Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An Enchanted End to the Sharing Season

Christmas Eve!  The clock is ticking toward our traditional Christmas holiday family festivities.  Dinner at Mom's.  Church.  Home for the evening, watching "A Christmas Story".  Then to bed, awaiting Christmas morning.  We will have a White Christmas here at the Bingle's in Kansas City.  A snowstorm on Saturday night followed by a cold front has left the snow for us to enjoy on Christmas Day.

For you, my readers, I have what I believe to be the most interesting, certainly the most eclectic, share of the season, "Enchanted Carols" from the Saydisc label in the UK.  "Enchanted Carols" features songs performed on Street Piano, Roller Barrel Organ, Orpheus Disc Piano, Handbell Choir, Music Box, a Brass Band, and the Bells of St. Mary Redcliffe in Bristol.  What a collection!

There are traditional favorites such as "Good King Wenceslas", "Jingle Bells", and "O Come All Ye Faithful".  There are also songs that we don't hear as often, like "Down in Yon Forest", "A Virgin Most Pure", and "See Amidst the Winter Snow" (as part of a carol medley).

Just for fun, I included a scan of the inserts in the album cover.  They aren't directly related to the record, but I thought you might enjoy them.

So, with "Enchanted Carols", I conclude another season of sharing Christmas Music with you.  As I've prepared the shares this year, I've found that many more Christmas recordings of the past are now available in digital format.  That's both good and bad.  Good because they have been remastered with excellent sound quality.  Bad because it limits what I can share.  Still, I hope that you have all enjoyed the music this year.

Merry Christmas!

"Enchanted Carols" download link

Monday, December 23, 2013

Truly a Joyous Record

According to the album notes on the back cover, "The Pop Christmas Melodies" is just that - truly a joyous Christmas record.

I was quite amused by the album notes on this record.  While I praised the writer of the album info on the last share from George Wright, I can't heap quite as many kudos for this one.  Although, for sheer amusement, this isn't bad. 

"In America, Christmas is the big holiday..."

"Carols are sung at Christmas season as they are joyous and happy."

"The date, December 25th, was probably picked as it was closest to January 6th (Epiphany)."

Oh well - the writer didn't have Google to help way back when.  So, Rondo Record Corporation album note writer, I wish you many Season's Greetings!

Oh, about the record...  "The Pop Christmas Melodies" featuring the Popular Players' Orchestra, is a record of pretty good Christmas music.  Pretty much standard stuff, arranged and performed quite competently.  I particularly like the inclusion of "Little Jack Frost", as it's the one that isn't in the upper tier of the Christmas music canon, although we all know it well.

I dig the artwork on the cover too.  As my teenagers say, very retro.

The rips here have some noise.  The record was in rough shape, so there is some fuzz here and there that I couldn't remove.  But, it cleaned up enough to be a nice addition to the season.

Please enjoy "The Pop Christmas Melodies"

download link

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Would Christmas Be...

... without a Christmas Organ record?

Well, fear not, fret little, and rejoice heartily!  Here today I have for you "Merry Christmas" by George Wright playing a selection of Christmas songs on the Wurlitzer Pipe Organ and the New York Paramount Theatre.

The notes on the back of the album cover are quite descriptive, setting the mood, describing the mighty Wurlitzer organ, informing us about the percussion instruments heard in accompaniment, and even providing technical details about the recording.  Kudos to the copy writer for Hi Fidelity Recordings.

This is really good album of Christmas music.  To me, it stands in the upper tier of albums of organ music, primarily because of the song selections.  There are some old standards like "Jingle Bells", "White Christmas", "Deck the Halls" and others.  But there are also some others that won't be commonly found, or, in the case of "Holly", Mr. Wright's own composition, anywhere else.  "The Little Red Monkey" is a piece of Christmas mischief, perhaps even better suited on a Halloween album.  The album closes with "Christmas Fantasy", a lengthy arrangement featuring themes from many Christmas songs expertly arranged and blended, a fitting finale to a really nice record.

For your pre-Christmas Sunday, here is "Merry Christmas" by George Wright.

download link

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jillaine Returns!

Our friends Stubby and Ken Kessler first let all of us Christmas Music lovers know tht Jillaine's third Christmas album, "Jazzy Christmas To You III" had become available.  Many thanks to them for this exciting announcement.  I just want to do my part to promote Jillaine, our favorite jazz singer and performer-extraordinaire of Christmas music.

Jillaine's third Christmas album in three years arrived in the mail here at the Bingle house a couple days ago - huzzah!  With Christmas looming, I don't know if I'll get  full review written before the big day, but it's safe to say that this record will be as amazing as the first two.  What a singer, what an interpreter of Christmas songs.

Jillaine artist site

Amazon link  (Jillaine says pay no attention to the 'out of stock' message - order it and it will be delivered)


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas in Germany

It's getting close to Christmas Day, and I have a few more records to share out for you.  The number of albums is less this year than in seasons past, but I hope you have enjoyed them all.

Tonight's share is "Am Weihnachtsbaum die Lichter brennen".  It's a German Christmas record featuring Erika Koth and Kenneth Spencer.  A German record, made in Germany, with all German album cover text.  If any of you readers speak German and can help us with some context, that would be great. 


Beautiful cover, eh?

Even though I don't speak German, I can certainly appreciate good Christmas music.  Some of the songs are well known, such as "Stille Nacht", "O Tannenbaum", and "Still, still, still".   Even old favorite "Adeste fidelis" appears.

There are a couple things you should know about the rip.  First, the performances are pretty much continuous, with breaks that are difficult to discern.  So, I decided to keep the flow intact, and have provided these as two tracks, Side 1 and Side 2.  Second, the rip is a bit rough in spots, so there is a little more noise than usual.  Still, it's quite enjoyable music for the season.

Please enjoy "Am Weihnachtsbaum die Lichter brennen"

download link

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Annual Music Box Share

One thing I've discovered since hitting the thrift shops in search of Christmas records is that there are a lot of music box recordings.  I think this will be the 3rd year in a row I've shared out an album of Christmas Music Box songs.  Hmmm.... I've added a couple of the German Christmas Carousels (like in "Christmas Vacation", only smaller) to my Christmas decorations this year.  Maybe I need to be on the lookout for an honest-to-goodness Christmas Music Box.

This year's share is "Christmas Music Box Favorites" from the Paul Eakins Gay Nineties Village collection, from (when the album was made) Sikeston, Missouri.  The Gay Nineties is, or was, according to the album a "mecca of fun".  I can't speak for the Village itself, but the music on this record is a whole lotta fun.

These music boxes seem to produce more complex tunes than my previous shares.  There is a lot going on here musically - runs, rhythmic counters to the melodies, and quite complex song structures.  There is also the noise that the music boxes produce while playing - some knocks and whirrs - but I think that adds to the nostalgia and authenticity of the experience.

One of these days maybe I'll produce a 'best of' Music Box collection.  But not this year :-)

For tonight, I bring you "Christmas Music Box Favorites".

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