Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Firestone Presents... Vol. 6 - Various

Okay, another album before Christmas... It's that time of the year... Wait, didn't Jack Jones sing that on Firestone's Your Favorite Christmas Carols? He did, and that's the latest album on the blog.

It's like Circus of The Stars: Jack Jones, the Vienna Choir Boys, and Roberta Peters all perform a mix of new, old and non-secular tunes arranged and conducted by Irwin Kostal.

The highlight is Jones' perf of "This Is That Time of The Year", so good it's lauded on the cover. This one could stand shoulder to shoulder quite nicely with Andy Williams' "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year" and Perry Como's "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas". Also new to this compilation is the sprightly "Dance of The Christmas Doll" by Edward Thomas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Little Drummer Boy - The Living Voices

We're hurtling towards Christmas here, so I guess I should step on the gas a bit and offer another album.

This one is The Little Drummer Boy by The Living Voices and just happens to be my personal favorite album this year. Why? Well, to me it's just perfect Christmas music: the mixed vocals are in that mid-'60s stylization, and the orchestral accompaniment is light -- there's nothing on this album that will add stress to the hectic time that leads up to the big day. Add to that faithful (but unique) arrangements (by Anita Kerr) and you've got a heart-warming and upbeat album. Perfect!

Highlights include "Be A Santa", a song I was unfamiliar with before this LP, and now love, "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" and the real show-stopper, the ultra-tranquil, incredibly beautiful "Do You Hear What I Hear", perhaps the greatest performance of this very non-secular Christmas classic. I get chills from this track and to me it's never sounded better. Eat your heart out, Engelbert!

Please enjoy: The Little Drummer Boy

This LP is now on CD and now available at

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Merry Christmas - John Clayton

Here's a nice little album from 1958, Merry Christmas (imaginative title, yes?) performed by John Clayton his Orchestra and Chorus. Who is John Clayton? Can't tell you. A search of Google only finds jazz arranger and band leader John Clayton, who is still very much alive and would have been just a few years old when this record was released. It's unlikely than that he was involved with recording it!

There are a couple of highlights on this album that I'd like to draw your attention to. "I'm Getting Nottin For Xmas", in what must be one of it's earliest recordings(?), the rollicking "Home For The Holidays", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Sleigh Ride". Why is it that "Sleigh Ride" is always the most interesting variation on every Christmas album?

Monday, December 4, 2006

The Sounds of Christmas

The first album I'd like to share isn't really comprised of the standard set of Christmas favorites. Instead it's a 1973 songs, sound and story album from Disneyland Records called The Sounds of Christmas, featuring Peter Renoudet (aka Renaday) singing and narrating his heart out. Renoudet sounds like a mock-sincere Will Ferrell character, and the album's twice-sung title track, "The Sounds of Christmas" is perhaps a little cheesy.

The story and sound effects are the real bonus here -- perfect for mixing into your annual Christmas compilation. If you have a sick and twisted sense of humor, you might find the part where Dad hauls in the Christmas Yule Log laced with innuendo.

Kicking off the Season

Hi all - and welcome to this new blog, devoted to the Christmas music of yesteryear. Please join me as I share some of the musty old LPs I've been lucky enough to discover these past few months.

What's with the URL? Well, I had some difficulties remembering my login/password for, so when I went to re-register, half-paying attention, I typed in hif-fi-holidays. Let that be a lesson to all ye potential registrants with Blogger: pay attention!

I am humbled by the contributions found at the sites to the top right of this page. Their generous contributions to my own Christmas music collection has inspired me to do the same for others.

Hopefully I'll post some long out-of-print albums that will be good enough to make it into your Holiday playlist, warm your heart, and help spread some Christmas cheer.

If you like what you hear please leave a comment. Recording, declicking, editing and assembling these records takes a bit of work. Hearing from you makes it worthwhile!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!