Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas - The Living Strings

One more in the series of 'Living' albums, and perhaps the last post this year, here's The Spirit of Christmas by The Living Strings. This one might be the most shared Christmas album on the planet, I'm not exactly sure. But since I recorded the album for myself, I thought I should share it here too.

It's up to the usual standards of the series with nice arrangements by composer Johnny Douglas, who is most notable to this child of the '80s as a regular contributing composer on animated series like Transformers and G.I. Joe. Before all that Saturday morning magic, Douglas arranged a few of the Living albums, including the more recent vintage (if you consider 1974 recent) The Christmas Songbook for The Living Voices.

Notable interpretations include Harry Belafonte's hit "Mary's Boy Child", which stands out from this traditional orchestral pack due to it's strong Calypso-flavour. The medley "We Wish You A Merry Christmas / We Three Kings / It Came Upon A Midnight Clear / O Holy Night / Silent Night" could very well set the record for most Christmas tunes performed in under five minutes. Check out the sweetly warm sax in "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" mashing up with a reprise of the Calypso percussion from "Mary's Boy Child" for a study in Johnny Douglas' deft skills as an arranger.

Hey! Did you know this album is now available to purchase? Yes, that's right, Dulcima Records, dedicated to releasing the music of arranger Johnny Douglas, has released 'The Spirit of Christmas', 'White Christmas' and 'A Christmas Songbook' on a 2-CD set.

Click here to order now!

I'd like to thank everyone that has visited Hi-Fi Holiday, downloaded an album and posted a comment. The comments this year have been especially gratifying.

I sincerely wish you a safe and Merry Christmas and hope the New Year brings better times for all. I'll see you next year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Best-Loved Carols of Christmas - Nelson Eddy

Christmas music blogs are a wonderful thing. There's a handful of really great ones that dig deep each year by taking the time to restore and share some great LPs that were once lost to time. If there's a downside, it's that these great blogs have posted some great stuff I'd planned to share! I'm not going to ask them to stop -- just the opposite. But that's enough whining, it's almost Christmas, so let's get some cheer going. Here's something I hope you'll enjoy, Nelson Eddy Sings The Best-Loved Carols of Christmas.

Unfortunately the Harmony/Columbia LP does not include info on recording date, or the orchestra and singers that accompany Eddy's baritone (though I believe this might be a straight re-issue of Eddy's 1951 Christmas album Songs of Christmas).