Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Christmas In July 2008-Day 1

Hello, and welcome, to Christmas in July 2008! Seems like just yesterday it was Christmas Day and I was sharing out the last of my Christmas music. Actually, it was only last week when I shared out 30 Christmas tracks from singles I'd recently acquired, so that must be what I'm thinking about. Christmas was so long ago that I have no hope of accurately remembering it. For those of you who've been here before and know the drill, you can skip on down to the link at the bottom of the post. Those of you who are new to the whole Christmas in July at Ernie (Not Bert), let me explain a little about what's going on. For the past couple of years, I've spent the month of July sharing out Christmas music from dusty old LPs that I find at various thrift stores for $1 or less. All of the music you'll get the chance to download this month comes from my very own vinyl, and is is replete with my very own pops, scratches, surface noise, clicks, hum, wow, flutter and other unknown and un-named noises. Some of the things I share may be available on CD somewhere, but most of these things are from releases that you've never seen or heard, and the original recordings have been lost to the ages. Oh, and one more thing. Each of these Christmas or holiday songs is from a non-holiday record. That is, you won't find these songs on those Christmas records your mom has in a box in the attic that she drags out every year. These are from records that were meant to be listened to year-round, but for some reason had a holiday-themed track stuck in there. It's not easy to explain, but trust me, you'll love it.

Now, on to the important part, the music. I agonized over what to share with you here on the first day. I didn't want to jump right in with some odd theme, like 10 versions of Winter Wonderland, or half a dozen different renditions of My Favorite Things, although both such collections are likely to show up before the end of the month. I also didn't want to give you all my best tracks at once, leaving the whole month to be a downhill slide (a slide which could be quite fun if it ever snowed here in Florida...). So I picked a few sleigh-themed tracks, and couple of tracks that I remembered enjoying when I first recorded them. I figure that will give you a good taste of the sort of thing that is going to come your way for the next 31 days. (And I usually manage to sneak in an extra day at the end, so don't leave just because the credits have started to roll.)

So, what's in the download? Track the first is the incomparable Sauter-Finegan Orchestra (RIP Bill Finegan) and their great track Sleighride from the LP The Return of the Doodletown Fifers (United Artists WWS 8511). This track was originally titled Midnight Sleighride when they first recorded it back in the fifties, but for this later collection at a different label (and in stereo!), they shortened the name somewhat. Big thanks to Lee for sharing out the original version last year, which has eluded me so far on the original vinyl...

Track two is the first of many, many versions of Sleigh Ride that I've collected over the past year. Seems that every tribute to Leroy Anderson ever recorded features this song, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. This time it's by Marco Rizo, His Piano and Orchestra from Leroy Anderson In Latin America (Forum F 9039). Pretty good version, this. I might have more from Marco Rizo later in the month, if I can get the record to quit skipping. That's the trouble with buying cheap vinyl, I guess, but I can't afford to spend record store money on this stuff.

What's next? Oh, Hungarian Sleigh Ride by Erwin Halletz And His Orchestra from The Girl From Budapest (Decca DL 8797). Sometimes I don't know how I find these tracks. This was something that I just picked up, flipped over and there it was. I don't know if this is really holiday music or not, but the title helps it fit in. I'm going to throw a lot of music at you this month, some of it's going to work, some of it isn't. You'll have to be the judge of that. If you like it, leave me a comment. If you don't like it, you can leave me a comment about that, too, I don't mind.

Track four is a jazzy little instrumental called Land Of Broken Toys by John Graas, from the LP Coup de Graas (Mercury MG 36117). I love these old Mercury LPs, but they're so few and far between. I was happy to find it, and ecstatic to find something on it that I could share.

The last track, and maybe the best (although certainly not the best sounding), is Looks Like A Cold Cold Winter by Georgia Gibbs from Her Nibs, Georgia Gibbs (Coral CRL 57183). I had previously only heard Bing Crosby's version of this tune, and I was quite surprised by how much I liked this one. I'm sure you'll agree that this one is a great addition to the season, and this is probably the first one I can guarantee you will wind up on my Best-Of collection.

There you go, the first of many days of great tunes I want to share with you this month. I think I'm forgetting something... Oh, how about the download link? That would be handy, wouldn't it. Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to come back tomorrow.

(For the newbies, all the tracks are in a single ZIP file. All the tracks are in MP3 format at 192K stereo or 96K mono, and they are tagged with as much information as I have available from the sleeve when I record them. Clicking the download link will take you to a site where you have to read the distorted letters on the screen and type them in to prove you're not some sort of robot. Once you've done that, you'll be taken over to RapidShare, where you'll have to follow the instructions (wait for the counter...) and you can download the file for free. You can also sign up for a month-long (or more) subscription if you like, and then you won't be prohibited from downloading too much at a time. It's a bit cumbersome, but it's the best way I've found to share out an awful lot of music for free.)

Anything else? Well, you can still download the tracks from this day in 2006 and 2007 if you like. Just follow the links. You can get Christmassy tracks from Leroy Holmes, a very young Louis Armstrong, Connee Boswell and The Robin Hood Orchestra. I notice that every year I give away more and more tracks per day. I don't know how long I can keep that up...


Stephen said...

It's the (second-most) wonderful time of the year: Christmas in July at Ernie (Not Bert). Great bunch of stuff to start off the month, Ernie. I can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

Ernie: I can't beleive it is Christmas again so soon. I've gotten the first set for this year and will be here every day to pluck the ear candy off the tree. Thanks for sharing your wonderful collection with all of us.

fixxitt in Georgia

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Ernie. The more the merrier!