Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Christmas in July with My Merry Christmas!

Hi everyone!  Although here at Merry & Bright! we're not doing an official 'Christmas in July' thing, we fully support and appreciate those who do.  Our friends at My Merry Christmas do Christmas in July extremely well, and I'm happy to announce a partner event on Wednesday July 15.

I'll be online for a live chat with My Merry Christmas host Jeff Westover Wednesday July 15 from 6:00PM - 7:00PM Eastern time (5PM Central [Der Bingle time], 4PM Mountain, 3PM Pacific).  We'll be chatting about various Christmas topics and my blog for a bit, and then open it up for Q&A.  I hope you can join in!

Here's a link to the promo page - click for info:  https://mymerrychristmas.com/forum/threads/chat-with-aaron-henton-of-merry-bright.205565/

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Crate Digging with Ernie

So, back in early March, before the world shut down, I traveled to Florida to attend my daughter's national dance competition in Orlando.  We left on March 4, returned home on March 9, and then everything closed.  Had the competition been a week later it would not have been at all.  Apart from the cobbled-together (although very well done) graduation-related events, that competition was the last hurrah for my daughter's Senior year in high school.

Since I don't get to Florida often, I had been planning to meet Ernie of Ernie (Not Bert) fame, well known to (nearly, I'm sure) all the regular readers of this blog.  Ernie drove to Orlando from his side of Florida, and off we went in search of Christmas music treasures to unearth.  Der Bingle and Ernie, together, scouring the crates.  The Christmas music force was strong in central Florida that day.

First item on the agenda was lunch.  We found an empanada place near a giant thrift store, so went in there for some food.  The cafe workers spoke Spanish, Ernie and I did not.  But through pointing and a mutual understanding of "beef" and "cheese" we each got a delicious plate of empanada-type cuisine.

Then it was off to the crates.  We hit up, if I recall right, three thrift stores and three record stores that day.  The record store folks were all wonderful.  They may have looked at us a bit quizzically when we said we were after Christmas music, but they all accommodated.  One in particular, Retro Records, hauled out multiple crates full of Christmas albums and CDs for us.  Ernie and I each scored a few great additions for our collections there and in the other stores.  I held back a bit, knowing that I had to haul them all back in my luggage, but still came away with some great stuff.

I've (of course) listened to all the CDs.  "Antlers" by Melanie is the best of the lot - a really good Christmas record.  Dion's is pretty solid, too.  Really, all are good, though the "Twelve Songs of December" is a promotional mix with just a couple Christmas songs on it.  Was only a buck though, so, ya know....

And, just a few vinyl records, too, some as a "Welcome to Florida" gift from Ernie the Man himself.  If you look closely you'll see vinyl Christmas favorites Lester Lanin, Williams Brothers, Norman Luboff, and Giselle.  There's an album from Lou Monte,  Christmas in Zitherland, the Trapp Family Singers, and the Trappist Monks of Gethsemene.  A good haul, natch.

But the best part of the day was meeting Ernie, a brother in Christmas music, and hanging out, driving around, getting to know one another, and sharing Christmas music knowledge. Although, the Christmas music knowledge flow of information was heavily one-way - lemme tell you - Ernie knows his stuff.  It was a really great day.

At the end of the day Ernie dropped me off at Animal Kingdom Lodge where I met up with my wife and we feasted for an hour at Boma, the best buffet in the world.

I hope that someday I can return the favor to Ernie and show him around Kansas City and hit up the local record stores.

In some ways, because we were all quarantined with shelter-in-place orders only a few days later, this trip seems so very long ago.  But as Christmas music season approaches (well, it never really goes away) and I throw these records on the turntable, I've got some great memories to go along with the music.

Thanks Ernie!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Yawn...Stretch...What's Up 2020?

Yawn!  <smack> <smack>  streeeeetch.......

Coming out of hibernation here since New Year's Day...

<eye rub>

What's up 2020?




Hello my good readers.  There's no intent to downplay the serious stuff that has come our way in 2020.  I'm certain that everyone reading this has been impacted in some way by the Covid-19 pandemic and/or the protests triggered by the death of George Floyd. 

I sincerely hope that Covid-19 has been more of an adaptation than a tragedy for you.  My family and I have had to work from home, teach Kindergarten from home, and finish high school and college from home (graduations included).  My daughter who works in an autism services agency has continued to work with children in-office, without incident.  So we have adapted, and are thankful that the impact has been minimal.  I'll be working from home until after Labor Day, most likely, so the changes continue.

I know you don't come here for political opinion, but I want to share a brief word regarding the protests that are occurring nation and world-wide.  I do fully support Black Lives Matter and the peaceful yet passionate efforts for change that are occurring, and am saddened by the hostility brought to the protests by those who intend to do harm.  I invite your comments, whether you agree or disagree, as long as they are civil.  At my discretion I'll remove any comments that stray from reasonable discourse.

So - back to the usual stuff...

I'm waking up the blog just a bit here for the next few weeks.  Nothing major, no big Christmas in July extravaganzas or music sharing.  But I'll bring you up to date on a few Christmas-related items here and there, just to inject some of the ol' Spirit of the Season into our 2020 existence.

And, keep an eye out here for an announcement of a July online event featuring yours truly.  Nothing to change your vacation plans over, but it should be fun if you can join in.  More to come...

Thanks for reading - I hope that all of you are well.  Stay safe, and avoid the Murder Hornets.

Speaking of Murder Hornets, there's a little beastie called the Executioner Wasp whose sting makes the murder hornet feel like a drip of ice cream.  If you have some spare time and dig science, google the executioner wasp.  When you see its picture, remember that nature colors things yellow and stripey for a reason.  Cool stuff...

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone.  This will be (probably) the last post of the season.  As usual, my intentions exceeded capacity this season, so there are things left undone and put into storage for next year.  Fortunately, Christmas music is timeless, and a song or an album aged one year more doesn't lose any of the joy we as Christmas music fans can experience from it.

I owe the awesome band Make Like Monkeys a full article - that is a priority feature for 2020.

Covering more of Ren Geisick's Christmas music is a must.

I intended to review Wynton Marsalis' Big Band Holidays II, and excellent 2019 release, but it didn't happen.  2020 list - added.

And several artists who sent me info were, fortunately, covered at the other great Christmas Music blogs, notably the Sons of Old Town Collective, who released Vol 3 of their Christmas Extravaganza.  Thanks to Christmas a Go Go for their feature.

Finally, tips of the hat to all the other Christmas bloggers whose sites I frequent as often as possible during the season (and more often than not, after the season):

Ernie (Not Bert)
Tim Neely's Christmas Songs of the Day
Christmas Underground
Hip Christmas
Christmas a Go Go
Christmas TV History  (TV, not music, but an absolute fave site)

And a special nod to the site that started all this for me, by the man himself The King of Jingaling FaLaLaLaLa.com and the Fa's Festive Forums.

And a final salute to Stubby, whose House of Christmas is in retirement, but who kept us in the know about so many new releases and old favorites through the Fa.  Well done sir!

Until the next post...  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Aaron Henton  (Der Bingle)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

It's as far from a White Christmas as it gets for Kansas City this year.  As I'm writing this, it's 65 degrees.  The record high for Christmas is 67, so we may set a new record before the day is through.  I prefer my Christmases in the 20s, but the nice weather has its advantages.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Happy Christmas Eve!

Happy Christmas Eve to everyone!

We have a few extra things going on this Christmas Eve in the Bingle household.  I'm making a batch of kolaches to have on Christmas Day (assuming they are not all devoured today).  It's a time-consuming task, with having to allow the dough to raise three times, but it's all worth it.  Daughter Becca Bingle is making a Yule Log cake, by request of her grandmother.  She baked the cake this morning, but it broke so she turned it into cake Yule Lads and Ladies, and will re-do the log cake later today.

Then it's off to church, followed by dinner at Alex Bingle's house, and the annual tradition of watching "A Christmas Story".  Then home to await the arrival of you know who.  With the youngest Bingle being 18, some of the excitement has evolved and changed form, but some traditions should never completely fade away.

As for the blog, as always my intentions exceeded available time.  There are things left completely undone, but fortunately they can wait until next year.  I'll be back here over the next few days to wrap things up.  Here's wishing you a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Final Shares of the Season

Today I'm sharing out the last for this year.  I'll be back with a few more posts, but this is it for the vintage music for the 2019 season.  I have two more singles for you today.

First is "White Christmas" by the Honeydreamers featuring Jack Russell as soloist.  (I wonder if he went on to become a successful dog breeder...)  This is on the Peter Pan Records label and was a whopping 25 cents when issued.  "White Christmas" is backed by "Adeste Fideles".

"White Christmas" single download link

And second today is "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth", backed by "The Snowflake Song" from The Cricketone Chorus and Orchestra on the Cricket Records label.  Just judging by the artwork, this one is maybe a 1970's release.  Still a bargain at 29 cents :-)

"All I Want for Christmas" single download link