Thursday, December 01, 2016

Christmas In Slo Mo

Where else but Ernie (Not Bert) are you going to find Christmas music that is half-speed mastered?  Well, sort of.  You might remember growing up and playing with that big console phonograph your grandparents had.  There was a big knob that controlled the speed of the turntable, and it had settings that didn't make any sense.  33, yeah, for the big records, 45 for the smaller records.  Then up higher on the dial was 78, which you eventually figured out was for those thick records that only played one song and they sounded terrible, probably because you didn't flip the needle over like you were supposed to. (It was also a good speed to make any record sound like the Chipmunks.  Oh, what fun!)  But there was another speed setting down at the bottom that never, ever got used, 16 RPM.  What was that for?  I don't remember ever having a 16RPM record as a child.  A little research shows that Chrysler made some records at that speed to play in your car, and Seeburg used it for their background music system, but why is it on your big console?  Well, I think somebody tried to make it a thing, and it just never caught on, but it was an easy speed to add, so manufacturers put it on there in hopes of making it a selling point.  Oh, I just remembered seeing a few spoken-word records that ran at this slow motion speed, stuff about cults and religious records.  But the only music records I've seen were this one and another non-christmas LP by the same guy.  (Well, there are transcription discs, but they won't fit on my turntable...)  Anyhow, I first shared this out in 2012, and I'm bringing it back now.  Please download Will Kennedy's Stereo Orchestra-Stereo Christmasland (Dancetime 12" 16-2/3 RPM LP WK-5000-S, Stereo). For the record, I didn't actually play this at 16-2/3 RPM.  I played it at the usual 33-1/3, then slowed it down in Audacity.  Is that cheating?

1. Rudolph, The Red Nose (sic) Reindeer
2. Greensleeves
3. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
4. I Saw Three Ships
5. O Tannenbaum
6. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
7. Silent Night
8. Over The River And Through The Woods
9. Adeste Fidelis
10. Joseph O Joseph
11. Deck The Halls
12. By The Christmas Tree
13. Unto Us Is Born A Son
14. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
15. Good King Wenceslas
16. Come, All Ye Shepherds
17. Jolly Old St. Nicholas
18. Joy To The World
19. Winter Wonderland
20. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
21. The Christmas Song
22. Angels We Have Heard On High
23. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
24. Wassail Song
25. The First Noel
26. Shepherds, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep
27. White Christmas
28. O Sanctissima
29. Away In A Manger
30. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
31. Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
32. We Three Kings
33. O Holy Night
34. O Come, Little Children
35. The Holly And The Ivy
36. Jingle Bells



Yulinka said...

From what I've heard, the 16 rpm speed was also used for audio recordings of books and other materials for the blind. Still a niche market, but that could explain why the speed was on the record players of the time.
(Long time lurker, first time poster. Thank you for sharing your love of obscure holiday music!)

Muff Diver said...

Thanks Ernie, I love your 'oddball' records.

Do you have any idea what the original release date was for this recording? There's scant info online, and I can't find any images of a rear cover, etc. Even educated guesses would be welcome at this point.

mel said...

The country that issued the most 16rpm commercial records was indubitably South Africa. They jumped on a bandwagon that no other country took advantage of: the fact that just about everyone with a record player had 16rpm capability.

The records were all music - dance, popular vocal and orchestral (for example,local artists such as Dan Hill, international stars such as Jim Reeves, and many others).

Not only were the records a novelty, but they had double the playing time - a big advantage - and the audio quality wasn't bad at all.

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Kwork said...

Being a blind person who's been around a few years, I can confirm that many recordings of audiobooks, called Talking Books, were produced at the 16-2/3 rpm speed. After that, machines were created for us, and distributed through NLS (The National Library Service for the Blind and Visually Impaired) that would play books as slow as 8-1/3 rpm. All those are no more now as they made way for cassettes, which have now made way for digital files that can only be played on players from the NLS. Still, those old records, which could be quite thick and heavy, hold a special spot in my memories. I think the top producer of those books for us was the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB, though The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) had their own studios. Alexander Scourby, who narrated so many of those early books for us, was practically the talking voice of the soundtrack for my youth. Ah, the memories.

Kwork said...

Oh, by the way, I got so caught up that I forgot to say thank you for this one. Truly appreciated.