Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Christmas Album - Paul Mauriat

Regretfully I've been so busy with work that I haven't had the opportunity to post as many albums as I'd like before Christmas. So I'm going to add one today - Paul Mauriat's The Christmas Album - and one tomorrow to make up for it.

This is a top-notch offering from Mauriat, for full orchestra and wordless chorus. There's the old favourites here: "Jingle Bells", "White Christmas", "Silent Night", plus lesser-known titles like "Entre Le Boeuf Et L'Ane Gris" (aka "Among The Cattle and The Grey Donkey" - a Mauriat original?) and "Il est ne Le Divin Enfant" ("The Divine Infant Is Born"). All arranged and performed for maximum festive impact!

This album was re-issued on CD in a less complete form. That CD is now out-of-print. (and note: argh! "Trois Anges Sont Venus" ("Three Angels Appeared") plays twice in this file - once right after "White Christmas", so they're the same MP3 file. Quality control has been fired for this!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shell's Wonderful World of Music - Longines Symphonette Society

A double-LP set deserves a long title, and this one has one! This is Shell's Wonderful World of Music: Special Christmas Edition by the Longines Symphonette Society. According to Wikipedia, The Longines Symphonette Society was a record label created by the watch company Longines. Makes perfect sense.

Here are 20 carols performed in the wholly inoffensive choral/orchestral tradition ("Little Drummer Boy", "White Christmas" are highlights), with arrangements that are clean and straightforward. This is great background listening for Christmas gatherings where you don't want bombastic, jazzy or swinging variations to overload your celebratory subconcious.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - As Told by Paul Wing

As I write this, Christmas is just 29 days away. Wow, it seems like I was just putting up an album in July!

Seasonal sharity is in full swing so I figured I'd get my butt in gear and join in. My first album of Christmas '07 is the kiddie-centric record Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Rudolph's Second Christmas, featuring two stories narrated by Paul Wing, written by Robert May, with music by Norman Leyden. There are also four delightful renditions of "Suzy Snowflake" performed by Dale Evans, "The Night Before Christmas Song" performed by Gisele McKenzie with Ray Charles' orchestra and choir, "Frosty The Snowman" performed by Vaughn Monroe and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" from The Voices of Walter Schumann. What a line-up -- it's the Yuletide version of Circus of The Stars!

This recording comes from the Pickwick re-issue, which is presented as stereo, albeit processed from mono. I actually have two versions of this album, the aforementioned Pickwick issue and one from RCA/Victor (which features a better cover, see above). According to a recent eBay auction, the Paul Wing stories were also released on two 45rpm records in the 1950s.

This is a little gem of an album. You have two wonky stories to entertain the kids and four brilliant arrangements of familiar favorites.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The John Gary Christmas Album

John Gary wishes you a Merry Christmas! How do I know that? It says so, right on the back of this LP!

Who is John Gary? He was a versatile vocalist (3 whoppin' octaves), born in 1932 who passed away in 1998. While he never achieved the mainstream status of many of his contemporaries, he recorded 23 albums for RCA Victor (see more at Wikipedia), including this gem, The John Gary Christmas Album.

Featuring the soothing vocals of one John Gary, orchestra arranged by Peter Matz and background vocalists, this is a wholly enjoyable little Christmas album. Straight laced, and timeless in that early 1960s mode. All of the standards are here, with a few lesser-known titles like "Little Snow Girl" and "Sweet Little Jesus Boy", beautifully rendered by our new tree-gazing music friend, John Gary.

But wait! Wasn't this released on CD, you ask? It was. In 2000 on Restart Records and now languishing out-of-print. Plus, the version I've uploaded is in Mono (RCA also issued a stereo LP). Consider this the best way to hear this album without taking away sales of an album no longer on sale... (Got that?)

Update! — This album is now available - in stereo - on John Gary's official website. Buy it today!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Christmas Serenade - Sammy Kaye

Okay, let's get this party started. To celebrate Christmas In July, here's Sammy Kaye's Christmas Serenade a 10" LP from Columbia Records (CL 2541). I haven't been able to track down a recording date for this LP, but Ernie Not Bert's blog shared an album with the same name last year (though with different contents). That LP was dated 1951 (see link).

This is a mix of fun tunes with more serious choral renditions. I hope Kaye's variations of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town", "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderland" make it into your Christmas music rotation come November!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Christmas in July

Hi folks. It's July, and apparently the Christmas music blogs begin to wake up and add a few new albums to celebrate the halfway point between last Christmas and next Christmas. I too have a few classics I'll be adding to Hi-Fi Holiday over the next few weeks. Time to fire up the record player!

All of my previously shared albums are still available for download, so if you've been waiting (and why?) grab 'em!

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year

Well, it's 2007, and officially the end of the Christmas season. Thanks to everyone who visited, and checked out the music. Special thanks to those who posted their comments. You made it worthwhile!

I now have 12 months to get more Lps recorded, and cleaned and ready for next Christmas. I might add one to the blog here and there throughout the year, so check in every once and a while to see if something is new. It's never too early for Christmas music, is it?

Thanks again, everyone!