Thursday, December 18, 2014

Music for Christmas at Home

Tonight's share is "Music for Christmas at Home" by The Somerset Strings.  This is one of those albums of pleasing Christmas music with a cool album cover.  Looks like there's Grandma, Mom, Dad, two of the young men in the family on Christmas leave from the military, a girlfriend (or maybe sister and her boyfriend), and the two young children.  A fireplace, presents, a Christmas tree, and an angel overlooking all from the treetop.  A great scene.

The music here is pretty good.  The record was a little rough, but I did the best I could to clean up the tracks.  Mostly old favorites here.  Nice notes on the back cover.

And, please notice the album that had to be a big hit for The Somerset Strings, advertised on the back cover: "Music for Washing and Ironing".  Oh, if I could only find that one at a thrift store...

For your listening pleasure, "Music for Christmas at Home"

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Disco

I know you're out there.  Somewhere out there is a reader saying "Why oh why doesn't Der Bingle share some Christmas Disco?"  Well friends, wait no more.  Here it is - "Christmas Noel", as performed by MirrorImage.  What's the difference between 'performed by' and 'as performed by'?  I don't know.  Perhaps a copy writer paid by the word?  A little extra for the 'as'?   Just semantics, I suppose, as the phrase goes.

Anyway, here are 9 disco-ing versions of Christmas favorites, including "Sleigh Ride", "Jingle Bells", "Jingle Bell Rock".  You can probably guess the other 6 without trying too hard.

Unfortunately, the Disco Dance Step Lesson promised on the album cover was not included with the record.  To make up for the missing insert, here is a link to, which has instructions on all the, uh, hippest(?) disco dance steps known to man and beast.  I invite all readers to learn some groovy moves, record yourself dancing to Disco Noel, upload to YouTube, and provide a link in the comments.  C'mon.  You know you want to do it.  C'mon.....

Please enjoy "Disco Noel"

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

One Last Contest: Bruce Bergh CD Giveaway

I have one final CD giveaway for this season.  I have two copies of Bruce Bergh's 2013 Christmas release "Christmas Time of the Year" to send out to two lucky winners.

"Christmas Time of the Year" is an album of 10 original songs by Bruce, including both a live and a studio version of the title track, which has been featured in the Hallmark Channel movie "Snow Bride" and the Lifetime movie "Christmas in the City". The album is quite enjoyable - Mr. Bergh is a talented songwriter and musician.  The songs, including "A Christmas Together", "It's the Jingle of the Bells", and "A Personal Santa", explore a variety of styles, and are filled with the spirit of the Christmas season.  I always have a great respect for musicians who release Christmas albums of their own songs, eschewing the draw of the standards and taking a risk with the unfamiliar for their audience.  Bruce's record is a fine collection.  More information, and how to purchase the CD, can be found on Bruce's Bandcamp site.

Now for the giveaway details.  I am giving away copies of "Christmas Time of the Year" to the first two readers who e-mail me with "Bruce Bergh Giveaway" in the subject line and the name of Bruce's 2014 Valentine's Day release in the e-mail.  The name of the CD can be found on Bruce's website.

Hurry and enter!

Bruce Bergh website

Contest rules:

Contest rules:
1.  No purchase necessary.  I don't sell anything, so this is easy.
2.  One entry per e-mail address please.  Multiple entries from the same e-mail will be disqualified.
3.  I will identify the winner in this blog by first name and city of residence, like "Bob from Toluca Lake, CA".
4.  I will not disclose the winner's e-mail address or other personal information.
5.  Bruce Bergh has provided the CDs for the contest as a promotional giveaway.
6.  Please do not make unauthorized copies of the CD to give away.  Support the artist with legal music purchases.
7.  All contest rules, decisions, and actions are under the sole discretion of the author of this blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Real Pro at Christmas Organ Music

George H. Pro, that is (nyuk nyuk).  (Apologies right away to Mr. Pro for the terrible pun).

I found the record "Outburst of Joy at Christmas" at a local thrift store this year and, as it was in pretty good shape, paid my dollar and went merrily on my way.  Fast forward to ripping for sharing time, and I looked at it and thought "yet another organ music record" and almost decided to skip it.  Then I looked at the back cover and saw that George H. Pro was a local Kansas City guy.  Well, then I couldn't pass it up - I had to rip and share.  Especially after all the glowing reviews on the back cover, from the University of Kansas Professor Emeritus of Organ (really!), from the Minister of Music at the KC, MO First Baptist Church, and from the Vocal Music Director of KC, KS Public Schools (yes folks, we have a Kansas City, Missouri as well as a Kansas City, Kansas in these parts).

So, I ripped the record and have it here for you tonight.  And let me tell you, on my honor, this is probably the best record of Christmas Organ music I have ever heard.  It is strictly Mr. Pro solo on mostly Christmas standards, but he plays with an energy and power that exceeds all other Christmas organ albums.  Side 1 (tracks 1-8) are good, very enjoyable, and expertly performed.  The tracks on Side 2 seem to really pick it up, though.  The performances of "In Dulci Jubilo", "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring", and "Jesu Bambino" are an excellent trio of traditional spiritual songs.

Then it gets interesting.  "Noel in D Minor" will catch your attention.  Rarely heard (at least by me), this is a great selection for a powerful organist in total command of his instrument.  But then comes "Outburst of Joy".  Let's talk about "Outburst of Joy".  When I was ripping the record, my 16 year old son asked "Is this Christmas music?  Sounds like Halloween.".  And indeed, if there was ever a 'Phantom of the Opera Christmas Opus', here it is in the form of "Outburst of Joy" by Messiaen.  "Outburst of Joy" is a loud, powerful, energetic piece for an organ maestro.  It may not sound like a typical Christmas song, but man is it full of glory!  Mr. Pro should be proud of this record, and of "Outburst of Joy" in particular.  You have to hear it, dear readers.  Please download, listen, and comment.

So, please enjoy "Outburst of Joy at Christmas" by George H, Pro.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Heart Contest Second Prize Winners!

Tomorrow I'll get another share out, I promise...  The Hectic Season is here.....

But tonight - we have surprise Second Prize Winners in the Heart CD Contest! The fine people at Miles High Productions have provided two additional Christmas CDs for the readers of Merry and Bright.  And so...drumroll....Pa rum pa pah pum....

Jeff from Chattanooga!

wins a copy of Bunny Sigler's "When You're In Love AT Christmas Time", and 

Lyndse from Red Oak, TX!

wins a copy of Margo Rey's EP "This Holiday Night"

Bunny Sigler's album is some smoooooove R&B Christmas tunes from a legendary master of the music biz.  Great vocals and superb arrangements of classic and original Christmas songs are sure to please any Christmas music lover.

"When You're In Love At Christmas Time" on Amazon
Also available at other fine purveyors of Christmas albums.

Margo Rey's EP will leave you wanting more.  Margo has an oustanding jazz voice, luscious even.  The title track, "This Holiday Night" is an original song written by Margo Rey and Barrett Yeretsian.  Completing the EP are Margo's takes on the classics "Toyland" and "Silent Night".  

"This Holiday Night" on Amazon
Also available at other fine purveyors of Christmas albums.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Heart Contest Winner and An NYC Christmas Encounter

Hello all! Two quick things tonight after my return from NYC and a weekend of Christmas to the right, to the left, and all around, everywhere.  First, the winner of the Heart CD/DVD is...

Nick from Zanesville, Ohio!

Congrats Nick!  

Second, look who I met in New York:

That's right - Miss Christmas in the City herself, Elizabeth Chan!  What a great time it was to meet and talk to Elizabeth during the trip.  In addition to being the most dedicated Christmas music artist in the world, she is truly a sweetheart! 

More to come...still catching up from the weekend...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sounds of Christmas with the Foggy River Boys

Tonight's share, before scooting off to New York City for some Christmastime immersion that only The Big Apple can provide, is "Sounds of Christmas" by The Foggy River Boys.

The Foggy River Boys you hear on this record are the incarnation that set up shop in Branson, MO in the early 1970's.  They were one of the first entertainers to open a theater on Highway 76, just a few years after The Baldknobbers.  The Foggy River Boys were pioneers of the Ozark music theater experience, which now consumes Highway 76 with miles of countrified tourist attractions.

"Sounds of Christmas" is quite enjoyable.  It's not too twangy, has just a touch of corniness, and features tight harmonies and very pleasant singing.  Think of the sound of a really good barbershop quartet, add a spoonful of Grand Ol' Opry, and then mix in some talented soloists, and you've got it.

The record is mainly familiar standards, performed quite well,  A favorite of mine is "Old Fashioned Christmas", an original song written by lead singer Bob Hubbard.  It is well worth discovery and cover by other artists.

Branson usually isn't really my thing, but this is a well-produced and very enjoyable addition to my (and now your) Christmas music collection.

Enjoy "Sounds of Christmas" by The Foggy River Boys

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