Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas To All

Before the season slips away entirely, I wanted to sneak in here and wish all of my visitors, both loyal and new, a very merry Christmas!  I know I've been MIA for the whole season, but the traffic logs tell me that plenty of folks are still stopping by and finding something or other of interest.  Thank you to those who've left comments or sent me personal notes.  I haven't had time to answer many of you, but all of your notes have been heartwarming.  Yes, Jennifer and I are still together.  We've been busy creating our first Christmas together, trying to make it from one busy day to the next while taking the time to enjoy the season, a little bit more even than I've had the chance to do in the past.  Since 2005 or so, I've been so busy with the blog at Christmas that I haven't had time to do some of the things I should have during the holiday season.  This year I've been shopping until late at night, listened to high school kids play The Nutcracker on the marimbas (and Jingle Bells on bagpipe!), gone to the office Christmas party, saw Santa Claus come riding in on a green '57 Thunderbird, ate soggy chicken while listening to Christmas madrigals and occasionally gotten to listen to some Christmas music.  And I wouldn't trade any of it for all the vinyl in Florida.

Some months ago I asked Jen if maybe she'd like to put together some sort of audio Christmas card that we could send to friends and family in lieu of the usual holiday card that gets tossed after the season ends.  She liked the idea, so we dove into my deep archives of Christmas music from vinyl, listening to hundreds of tracks some nights to sift through and find a CDs worth of music that we liked.  It took a while, and went through a few edits, but we finally came up with the list you see below, all pulled from vinyl in my own collection and spanning the entire history of my blogging life.  The bitrates on some of the older stuff may be low, but I don't think there is anything here that's unlistenable.  Put it on and I think it will bring a little bit of joy to your holiday for many years to come.  There are also a few surprises in here, things that I've never shared, and probably shouldn't share, but I'm not too worried about getting shut down at this point.

1. Pete Rugolo-Jingle Bells Mambo

A new track, something I'd never had before this year.  Would have made a great Christmas-In-July track, but I never got the chance to share it then.  Enjoy it now!

2. Kelly Schoppa-Merry Texas Christmas

Jen is from Texas, and this was the best version I could find.  It bothered her that they say 'You All' in there instead of Y'all.

3. Wayne King-Jing-A-Ling-A-Ling
4. The Surfers-Here Comes Santa In A Red Canoe
5. Vincent Lopez-Here Comes The Fattest Man In Town
6. Elvis Presley-Santa Claus Is Back In Town

From my copy of the original 1957 gatefold with all the pretty pictures of Elvis that have nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas. Just imagine hearing this for the first time...

7. Sarah Vaughan & Billy Eckstine-I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

I shared this out in a mono version a long time ago, but stumbled across a stereo copy this summer. Jen wondered why I was so excited until I played it for her, so this one had to go on here.  Not sure when this came out since the music was recorded in 1957 before stereo records.  They must have gone back to the 3-tracks for this one. I know there were fewer songs on the LP than the mono version.

8. Hugo Winterhalter-Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Cha Cha
9. The Three Suns-Ding Dong Dandy Christmas
10. George Melachrino-Fairy On The Christmas Tree
11. Georgia Gibbs-Looks Like A Cold Cold Winter
12. Bing Crosby-Christmas Dinner Country Style
13. Margret Jonsson-Snögrubben Froste

I like to think of this as a little Easter Egg, which is the wrong holiday, but you get the idea...

14. Blue Barron-Red Cheeks And White Whiskers
15. The McGuire Sisters-The Cactus Christmas Tree
16. Russ Morgan-The Mistletoe Kiss
17. Ruby Wright-Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Xmas
18. The Town Pipers-Santa’s On His Way
19. The Sun Tones-The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot
20. Dean Martin-The Christmas Blues

Another track I probably shouldn't share out, so pretend it's not here...(But it's so good!)

21. The Davis Sisters-The Christmas Boogie
22. Mimi Hines-I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
23. Lawrence Welk’s Little Band-Outer Space Santa
24. Benny Martin-Santa Claus Is From The South
25. Louis Prima-Senor Santa Claus
26. Les Paul and Mary Ford-Jungle Bells
27. Tony Martin-Christmas In Rio
28. The Ames Brothers-Ting-A-Ling-A Jingle
29. Cicero Pig-December

This is for Sophie, Jen's daughter, who you see on the front cover spotting my giant lens in the audience.  Her birthday comes in December, so we had to make sure she got plenty of birthday-not-Christmas presents.  Oh, and a giant chocolate cake from PF Changs.  And vinyl.  I got her a record.  She seemed to like it. :)

30. Eydie Gormé-Winter Night
31. Poppa John Gordy-Santa Plays The Trombone (In The North Pole Band)
32. IBM 7090 Computer-Joy To The World

And there you have it, a whole lot of oldies but goodies.  That's what this blog has always been about, I suppose.  I hope you enjoy it.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Still More Trapped

Almost exactly four years ago, I predicted that this statue behind the Ringling Museum would be completely obscured by the banyan tree it sat next to.  Well, I was wrong.  It's actually not that much more consumed, especially when you look at the difference from eight years ago.

Monday, July 01, 2013

No Snow In July

Hello, and welcome to Christmas in July 2013!  Err, actually, welcome to No Christmas in July 2013.  Yes, it's sad but true, I won't be sharing any Christmas gems with you all this year.  No one is a bigger fan of Christmas music than I am, but some things are just more important, and her name is Jennifer.  Yes, that's right, I finally met that special someone that I've been looking for for a long time now, and she's great.  So my spare time has been spent working on building a relationship that I hope will span many, many years to come.  I'm certainly not going to rule out a future return to Christmas music sharing, and believe me, I still have piles and piles of music that I'd love to bring you, but for now it's on the back burner.  Maybe I'll have some goodies come the real holidays at the end of the year, but for now, all I can do is wish you a Merry Christmas in July!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


No swimming, but only if you happen to be a Munch creation.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kooky Kormorant

As I get older, I find that my eyebrows grow out much faster than they used to. Though I have to say I don't have it quite as bad as this guy, a cormorant permanently housed at Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.  I guess it's that time of year when a male bird's fancy turns from fish to the lady birds, and strange changes take place that help to attract a suitable mate. All I can say that I'm glad it's not happening to me!

Friday, February 01, 2013

On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas (Finally)

Yes, I'm fine.  Thanks for all the comments asking how I was.  I got this flu that's been going around, and I had it for almost three weeks.  Then when that was over, I had to catch up on all the stuff I hadn't done for a while, and I really wasn't in the mood to do anything Christmassy, but today I looked up and realized it was February.  So I don't imagine that there are too many people still around to download this, but hopefully, it'll still be here come Christmas in July, and then again next Christmas.  I'm proud to present to you my collection of all the best tracks from my Christmas In July celebration back in 2011.  2011 was a great year for Christmas songs from non-holiday albums, and because I found so many great songs, this best-of features 51 tracks!  I've sort of broken it up roughly into two CDs, but I numbered the tracks 1-51 in the tags, so if you want to leave it as MP3s, it'll play straight through, or you can burn it to two audio CDs, your choice.  There's some really great stuff on here, I'm quite proud of it.  I put the basic tracks together a long time ago, but I've come back and tweaked it many times in the interim.  I'm not very good at sequencing things, but I think this flows fairly well.  The only song I doubled up on was Jingle Bells, and I did that on purpose because I had two worthy versions.  I also cheated and dropped in a better version of an Arthur Godfrey track that I found in time for the 2012 season, mostly because I felt the 2011 version was the worst sounding thing on the whole collection.  But I could go on for hours.  Let me just throw this out there, and whoever is still around, I hope you enjoy it!

1. Lena Horne-Sleigh Ride In July
2. Count Basie-Summer Frost
3. The Sportsmen-Jingle Bells
4. Lew White-The Wedding Of The Painted Doll
5. Carolyn Hester-Virgin Mary
6. Red Nichols-Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers
7. Morgana King-'Twas The Night Before Christmas
8. The Carnegie Pops Orchestra-March Of The Little Lead Soldiers
9. Paul Anka-I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
10. Ira Ironstrings-Hot Toddy
11. Carmen McRae-Winter In May
12. Gerry Robichaud-Snowflake Breakdown
13. Jane Morgan-Toyland
14. Bent Fabric-The Drunken Penguin
15. Jackie Kannon-Santa Claus Calling
16. Ian Whitcomb-Reindeer-A Ragtime Two-Step
17. Grand Fantastic Strings-Troika
18. The Cuff Links-Put A Little Love In Your Heart
19. Laurence Naismith, Janis Paige & Fred Gwynne-Pine Cones And Holly Berries
20. Floyd Cramer-Our Winter Love
21. Sylvia De Sayles-Warm Winter
22. Living Brass-A Hazy Shade Of Winter
23. Pope John Paul II-On A December Night
24. The Wesleyan Ringers-Joy To The World
25. James Walker-Chipmunk Song
26. Charles Dorian-Dancing Snowflakes

1.Perry Como-My Favorite Things
2. Jacky Noguez-A Marshmallow World
3. The All Churches Children's Choir-Luther's Cradle Hymn       
4. Leroy Anderson-Clarinet Candy
5. Idlers-Brothers Lift Your Voices
6. Johnny Pecon-Snowflake Polka
7. Danny Kaye-Jingle Bells
8. Living Strings-Sleigh Ride
9. Tommy Roe-It's Now Winter's Day
10. 101 Strings-Fuyu Geshiki (Japanese Snowflakes)   
11. Joanie Sommers-Winter In New England
12. Pee Wee Hunt-The Iceman Cometh (Skater's Waltz)   
13. George Hamilton IV-Natividad (The Nativity)
14. Lawrence Welk-Holiday Waltz
15. Hap Palmer-Hanukkah
16. Los Admiradores-Greensleeves
17. Arthur Godfrey-The First Snow Of Winter
18. Russ Case-The Doll Dance
19. Ted Schumate-Dann Reno Jazz Quartet-Christmas Time Is Here   
20. Drexel Park Presbyterian Church Senior Choir-Carol Of The Bells   
21. Cicero Pig-December
22. Judy Collins-Christ Child Lullaby
23. Roger King Mozian-The Bells Of St. Mary's
24. Tinker Reason-The Christmas Song
25. Art Gilmore-New Year's Eve At Time's Square


Friday, January 04, 2013

On The Eleventh Day Of Christmas

For the eleventh night of Christmas, something you haven't seen around here before, a little lite reggae all the way from Jamaica. It's different, I know, but I enjoy all types of Christmas music and I think you do, too.  If you didn't enjoy crazy Christmas music, would you be here at the blog almost two weeks after the big day downloading old Christmas music?  So grab some of this and see what you think.  Side one is a loooooooooooong medley, so be prepared for that.  This is The Blues Busters-Merry Christmas (Weed Beat WB 132 (Jamaica)/Tower Records T-027 (New York), Stereo, 1983).

1. Jingle Bells; We Wish You A Merry Christmas; Deck The Halls; Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer; Santa Claus Is Coming To Town; The First Noel; Joy To The World; We Wish You A Merry Christmas (Chorus)
2. The Christmas Song
3. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
4. Silent Night
5. Auld Lang Syne


Thursday, January 03, 2013

On The Tenth Day Of Christmas

We're really coming down to the wire here, only three days left in the Twelve Days of Christmas, and as far as I can tell, nobody else is even sharing stuff now that Christmas has past. Well, you can never have too much of a good thing, right? Maybe... Anyhow, tonight I've got a nice kiddie record for you with some interesting songs, some non-Christmas songs, and some of the same-old-thing.  I think I have three records from this same label with very similar covers and nearly identical catalog numbers.  Unfortunately, this is the only one I could get a rip of.  One of them had the wrong vinyl in the sleeve, one of the skipped horribly right at the beginning of the record no matter what I did, and then this one came out OK. Not great, but OK.  There're certainly things worth hearing on here, but I wish I was able to give you the whole set of records instead of just this one.  Maybe next year.  For now, please download The Audition Studio Orchestra And Chorus-Holiday Time For Children (Audition AUD 33-5947, Mono).

1. All Around The Christmas Tree
2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
3. March Of The Toys
4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
5. Santa Claus Is Flying Thru The Sky
6. Old MacDonald Had A Farm
7. Sleigh Ride
8. The Christmas Song
9. The Gingerbread Man
10. Toyland
11. Happy Days Are Here Again
12. Mulberry Bush


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

On The Ninth Day Of Christmas

On the ninth day of Christmas, you get stories, lots of stories! Just what you need for your Christmas mix tapes!  Well, maybe for next year's Christmas mix tapes.  Just put these away in a safe place, and they'll be there waiting for you when you need them.  I was a little lazy when I was scanning this LP, as I didn't scan in the entire book that came with it, which you can sorta see in the picture above.  It opens up and has little miniature versions of all the books you see there on the cover.  You probably know all of these stories by heart, anyway, don't you?  Anyhow, this is Christmas Story Teller (Golden Records/Wonderland/A.A. Records GST-8, Stereo, 1972).  Oh, there's a little bit of a song on How Lovely Is Christmas that's performed by someone you might recognize.  He's not mentioned on the cover, but he's there.

1. How Lovely Is Christmas
2. Jingle Bells
3. The Night Before Christmas
4. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
5. The Twelve Days Of Christmas
6. Frosty The Snowman


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

On The Eighth Day Of Christmas

Happy New Year! So this is what 2013 looks like.  Doesn't seem to be all that different from 2012 so far.  Today's Christmas music is a remaster of a title I first shared back in 2006, and it was one of the Christmas records I remember having as a kid.  Even with the wonky titles, I can sing along to each and every song on here as if I've heard it a thousand times, which, come to think of it, I probably have.  The cover you see above is new, I first shared it with the cover shown down at the bottom.  No idea which came first, but they both featured the same back cover and labels.  Still no idea who Slim Boyd is, but I'm 99% sure there was never such a person, especially since there seem to be more than one vocalist on this record, and more likely than not several different groups.  But it's still good music.  Oh, I think I've also seen some of this music listed as being by Tex Johnson And His Six Shooters.  So there you go.  For the purposes of my memory however, this is Slim Boyd And The Rangehands-Christmas Country Style (Premier XMS 11, Stereo).

1. Go Tell It On The Mountain
2. On December 5 And 20
3. Wagon On Christmas
4. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
5. Jeanette Isabella
6. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
7. The Night Before Christmas
8. A Santa Claus Greeting
9. Have A Merry, Merry Christmas
10. Silent Night