Monday, November 29, 2021

Burl Speaks!

A long time ago, I shared out a rare Burl Ives album where he performs Christmas songs believed to be the favorites of various US presidents. There was something in the liner notes that led me to believe maybe I had an abridged version of the LP, and I've been hunting for the other, ever rarer, version of the LP ever since. And guess what recently popped up on eBay? Thankfully, I don't think the seller knew this was a special variant of the album, so I was able to get it at a decent price, though not my usual dollar or less price. But since I'm not running around every weekend buying every LP I can get my hands on anymore, I was able to spend a little more this year and get some slightly better stuff than what I usually buy. And besides, how many more copies do I need of some things? I've discovered that I've got plenty of albums in the collection with multiple copies, either because I found a better copy, or because I forgot I had the other one (or two or three...). Anyhow, this new version features a bit of narration before each song, spoken by Mr. Ives, and it's a real treat to hear. Sometimes he strums along with the story, so it's not just dry explanations. I really enjoyed it, and I think you will, too. This is Burl Ives-Music Conducted By Tony Mottola-Christmas At The White House-Burl Ives Sings The Favorite Carols And Hymns Of America's Presidents (Caedmon TC 1415 (Historical Comment Version), Stereo, 1972). FYI, the actual songs themselves seem to be the same recordings as presented on the other version, but they are in chronological order by president here, while the other LP has them sequenced differently. (If for whatever reason you want the other version, you should still be able to download it here.)

1. George Washington Intro

2. While Shepherds Watch'd Their Flocks By Night

3. John Adams Intro

4. Joy To The World (Boston)

5. Thomas Jefferson Intro

6. Adeste Fideles (Portuguese Hymn)

7. Andrew Jackson Intro

8. Shout The Glad Tidings

9. Zachery Taylor Intro

10. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

11. Abraham Lincoln Intro

12. We Three Kings Of Orient Are

13. Ulysses S. Grant Intro

14. O Little Town Of Bethlehem

15. Theodore Roosevelt Intro

16. Christmas On The Sea

17. Franklin D. Roosevelt Intro

18. Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Laden

19. John F. Kennedy Intro

20. Silver Bells

21. Lyndon B. Johnson Intro

22. Silent Night

23. Richard M. Nixon Intro

24. The Little Drummer Boy



  1. Thanks, Ernie. Not wishing to be persnickety, but curious to know if this share has any sonic advantages over the other one I've been listening to ever since you posted it.

    Thanks again, Ernie.

  2. It may or may not sound any better, but the old share only had the music. This one includes the narration by Burl. I just ripped the whole thing from scratch. The music files seemed to match the old ones time-wise, but I didn't do an A-B test. The narrations are worth your time, I think. I enjoyed them.

  3. Muchas gracias estimado Ernie por este archivo, saludos.

  4. How interesting! Only you could find such a thing. I gather that the first version made some reference to this one?

  5. Thanks, Ernie! I'm curious to hear this for the Tony Mottola arrangements as well.

  6. Thanks all!

    Buster-There was some minor reference or inference in the liner notes of the other version that hinted at the existence of this one. Took a bit of digging, but ta-da! :)

    Pete-I dunno if there's much hint here of the Tony Mottola sound here, but maybe your ears are more attuned to him than I am.

  7. Wow, the narrative really adds color to the songs themself - I love Burl but the additional really makes this a superior product - wonder why they cut it out - is it due to length?

  8. Thanks for the comment. It's pretty long with the narration, but not overly so. It's my experience that spoken word bits like this don't make for great repeated listening. So it might be great to play for an educational thing once in a while, but for repeated listening, you'd want the music-only version. One may have been targeted towards the educational market, and one towards the casual listeners. Just my opinion, I have no info either way. I didn't try to find a contemporary advertisement or anything. Perhaps I should...

  9. Nice ! Thank You Ernie ! . . .

  10. This is great - thank you! I'm downloading both this one & the other version. I appreciate your linking both.


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