Friday, October 17, 2008

Wishing You A Merry Christmas - Johnny Cole and His Chorus

Johnny Cole (aka Johnny Kaye, aka The Voices of Christmas, aka...!) must have been a workhorse for Crown Records. Under a number of guises he churned out a handful of Christmas albums for the label , including Wishing You A Merry Christmas. All while while channeling his very best Perry Como.

On Wishing You..., Johnny's sleepy tone is backed by his enthusiastic chorus. It's not the pinnacle of the Christmas music art form (kind of like the cover art - quaint, chintz), but there are some goodies, like "Jingle Bells", with slip-sliding choral harmonies and jaunty organist accompaniment. Though thinking about it, it's hard to do "Jingle" wrong.

I'm not sure what particular vintage this pressing of Wishing You A Merry Christmas is, as it appears another Johnny Cole album with the same name (but different contents and cover) was released by Crown Records in 1959. You can grab it at Christmas Forever.

If you like what you hear, download the remastered tracks with a subscription or free trial from

Merry Christmas - The Mills Brothers

We're rolling now. It's Fall, the temperature is dropping (at least here it is) and it's time to start posting some albums. I've been waiting all summer for this!

First up is Merry Christmas by The Mills Brothers. 12 familiar favorite songs all performed with emphasis on the Mills' vocal stylings, with minimal accompaniment (organ, chimes, harp). Highlights include "O Holy Night" (when isn't it a highlight?), "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas". The Mills Bros. have soft, light voices -- perfect for the material. Great stuff too to put on later in the evening, when all the Christmas hub-bub has you beat, put this on and relax!

Originally issued on LP in 1959 (from which this recording is sourced from), it was later re-issued on DOT in the '60s and Pickwick in the '70s. Universal Special Products re-issued the same contents on CD in 1993. That CD is now way-out-of-print (that's worse than just out-of-print) and used copies go for big bucks ($70) on Short version: Merry Christmas is otherwise unavailable. So I hope my LP recording will provide some relief while you track down a copy of the CD... Paying $70 for it.