Friday, December 24, 2010

Season's Greetings and Thanks

It's Christmas Eve morning, and the official countdown to the holiday festivities is about to start.  We'll be attending Mass later today, followed by a Christmas Eve dinner at Mom's place, then we'll settle in for the evening and get the children off to bed.  Watching an old Bing Crosby Christmas Special is highly likely :-)

I'd like to say thanks to all my readers this Christmas season, and I hope you've enjoyed the music that I've shared.  Please stop by during the 'off season', as I intend to post some non-holiday music from some favorite artists.  Check in now and again for some good stuff.

Thanks to the other Christmas music sites who have linked to me - we have a great little virtual community here.

Thanks to Santas Working Overtime - man, I don't know how you keep up....

Special thanks to Ernie, Stubby, and the King of Jingaling for their inspiration and support, and their tireless work to bring Christmas music to the world via the Internet. 

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Morning in Kansas City

I don't know if this snow will make it to tomorrow for a White Christmas, but it's very pretty outside this Christmas Eve morning.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Sharing Finale pt 2

The last share of this season is the 1963 record "The Life Treasury of Christmas Music".  It is subtitled "A Supplement to the Life Book of Christmas".  I don't have the book, just the record, but it's a very worthwhile addition to anyone's Christmas music collection.

The contents of the record are divided into three "Volumes".  Volume One is "The Glory of Christmas", including tracks 1-8.  Volume Two is "The Pageantry of Christmas" on tracks 9-15,  and Volume Three is "The Merriment of Christmas" with tracks 16-19.  I've included both front and back here on the post this time, and they are also in the zip file.

No modern pop Christmas songs here.  Instead, these are some beautiful renditions of both traditional carols and selections that are not so commonly heard.  The woodcut artwork on the cover sets the mood and theme for this collection of songs. 

Please enjoy The Life Treasury of Christmas Music as you count down the remaining days in this Christmas season.

2010 Sharing Finale pt 1

I'm going to close out the 2010 Christmas sharing season today with a couple very fine records.  First up is "Merry Christmas in Carols", Organ and Chimes music by Robert Rheims.  My album is in mono, and was released in 1958.  It has a great album cover, enhanced by shiny gold leaf. And, best of all, the record itself is on groovy red vinyl!  My album cover has some wear and damage, but you'll be able to see how perfectly 50's Christmas it is.

 There are 12 tracks on the record, and several of them are mini-medleys of two songs each.

1.   Adeste Fideles
2.   Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
3.   God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/From Every Spire on Christmas Eve
4.   The First Noel/Joy to the World
5.   Deck the Halls/The Christmas Chimes are Pealing
6.   Away in a Manger/I Saw Three Ships
7.   Silent Night
8.   I Little Town of Bethlehem
9.   Good King Wenceslas/Angels We Have Heard on High
10. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear/O Christmas Tree
11. We Three Kings of Orient Are/I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
12. O Holy Night

Pretty good selection of tunes.  Please enjoy Robert Rheims' "Merry Christmas in Carols"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Holidays at Radio City Music Hall

Best album cover ever.

For Sunday, December the 19th, I am pleased to share the 1958 record "Christmas Holidays at Radio City Music Hall". 

I am a big fan of the Radio City Christmas program.  I've been fortunate enough to see their touring group twice here in Kansas City, and I have a couple CDs, one the music from the show, the other featuring the Rockettes singing Christmas songs.  One item on my bucket list is to see the show in NYC (hopefully just a year away...). 

I was able to obtain this record a few weeks ago, as an addition to my (very small) RCMH collection.  It's a  beauty of a record, and the music is outstanding.  This album was recorded in March, 1958 at Radio City Music Hall, under the direction of Raymond Paige.  It features Dick Leibert on the Grand Organ, and, of course, the Rockettes!

There are only 7 tracks on the album (a track list image is included in the zip file).

Included in the album is a 10-page booklet with stories and information about the program, and many wonderful pictures.  Unfortunately, at this time I can't share them out.  My home scanner won't quite manage it without risking damage, because the booklet is attached to the fold-out album sleeve.  I'll work on it, and will repost here if I can successfully get the booklet scanned too.  But I wanted to get the music shared out before the 2010 season ends.

So for now, enjoy the music and album cover from Christmas at Radio City, 1958.

download link

Readers Write

Back on an earlier post, a reader submitted a link to a version of "Sleigh Ride" performed by George Cates with vocals by The Heartbeats.  Per the reader, George Cates was Lawrence Welk's arranger and producer.  The source of the share is a 1950 78rpm record.  Thanks to the reader who submitted it, and in case anyone missed it in the comments back in November, here's a link to the file:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Christmas Album by Bobby Vee

It's the Saturday before Christmas, and I still have a few shares to post.  Hope to get a couple out tomorrow.  Now that the shopping is done and the candy is made, I have a bit more free time.

Tonight's share is "The Christmas Album" by Bobby Vee with the Johnny Mann Singers.  This is a stereo 1967 release.  Track list is as follows:

White Christmas
Silent Night
Silver Bells
My Christmas Love
(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays
Winter Wonderland
Blue Christmas
I'll Be Home for Christmas
Jingle-Bell Rock
A Not So Merry Christmas

So, mostly standards with a couple lesser-known tunes for your listening pleasure. 

Working on a last-week-before-Christmas rip of another album concurrently with this post, so I'll keep the text short.  Enjoy!

<link removed>

Friday, December 17, 2010

Check - Good - OK

Ok, tonight's share is really more for the back cover than the music.  This is "Zenith presents Chistmas A Gift of Music Vol. 3".  The song and artist selections are pretty decent.  The record itself was not in too great a shape.  But what I liked was the notes inked in on the back cover.  Checkmark, I presume, means the best songs, according to the original owner.  "Good" is probably the next level, followed by "ok".  It's one more level of critique than Siskel and Ebert gave us.

Oh, and, you'll note that "O Tannenbaum" by The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra is "a little loud".

Love the notes on these records :-)

I probably should have removed a couple of the highly available songs from the zip file, but I decided to leave them.  It's likely that most of the visitors here already have Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald, and the audio quality here just ain't that superb.  I'm sharing this more for the fun of the cover than the tunes.  If there's a song that you're dying for a clean version of, let me know and I'll work on the individual track.

Here it is - Volume 3 from Zenith. 

Download link

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lots of Music, No Artwork

Tonight's share is "The Glory of Christmas", a 3-record box set produced by Columbia Musical Treasuries in the 1960s.    Here's all I know about it.  Its album number is P3S 5363.  Its executive producer was Betsy Cohen.  Ron Lockhart was the producer, and Frank Decker was the engineer.  It was recorded in TotalSound, which sounds very exciting.  There are no musicians listed anywhere.  Another Christmas Mystery.

What I can tell you is that it's a good, diverse selection of Christmas music - 48 songs in all.  Secular, traditional carols, religious hyms - all here.  Ultra-popular ("White Christmas").  Lesser known ("When Christmas Comes", "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine").  A grand collection of music.

About the artwork.  The records came in a box set, and, honestly, I can't fit the box cover in my scanner.  It's not a great loss, as the cover is not in very good shape. 

So, here's a download link to a set of 48 Christmas Songs in A Columbia Musical Treasury.  Enjoy!

download link

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Truth or Consequences Christmas Show

Tonight's post is a rare occasion, in that it did not come from my personal record collection.  This is a public domain radio program recording that I downloaded from a free radio site.  More on that later.

This share is a radio broadcast of "Truth or Consequences" hosted by Ralph Edwards.  I believe it was originally broadcast on December 20, 1947.  And, I'm tellin' ya folks, this is a great, great program.  The main part of the program, featuing a hospitalized soldier playing the Truth or Consequences game, begins 10 or 12 minutes into the broadcast.  You won't regret downloading and listening to this.

Truth or Consequences Christmas

Really.  Download and listen to this.  Remove extraneous noise from your surroundings.  Dim the lights.  Have a tissue ready.

Now, some notes about the source.  I originally downloaded this from, where the webmaster claimed this was "the BEST Christmas radio program ever recorded".  (I agree).  Here is a site link to their list of Christmas radio free downloads:  Oldtimeradiofans Christmas  There are many other terrific programs available here.  If you like what you hear, please send a donation to the webmaster.

While I'm on the subject of Christmas radio, Relic Radio is another radio program site I visit often.  Programs of all genres are available for download there.  They do a great job of cleaning up the old broadcasts.  Mystery, horror, drama, comedy, and, yes, Christmas programs abound at Relic Radio.  Again, if you like what you hear, send them a donation to help with site costs.  Relic Radio Christmas

Many shout-outs to the folks that run these sites.  They are as big a part in preserving our audio history as the Christmas sharity gang...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two from Hallmark

It's been another busy weekend for Der Bingle.  Christmas shopping, candy making (the English Toffee gods were of joyful spirit and allowed two batches of perfect toffee), youth basketball games, and repairing a dog fence in 10 degree weather.  So, here it is Sunday night, and I'm just getting to sharing some music.

I have two albums from Hallmark Cards, "The Best Loved Christmas Carols", from 1985, and "Songs for the Holidays", from 1987.  According to the album cover, the 1985 release was Hallmark's first Christmas music album.  It features the London Symphony Orchestra performing twelve traditional Christmas Carols.

"Songs for the Holidays", the 1987 release, again features the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, as well as soloists Peter Hofmann (tenor) and Deborah Sasson (soprano).

These are exceptional recordings, meeting the high standards one expects from Hallmark.  Hallmark is a major presence here in Kansas City, privately owned by the Hall family.  Christmas is a very special season for Hallmark.  Hall's department store here in the heart of the city features many elaborately decorated Christmas trees throughout their store - well worth a visit.

How about a 1986 album?  I have it as well, but found it very recently and have not had a chance to rip it yet.  I hope to share it out this year.  If not, it'll be here next season.

For your listening enjoyment, Hallmark's "Best Loved Christmas Carols" and "Songs for the Holidays".

Carols download link

Songs download link

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bentley High School Concert Choir

Tonight I bring you the first of two partial shares, for two different reasons.  This share, "Christmas with the Bentley Concert Choir 1976-77" is a record I found here in Kansas City in a thrift shop.  At the time I thought I could share it, and then someone from the concert choir would find it online, and it would make their day! and they would tell all of their friends, and the world would be a happier place.  And then I started to research the record and I found that there is a Bentley Concert Choir website offering CDs of this record for sale.  Bittersweet, of course, that the CD is there for those who want it, but I can't share it for the internet community.

Then I listened to the record, and the music is fantastic.  It's hard to believe that this is a high school choir.  It's so, so good, and I believe that the Christmas music lovers of the world will enjoy it.

I tried to contact the choir alumni via the e-mail on the website, but there was no reply.  So I've decided to share out four songs from the record, sharing since it is not commercially available, and limiting the number of songs out of respect for the work of the choir alumni to make the record available.  If I'm asked to remove the share, I'll do that.  But this music is really worth appreciation by a wider audience.  And if you like what you hear, you can go the the Bentley Concert Choir website and order up a CD.

Looks like Bentley High School (Livonia, Michigan) has been closed since 1985, but their legacy of excellent music lives on.  The choir's love and admiration of their director, Dr. Jerry Smith, is apparent on the choir website.  And the musical achievement Dr. Smith was able to draw out of these students is amazing.  Please enjoy a sample of the Bentley High School Concert Choir.

download link

Bentley Concert Choirs site link

Vintage Christmas

A quick post this morning.  Here are a few pictures from Christmases in the house of Der Bingle in the mid 1960's.  These are probably in the 1965 - 1968 time frame.  Dig that crazy Christmas tree!  Check out that groovy floor lamp!

I definitely remember putting up this Christmas tree for a few years.  We replaced it with a lifelike artifical green tree sometime in the early '70s.  I don't remember if we disposed of this one then, or if it was lost in an outbuilding fire we had in 1977.  Anyway, it is no more, and exists only in these and a few other pictures.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Small Miracle by Peter Collington

Without a doubt, "A Small Miracle" by Peter Collington is my favorite Christmas book.  Without words, Peter Collington tells the story of a Christmastime miracle that comes to an old woman.  The story unfolds though Mr. Collington's wonderful artwork.

Through many "readings" of this book, I found new details each time, adding to the beauty and depth of the story.  There are parts where the reader must imagine what happened off the page, completing the tale.

A Small MiracleBest of all, when my children were younger and not yet reading, they could tell me the story.  It became a favorite part of each Christmas season, having the youngest children read the book and tell me the story that they were seeing.

This is a simply a beautiful and moving book.

I was fortunate to get this book when it was first published, based on a local newspaper review.  Now, on Amazon it is only available in the seller marketplace, and is quite pricey.  Still, if you happen across this in a used book store or other book market, grab it.  You'll enjoy it for many Christmases to come.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kostelanetz Tuesday

The share for tonight is "Joy to the World: Music for Christmas" by Andre Kostelanetz' Orchestra and Chorus, featuring Earl Wrightson, Baritone.  My record is Harmony/Columbia HS 11232, a re-release of the Columbia stereo record CS 1528.  According to Tim Neely's "Goldmine Christmas Record Price Guide", this record was first released in 1959 and re-released in the 1970s.  

The Kostelanetz Orchestra and Chorus perform a number of secular ("White Christmas"), spiritual ("O Come, All Ye Faithful"), and classical ("Sugar Plum Fairy Interlude") songs, and the performances are magnificent (in my humble opinion).  "Sleigh Ride" is one of my favorite Christmas songs, performed in thousands of ways by thousands of artists, and here Andre Kostelanetz gives us a masterful interpretation.  One of the best I've heard.

A brief technical note:  most of my shares were ripped before I learned about ClickRepair, and the time just isn't there for me to re-rip (may be a future re-mastering opportunity).  I did re-record this album, though, and used ClickRepair to clean it up.  I'd like your feedback.  I know some of my shares are a little click/noise heavy, coming from time limitations and not wanting to crank Audacity noise/click removal up too high. 

I hope you enjoy Andre Kostelanetz' "Joy to the World".

download link

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Share: Johnny Kay with Al Goodman and his Orchestra

Been a busy weekend for Der Bingle.  Finishing up the Christmas decorating, children's basketball games and practices, teaching teenage daughter to drive (shudder...).  Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year, because.... it's fruitcake night!  Yes indeed - it's time to make the fruitcakes.  I like 'em.  Some of my friends like 'em.  The children - not so much.

So, before opening the candied fruit, brandy, walnuts, brandy, spices, brandy, and some brandy, I'll post some music out for you.

 Here's Johnny Kay with Al Goodman and his Orchestra on the Diplomat album "Night Before Christmas".  This is a nice collection of songs done very well by Johnny, Al, and the gang.  Included are some of the usual standards, plus some that are less frequently encountered, such as "When Santa Claus Gets Your Letter" and "Ring Out Wild Bells".

For your Sunday evening listening pleasure, Johnny Kay and the Al Goodman Orchestra.

Now, time to make the fruitcake!

download link

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Card-n-Song

I'm thrilled to bring you tonight's share - this may be my best find of the season. This is a "Card-n-Song" by the Mulcays, on Cardinal Records from 1954. This was produced here in Kansas City and must have never strayed far from home, as I found it at Earwaxx, my favorite local used record store.

Looks like the idea here was a record inside a Christmas card, to send to your family, friends, colleagues, etc. Must have been intended for in-person giving only, and not to send through the mail (although I'll bet some did get sent through the USPS). Hmmmm.... giving Christmas songs to family and friends...sounds like what we do when we give out copies of our annual Christmas comps...  What progressive thinking by Cardinal Records!

The record and sleeve are in excellent condition. One would not think that it is 56 years old. Minimal wear, no mustiness.  A great little record.

As with several other records, there is not much information about the artist or the label, except for this: Billboard Nov. 6, 1954. A full-page ad in Billbard for this very record! (I wish I could save the page from Google Books - haven't accomplished that yet).  There is some brief information on Wikipedia about Cardinal Records, and a few Google hits on The Mulcays, but info is limited.

If anyone knows anything more about the Mulcays or Cardinal Records in Kansas City, please post a comment.

Enjoy The Mulcays Card-n-Song!

download link

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mistletoe Times Two

Tonight's album is a 2-record set from The Mistletoe Orchestra, entitled "Happy Holidays". This is from Mistletoe Records from sometime in the 1970's.

There's not much information about the artists on the record cover. Actually, none. "The Mistletoe Orchestra" gets credit for the performance, but there is no further information about the musicians. There is a past discussion about Mistletoe over at with some information about the label.

This album has a country music style to it, but it's not overly twangy. I'm not really a country music fan, and have very few Christmas recordings by C&W artists, but I found this record to be very enjoyable. One of the principle singers sounds like Roger Miller, and the songs are very competently performed by the musicians. No rowdy hoe-down here, just a nice collection of country-ish Christmas songs.

Give a listen (or two) to "Happy Holidays" by the Mistletoe Orchestra.

download link