Friday, July 07, 2006
This is my first offering for FaLaLaLaLa's Christmas In July - an album that I first learned of there, sought out, and discovered at a vinyl swap meet just last month. It's not the best Christmas album in the world, but there's a lot going on here that make it pretty unique.
First, the cover. If you look very closely in the bottom left hand corner, you'll see the signature of Amos Sewell. Sewell was one of the legendary Saturday Evening Post cover illustrators during its heyday along side of J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell. If only real Christmas get togethers looked this good...
Second, the musical director. Henri Rene was born in Germany and trained at Berlin's Royal Academy of Music. During the 1920s, he emigrated to the U.S. where he played in a number of orchestras before returning to Germany in the early 1930s. However, he fled again as the Nazis rose to power and became the head of RCA-Victor's international arm in 1936. After serving with the Allies in WWII, he came back to RCA and worked in the classical music field for a brief time.
In the mid 1950s however, he began a successful run of "Stereo Action" albums such as "Compulsion To Swing", "Music For Bachelors", "Riot In Rhythm", and "Music For The Weaker Sex". In 1954, he lent his talents to an up and coming star named Eartha Kitt. Those "boom-boomssss" you hear at the beginning of the Christmas classic "Santa Baby" was the work of Henri Rene and His Orchestra.
This album was released in 1964 both in mono and stereo (I ended up with the mono version). If you only had to choose one album to play at your Christmas party, then you need to revise your playlist. If you add this album, you probably won't get many complaints.
Download and judge for yourself:
Home For Christmas - A Joyful Evening Of Yuletide Songs
Happy listening... On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...