Monday, August 28, 2006

The Gunter Kallmann Choir - Christmas Sing-In

Back in June, our good friend The King Of Jingaling offered this album as part of his "Christmas And A Half" celebration (and is still available to download over at FLLLL).

Not much background is available about Gunter Kallmann online. According to SpaceAgePop.com, Kapp Records was looking for a Horst Jankowski sound-alike and searched for a German choral/instrumental group that didn't have a distribution deal in America.

Enter Kallmann. His group didn't enjoy the international success of Jankowski but they did release nine albums between 1965 and 1970 (almost two a year!).

The release date of this album has been guesstimated around 1971 and it definitely has a 70s feel. Each one of the twelve tracks on the album is a medley, fusing two or three songs into one.

This album, in a nutshell, is an experience!

The chorus sings their heart out, complete with German accents and tones. In the middle of one medley, the chorus sings the soft, reverent tones of "Silent Night", then burst into "Ding Dong Merrily On High" with all the force of an oompah band!

The orchestra swings, one moment lush and full of strings, then getting down and funky with the bassline coming across loud and clear. Throughout most of the album, the arrangements tend to favor the orchestra member on glockenspiel, chimes, or bells. It's cute at times, annoying most of the time. By the end of the album, you want to shove those bells down someone throat.

The standout track is song number one - "We Wish You A Merry Christmas / Jingle Bells / Where Did My Snowman Go?". "We Wish You" begins in a rather Teutonic way, then switches into smooth 70s mode. It then switches into a bells blazin' version of "Jingle" only to be followed by a funky cover of "Where Did My Snowman". It's a mini opera and sets the tone for the rest of the album handsomely.

Other favorite tracks on this album include "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer / Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "Once In Royal David's City / The Holly And The Ivy" is an epic, "Happy Holiday / I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", and "Mistletoe And Holly / Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow".

This type of album is the type that I strive to find while searching the vinyl bins of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Most of the time, I fall real short. It's a testament to the King Of Jingaling who keeps coming up with these amazing albums. Thanks for sharing this one!

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...


Capt

27 comments:

Eric J.F. Kleijssen said...

Hi Thanx, I was just about to digitize this one I borrowed from my dad - we used this one for years and years. Searching for info on thus Gunter Kallmann Choir I came upon your blog and the download ... saves me digitizing heeh lot of wotk on these old vinyl records (Adobe Audition does it all)

CaptainOT said...

Eric - Glad to have helped you reconnect with those Christmas memories!


Capt

Edgar Lorenzo F. Nievera said...

Hi! Thanks so much for posting this. I have been looking for information about the Gunter Kallman Choir for years. Their group (their chritmas album) used to be played at our house a lot when I was a little kid and I had been wanting to hear them again. Do you know where I can buy a CD or download mp3s?

CaptainOT said...

Edgar - Head over to FaLaLaLaLa.com - this was one of the first featured albums by the King of Jingaling!


Capt

Woomie said...

thanks a lot!!! My dad came home with this one (in Nigeria) and its been our family christmas album for years. I couldn't remember the name of the choir but I remembered the songs on it and that the LP was red with candles and a family so i searched and found this site. Thanks! Now i'm off to buy it and subject my non christmassy husband to years of this.

Anonymous said...

I love the Gunters. My Dad still has this on vinyl and keeps it hidden because I drag it out every Christmas and drive them all mad with it. Now i have my own copy, you have made me so happy! Love their harmonies and accents. ........ "C is for the candy ....

CaptainOT said...

Woomie & Anon - Thanks for sharing those memories and posting them here!


Capt

Anonymous said...

CaptainOT - Thanks for giving me a link of Gunter Kallmann Choir. When I was a child I always played this song and I lost the copy. And now I'm looking for it, and I found it with you man.

A.K.A. taznaks (Philippines)


taznaks@gmail.com

CaptainOT said...

Taznaks - Be sure to thank the King at FaLaLaLaLa.com - he did all the work while I merely pointed the way!


Capt

Anonymous said...

I bought this album in England, Christmas 1972. It is Polydor 2371 100.

ayeng98 said...

Cpt, thank you very much for pointing me the way to have my own copy of this treasure..

When I was a kid I used to listen to this on the radio, when I grew up I looked for it on Music stores and Im so grad that I was able to buy a cassete tape of it, but over the years of playin it its destroyed and now I can no lobger find a CD of it, saleslady dont even know about the album...

Now I stumbled on your blog and I got the most wonderful present of my life even though xmas is 6 months away I now have the album on my computer and can play anytime I want..

Thank you very much...

ariel

tim said...

Thanx. My father purchased this LP record more than 30yrs ago and Xmas was never without the Gunter Kallman Choir since. I have been looking for the CD but discovered this blog on the net instead and it made my Xmas last year and for all the Xmas to come.

iggypop said...

Thank you. I have listened to the Gunter Kallmann choir for many christmases till we lost the audio copy we had at home! I never quite bonded with all the other christmas albums as much as i did with this one. Thanks again for my new copy. A very merry christmas to you...2009!

Arvin de Veyra said...

Greetings from the Philippines. I basically grew up with this Christmas album. I'm glad I found it here. Thanks..

Smiley said...

hi there
I grew up in India. we had this on cassette tape. Loved playing it every Christmas lot, till we wore it off the tape. I have not heard gunter Kallmann since I was 8.
Thank you so very Much, God Bless you and have a grace filled Christmas

Anonymous said...

the last time i heard this album i was eight years old...thanks for bringing back fond memories...

Anonymous said...

This album brings back memories of childhood. It's been 10 years since my last Christmas at home and every time I hear songs from this album, it feels like I'm home. Thanks for sharing this! :)

darkmacoy said...

im a filipino but i love to hear the voices of this choir every christmas

i love all their version of christmas medleys!!

love u guys :)
(",)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for posting this Album and helping reminiscing the good memories of Christmas.... God Bless Us All!!!!!!

Milan said...

I really love the choir's christmas album. The first time i heard it was in a long playing album in early 80's. Our turn table was'nt funtioning anymore so we bought the tape and now the CD. their soft voices especially in singing December dream,season of winter,while sheperd watched their flocks by night. really makes me smile and think its already christmas even if its not yet. Thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

I have been listening to this album from as long as i can remember Christmas.My LP has one too many scratches now so this is great news. Thanks so much. Can't believe there so many more who grew up listening to this and were searching like me.
Trevor Manning
Barbados

Eric J.F. Kleijssen said...

Wonderful to see this record managed to spread the world in this way... even before anyone had a clue about computers, let alone internet and online shopping (...) etc.
♫♪♪♫♪♫ Merry X-mas to you all! ♫♪♪♫♪♫

Luc Tahar said...

It's now avalaible on CD in Germany.

amaka said...

Wow have been searching fOR this FOREVER! simply
y loved it and its my ideal version of Christmas Carols, nothing comes close! I'm in Nigeria likE Wummi n I'm so happy I can play it this Christmas and beyond! Thanks SO MUCH!

Sharm, Singapore said...

Hi, I too grew up listening to this every Christmas from young, from vinyl, cassette and then CD. Somehow the CD got misplaced a couple of years ago and I have been trying to purchase a copy but have yet been unable to. I tried the FLLLL site but was unable to locate the album. Does anyone know any other sites which i could download from? Thanks

Anonymous said...

This Christmas album by The Gunter Kallmann Choir formed part of my earliest memories of Christmas growing up. Been looking for it ever since, now I have it on my computer and carry it along to play in the car on my flash drive. Thanks for sharing, it's the best Christmas album ever!
Trevor, Nigeria

Anonymous said...

This is the only Christmas album that I really love to hear and the one that I will never ever forget. It's the best Christmas album of all time for me. We had a cassette album of this when I was still a kid and when the casette was destroyed, Christmases came, it's like my Christmas is not complete without these songs so when I grew up I reallyu found a way to find the CD album of this but it was hard to find at record stores so I searched the internet and was lucky I found it here,(actually I found it here back in 2008 and now it's 2013 so you could really say that I really love this album). Thank you so much, I really consider this album as a family treasure.

To Sharm of Singapore, the album is not available anymore at FaLaLaLaLa and torrent copies over the internet are usually on wma format and not mp3 format. The one I have is in mp3 together with the images for the front and back cover and the eps image format in case you want to print it to CD and burn it to a CD album. I can send you the album if you want via email. Just visit this blog again :)(hopefully)

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Jeremiah, Philippines