 1966 album by Regal Zonophone LRZ 4016)