Are you a fan of Schoolhouse Rock? Do you find yourself humming its catchy song "Conjunction Junction"? You probably will after reading this next yuleblog entry.
The album you see to the right was released in 1979 by the Alcoa Singers in conjunction with the rebroadcast of the 1978 Rankin-Bass animated TV special "The Stingiest Man In Town" - a musical based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" written by Fred Spielman and Janice Torre.
The album features selections from the animated TV special that were originally sung by the likes of Dennis Day, Tom Bosley, Robert Morse, and (in the title role of Scrooge) Walter Matthau. More on the Alcoa Singers and their album later.
This wasn't the first time these songs were sung on television. When I found this album by The Alcoa Singers, immediately behind it was an album that conjuncts (if such a word exists) with everything described so far!
The second album I found was the ORIGINAL soundtrack to the first television broadcast of "The Stingiest Man In Town". Back in 1956, "The Alcoa Hour" first broadcast "The Stingiest Man In Town" as a live-action television special, was rebroadcast on television every Christmas several years thereafter, and a soundtrack was released in conjunction with that:
This soundtrack has long been out of print (what a coup!). Upon my first listen, I discovered that several of the songs listed were contained within tracks on the album and weren't separate. I transferred the album in two formats - the original LP format and a separate track format - and was set to offer it this Christmas.
Then I discovered the soundtrack was released onto CD for the first time this year. If you've been after this album forever, click on the link and purchase your very own copy.
Back to these folks.
Resplendent in polyester gear and sporting some wonderful 1970s hair styles, the Alcoa Singers got their start in 1961 as a volunteer group who would perform in (dare I say it?) conjunction with holiday functions for Alcoa employees.
Their singing is quite good. I enjoyed their versions of the "Stingiest Man In Town" songs (especially "The Christmas Spirit") but their other songs make the album.
They do wonderful jobs with such reverent songs like "The Little Drummer Boy" and "O Holy Night". "Here We Come A-Wassailing" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" pack a lot of punch (both last under a minute in length).
If you're looking for standout songs, you should take a listen to their version of "Jingle Bells" and the last track of nineteen overall on the album - a medley entitled "Sunshine Christmas". "Sunshine" lasts over six minutes and features 1970s "Godspell" like rhythms and singing. It's a true testament to its era.
Here's the link (no conjunctions necessary):
The Alcoa Singers - An Old-Fashioned Christmas