Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Raymond Lefevre & His Orchestra - Merry Christmas

This cover should be included in the "Top 25 Greatest Christmas Album Covers Of All Time" which sounds like another VH-1 special.

I knew the album was in my stack of CDs that I downloaded (almost nine months ago) from the blog of Ernie (not Bert) but it didn't present itself until today. Christmas in August!

When I sit to do a yuleblog review, I generally put about 1 hour of Googling into it, searching web sites for answers about the artist's background, discography, career, etc.. Sometimes I come up with amazing facts, innuendo, and subplots that you would have never expected from a little old Christmas album.

When I researched Raymond Lefevre, hundreds of links came up for discographies that lead nowhere, song lyric web sites (which is hilarious considering Ray's bread and butter came from recording instrumentals), links for eBay, Yahoo, CD Universe, and the pièce de résistance - Raymond Lefevre ringtones.

Only two links yielded good fruit. The first was from who reports that Lefevre battled Paul Mauriat for the title of "King of Instrumentals" back in the 1960s and for most of his recording career, Raymond focused on the French speaking audiences in France and Canada.

The other Lefevre link comes from GEMM and a testament to what SpaceAgePop had to say. Click on the link and you see hundreds of LPs and singles, most of which have French titles and were released in Europe. However, if you search real hard enough, you'll find a Christmas album over there on sale (and on the Buddah label???)

This album was recorded and released in the 1960s at some point (the Goldmine Christmas Record Price Guide shows a promo 45 of "Silver Bells" as its lone entry on Lefevre). If you're a fan of easy listening, lush orchestral instrumentals, or looking for a change of pace, then this album is right up your alley.

The standout tracks include "Jingle Bells", "Angels We Have Heard On High" is a religious experience, and "O Holy Night" starts to build to a HUGE climax then diminishes - quite refreshing!

This is the spot where I'd normally update you on what Lefevre is doing now (is he still alive?), what other albums or career paths he chose (he recorded on Buddah? If someone picks up that album, please let us know!), and the like. But since I don't have that info, I'm not sure how to end this review. Don't look for the BIG finish or a closing number... Any suggestions?

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



bongolong said...

I may not put this cover in the top 25, but it is a great cover!!

I too have search for items only to find ringtones...

Aaahhh, the joys of running a blog!!

...back to the cover... look at that hair!!

PDMan said...

In the early to mid 80's, I programmed an Easy Listening radio station, and we were stocked with Raymond Lefevre, Paul Mauriat, James Last and pianist Ronnie Aldrich. Truly staples of the format.

CaptainOT said...

Bongo - Top 50 maybe? Any gal in a Santa suit is okay in my book. No, blog. Wait, yuleblog.

PDMan - James Last! That's the artist. I saw a blog recently that had dozens, if not hundreds of James Last albums... but I forgot the title of the blog! Any clues anyone?


Ernie said...

I think it was, err, umm, Pinichio, maybe, who had all the James Last stuff. I picked up a Christmas LP by him recently, but I think it was already shared out by somebody last year. All medleys that sounded same-y.

Something about the sparkly tights on that cover girl turns me on...

bongolong said...

OK... top 50, and you are right Santa or even elf suits (with sparkly tights) are special!!

kilppaul said...

does anybody know the title of the film in which the song 'The day the Rains came" by Raymond Lefevre, was used. I watched this film in the late 1950's and would love to know the name.

CaptainOT said...

Kilppaul - Raymond Lefevre has an entry at the Internet Movie Database:

You'll find a list of all the movies he's scored over the years.

When you find out the movies, please post the answer here!


Anonymous said...

This was the FIRST album my wife and I bought when we got married in 1975. It's still our favorite!