Saturday, July 14, 2007

Christmas In July 2007-Day 13

One more day closer to the complete collection. Well, maybe not the complete collection, but a pretty large one. Three tracks today with nothing at all in common, other than having something to do with Christmas, of course. Track one is The Virgin Mary had A Baby Boy by The Robert de Cormier Folk Singers from their self-titled LP (Command RS 33-853, 1963). That annoying high-pitched noise throughout the track is some chime or something that they are playing during the song. I thought my stereo was on the fritz, but it's supposed to be there. Track two is The Very First Christmas Day by Sunshine from the LP Step Into The Sunshine (Light LS-5586-LP). Sharp-eyed readers will realize that Light is a religious record label, and sure enough, this record features 40 kids singing who are all associated with St. Janies Presbyterian Church in Tarzana, California. The last track is Christmas Day from the musical Promises, Promises (United Artists UAS 9902). The artists are Edward Winter, Kay Oslin, Rita O'Conner, Julane Stites and Neil Jones. (Jerry Orbach is also in the cast, and he's the only one I recognize.) All the songs in the show were written by Burt Bacharach, who you may have heard of. Oh, the author of the play is Neil Simon, again, someone you may have heard of. Here's the link to today's download, I hope you enjoy the tracks.

The share of the day last year was also a hodge-podge of stuff, including The Skater And His Dog, Skatin' Waltz In Swing and a swinging Tijuana Brass-style cover of We Need A Little Christmas.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Christmas In July 2007-Day 12

Uh-oh! It's Friday the 13th. Should that scare me? No, not really. Nothing too terrible bad happened today. Future historians will someday wonder why I'm posting the twelfth installment of my Christmas In July on the 13th, but they'll have to figure that out for themselves. And speaking of part twelve, it's three versions of The Jolly Coppersmith, a song that really has a very tenuous Christmas connection. I saw it on a single Christmas record once, and so I'm throwing it in. It's tough to come up with Christmas music to share with you every day for a month, sometimes I have to make decisions that not everyone is happy with. So let's all just roll with it and try to enjoy ourselves, shall we? Version-a one-a is by Lawrence Welk And His Champagne Music from Pick-A-Polka (Coral CRL 57067, 1956). Take two is from Johnny Maddox and the LP Great Marches And Waltzes In Ragtime (Hamilton HLP 12150, 1965). And version three is by Al Melgard from the same LP as a track shared two days ago, Al Melgard At The Chicago Stadium Organ (Audio Fidelity AFSD 5886). Here's the download link, and enjoy!

This day last year (which was not Friday the 13th) featured four tracks from 10" records, including a track called Holiday by The Three Suns!

Oodles Of Doodles CCIL-Christmas In July 2007

What is with all these angel doodles? What is this, the fifth or sixth one I've featured during Christmas In July 2007? I certainly didn't plan it this way. Back on the first, or maybe on the second, I pulled a bunch of Christmas records out of the stack of stuff I'd bought this year, and found about 20 with nice doodles on them. I scanned them all in and I've been working from that pool ever since. So it's pretty much just by chance that we've ended up with so many angels. When I run out of pre-scanned doodles, I'll make sure to try and pull more doodles than are angel-free. But until then, you're stuck. I even peeked ahead, and there are more angels to come. Today's angel is a real beaut, and she's from the back of Christmas In Poland-Directed by Rev. Henry A. Waraksa and featuring The Schola Cantorum Of SS. Cyril And Methodius Seminary (Capitol DT 10198). This angel pretty much covers the entire flip side of the sleeve, with all the liner notes, credits and track lists crammed in on either side.

Rapid Repair

A couple of months before I went to California, there was a bad accident. Some guy wrecked his tanker truck. It happened under a heavily travelled section of interstate in Oakland, just off the Bay Bridge. And it burned, taking down a large section of the bridge with it. Hundreds of thousands of commuters were left with very few options to get home, and the damage was estimated to take up to a year to repair. Well, thanks to some well-funded incentives to finish quickly, the road was back in place in less than a month. Which is why I took this picture of the white section of the road. That's where all the damage was. I just thought you'd like to know.

The Other Bridge, Part One

Visitors to San Francisco always visit the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping to take pictures and maybe walk across, but few people pay any attention to the Bay Bridge, which connects SF to Oakland. It was built at about the same time as the Golden Gate Bridge, and was actually finished a year earlier, yet it gets no respect. Why? Because it's sorta ugly. Well, maybe not ugly, but certainly utilitarian. Here are a few picture I took while crossing the bridge one day. Any spots you may see on these pictures are dead bugs on the windshield of the Jeep, so please ignore them. At the time of it's construction, there was a lower level of the bridge created for streetcars, light rail, trucks and buses. Over time the rail system was routed through a tunnel under SF Bay, so the lower section was eventually dedicated to East-bound traffic, people leaving SF, while the upper deck was for people heading into SF. Imagine that, everyone wanted to see the view of SF, but no one cared about seeing Oakland. The shot above is the view from the lower lanes. Not very scenic, is it?

The shot above is from a spot close to the shot at the top, only this time you're on the upper deck. Much more attractive, don't you think? The bridge was built in two halves, SF paying for one half, Oakland paying for the other. This view is the Oakland side. It was on the Oakland side that part of the roadway collapsed during an earthquake a few years ago. They went through after that and did a lot of work to try and prevent that from happening again. They don't seem to have a lot of confidence in that work, however. They are in the process of building a whole new bridge just to the north of this span. From the looks of what they've completed so far, it might be a little prettier.

Connecting the two halves is a large tunnel drilled through the rock of Yerba Buena Island. Look close and you can see all the way through the tunnel in this shot. I was pretty happy with that. You can exit off onto the island, but you take you life into your own hands exiting and getting back on. There isn't much in the way of an exit ramp or a merge lane when re-entering. The view from Yerba Buena and Treasure Island is worth the danger, though.

The SF side of the bridge is much more picturesque. If they were to paint it International Orange, it might even look familiar. Not the same, but similar. I've got more pictures of the Bay Bridge from places other then the bridge itself, but I'm saving those for another post.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Christmas In July 2007-Day 11

A real quickie tonight, I've got too much other stuff to do. Two versions of Greensleeves, or, if you prefer, What Child Is This. They are from Scarlet Ribbons (Columbia CS 8146) by Michel LeGrand And His Orchestra, and No Blues On This Cruise (Mercury MG 20308) by Eddie Layton. The third track is the real winner here, Baby, It's Cold Outside by Steve & Eydie from We Got Us (ABC-Paramount ABC-300, 1960). Is this doesn't make your bones chilly, nothing will. One of my very favorite Christmas In July tracks last year was from Eydie Gorme, so if you like this one, you'll love that one! And by a rather odd coincidence, on this date last year, I gave you a track from Steve Lawrence, along with Yuji Takizawa and Ian And Sylvia. You should go get that one, too. Enjoy!

Oodles Of Doodles CCXLVIII-Christmas In July 2007

Time for another lovely angel doodle from another classic Christmas album. These two angels are each repeated three times on the back of Percy Faith And His Orchestra-Hallelujah! (Columbia CS 8033, 1958), but I didn't want to repeat myself. I'm sure you'll get the idea here. This is another LP that was originally released in mono (in 1957), then rerecorded with the advent of stereo the following year. I can just imagine artists going back into the studio in this day and age to rerecord their classic songs in Dolby 5.1 or something. I guess nowadays they can do the same thing just by remixing the original 128 track recordings. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pyramid Power

I didn't get a chance to visit the Transamerica Pyramid in California this trip. I did drive by it twice, and like any good tourist, I hung my camera out the car window and took a couple shots. Not bad, for moving at 30 miles per hour. At least I wasn't driving.

Petal Power

I don't think I've posted any flower pictures from my California trip. Have I? Doesn't matter. Here's a great one of some calla lilies. These things grow wild out there! These weren't wild ones, though. I found them in someone's yard, and couldn't resist the brilliantly illuminated white petals against the dark shaded background. I love it when a picture finds me.

Christmas In July 2007-Day 10

One third of the way through the month, only one day behind, I'm going to have to go out on a limb here and say I'm doing fairly well for Christmas In July. Big thanks to everyone who's been downloading the tracks, especially those of you who've been kind enough to leave comments about your favorite tracks. There's still a long way to go in the month, but it's going to be a great trip. (I know some of you out there may not be big fans of the Christmas music and are waiting for the pictures to return, so just be patient!) Tonight's share is three great versions of Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers. Again, not a true Christmas carol, but still a great track with a strong holiday association for many people. Version one is from the Stereo Action LP Dynamic Dimensions by Henri René And His Orchestra (RCA Victor LSA-2396, 1961). Version the second is from Freddy Martin And His Orchestra and the 10" LP Let's Dance Tonight (RCA Victor LPM 3047). I think this is the first track from a 10" this year. Last year I gave you a whole day with tracks from the smaller, yet not smallest, records. The last track, and the one I had the most trouble getting recorded (you're going to get take 4!), is by Al Melgard At The Chicago Stadium Organ (Audio Fidelity AFSD 5886). This was supposed to be "A Study In High Fidelity Sound" according to the gatefold jacket, but the first couple of times through, all I got were muddy sounds and enough skips to go Double Dutch. I finally got it cleaned up to my satisfaction, but it's still nowhere near perfect. Anyhow, here's the download link, hope you enjoy the music!

What was the flavor of the day last year? How about four versions of Baby, It's Cold Outside? Outstanding stuff.

Oodles Of Doodles CCXLVII-Christmas In July 2007

Another day in July, another Christmas In July doodle! This elegant candle is from the flipside of Christmas With The Yankovics (Holiday 101). Is this the family of polka king Frankie Yankovic? If it isn't, they're sure tyring to make it seem that way. The short liner notes on the back of the record talk about Frank Yankovic, then refer to him as America's polka king. But it's just such an off-hand remark that I find it hard to believe. And Google yields no results for this LP title. Google always comes back with something, even if it's not applicable. Oh, and the back side is signed by what looks like Frank Yankovic, "To Sal, Merry Christmas". I need to do some more research on this...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Christmas In July 2007-Day 9

Yes, I know I'm a day behind. I got tied up last night, and didn't get a chance to post. I probably won't be able to make up the missing day before the weekend, either, but I'm going to try not to lose any ground between now and then. Today you get two versions of It Happened In Sun Valley, and two tracks by Andre Previn, but not necessarily the same two. The first version of It Happened In Sun Valley is indeed by Andre Previn, from his LP Let's Get Away From It All (Decca DL 8131, 1955). (I shared a great doodle from this LP here.) This is an instrumental version, so you have to be familiar with it to make it feel a little wintry. If you need to hear the lyrics, try out this second version by the great Glenn Miller And His Orchestra from the LP The Golden Hits From His Original Soundtracks (20th Fox Fox 1001, 1961), a collection of songs that were cut for various movies that are purported to be in higher fidelity that stuff he recorded in the studio. And if you're keeping score, you'll know the third track is by Andre Previn, but you won't know that it's Blue Holiday from the album The Previn Scene (MGM E3908, 1961). Don't get depressed, it's not that blue. Here's the link. Have at it!

What was the share a year ago? Three versions of Our Winter Love, and a bonus track with a similar title, Winter's Sadness.

Oodles Of Doodles CCXLVI-Christmas In July 2007

The month is still young, but I've already missed a day. Sorry. But to help make up for it, here's a great doodle to help you get into the Christmas In July spirit. This is another doodle from the great Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, this time from the LP Now Is The Caroling Season (Capitol ST 896, 1959). Fred must have liked the doodles to go to all the trouble to get great artwork like this for his records.
Hmmm, looks like this record originally came out in mono back in 1957. The 1959 release date I found when I wrote the bit above is for the stereo version. I wondered how he managed to come out with two Christmas records in a single year.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oodles Of Doodles CCXLV-Christmas In July 2007

Here's a quick little Christmas doodle for this evening. I've wasted away my whole weekend doing nothing, and now I have to hurry to get my doodle posted for today. But I suppose that's my problem and not yours. Anyhow, here's a nice doodle from the back of The Joy Of Christmas Volume II (RCA Victor PRM-203-A, 1966), yet another one of those seemingly endless compilation LPs that RCA put out in the sixties for Christmas after Christmas. This one appears to have been for Acme Markets. At least it yields a nice doodle of some Christmas ornaments.

Another Week In July

Maybe you're getting tired of all the Christmas In July stuff? If so, here's a little diversion for you. This is the weekly calendar page I like to share out. This week it features a couple of very pale pink flamingos that I shot last year at the Flamingo Casino in Las Vegas. I guess it's hard to find the right food for them in the middle of the desert, so they tend to get a little pale.

Christmas In July 2007-Day 8

I've got a real mixed bag of stuff for you today. The first track is Santa by Noro Morales And His Orchestra from Mambos (RCA Victor EPA-553 2x7" 45 RPM)). This is one of those EPs I was so excited about finding a few months back. I don't think it's really a Christmas tune, but with a name like Santa, how could I resist? Track two is Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt from The Best Of Eartha Kitt (MCA (UK) GHS 2024). You may think that this is an odd choice for my little Christmas In July sharity, but stick with me for a minute. This isn't the version you're used to. This is a re-recording that Eartha made later in her career. It's similar to the original you've heard over and over, but it's not quit the same. Give it a listen and you'll see that it's not quite right... Track three is The Secret Of Christmas by the great Bing Crosby. This is the original version that hailed from the soundtrack Say One For Me (Columbia CL 1337, 1959), a movie that featured Bing with Robert Wagner and Debbie Reynolds. He later re-recorded it for a Christmas record with Frank Sinatra and Fred Waring, but I think that one is almost as hard to find as this one. If these sound interesting, please be my guest and download away!

So what were your download choices last year on this date? Let's see... Ah, two versions of Ave Maria, and a great track called Santa Claus Is Flat Gonna Come To Town by The Four Freshmen.