Tuesday, February 06, 2007

FaLaLaLaLa.com's ADVENTure In Carols 2006

Brad Ross-MacLeod (aka The King of Jingaling) started his reign at FaLaLaLaLa.com shortly before Christmas, 2004 and it has been nothing short of magnificent.

Thousands of Christmas fans and Christmas music lovers gather at the site to share memories new and old, stories of Christmas songs and Christmases past, new Christmas music and Christmas music long lost (only to be found again).

Last February, I reviewed his online compilation entitled "ADVENTure In Carols 2005". Click on the link to read the review but to get some good background info as well.

As with the past three holiday seasons, every day Brad would post a brand new MP3, adding to his compilation as the month of December would march along. By December 25, you were rewarded with your very own Christmas present from FaLaLaLaLa!

I've asked Brad a set of questions that I will be asking everyone whose comp will be reviewed here.

1.) When did you begin creating your Christmas compilations?

This may come as a surprise to most folks, but I never made Christmas compilations before the 2004 ADVENTure in Carols.

2.) Explain the process on creating your Christmas comp.

The compilation grows organically as I select a new track each day. None of it is planned out in advance, so when I start I have no idea what the final track list will be. I try to include songs from each of the year's featured albums, but that isn't a strict rule. And until this year, every song was from an album I ripped myself. But now that I'm working, I need all the help I can get and selected a few tracks from my friends to include on the AiC.

I have also been really lucky to have the participation of some friends who are extremely talented graphic artists who work on the covers. I invite a new one each year to put their distinctive stamp on the cover. I give them no requirements or limits whatsoever so that its a product of their own vision.

3.) Who do you share these compilations with? How many do you send out?

I share them with anybody who want to download them. I don't actually make any CD's, not even for myself. I'm pretty much all-MP3 these days.

4.) What is it about Christmas music that appeals to you?

It takes us back to an innocent and magical time from our youths. It's as if everything around us is all of a sudden touched by magic for one month of the year and the music helps us connect to those times. And it's the only season of the year that has its own music.

5.) What kind of feedback do you get from the comp?

I get a lot of compliments and enthusiasm. A lot of it for the covers since I get help from some extremely talented artists. (Here's some of the first sketches from the cover artist Ward Jenkins!)

6.) What other projects/websites do you work on other than Christmas?

I work on a site for my friend Matt Mahaffey's band, Self. It's a community of really passionate and cool music lovers and I've made some really great friends there.

7.) Anything you would like to share with people reading this review?

Well, the Captain is one of my favorite Christmas fans and I always appreciate his enthusiasm (Great leaping icebergs!!!!) at FaLaLaLaLa.


(Click on image to enlarge)

1.) The young Osmond sound is in full evidence. I nearly mistook them for Chipmunks though.
2.) This came off a kiddie Christmas album? WOW! The tykes and the parents should both love it!
3.) A great song from Santa's Helpers who had help from a certain singing cowboy. Love those budget records!
4.) If you want to know what Christmas with the Now Sound sounds like, try this on for size! Sweet!
5.) Starts slow, hooks you with the drums. Add the chorus and orchestra. By song's end, you have a Now Sound Christmas song!
6.) A very good Herb Alpert soundalike band doing a bouncy version of this one.
7.) Ray Bloch was Ed Sullivan's orchestra leader forever. Maybe that's why this one has that great 1960s TV variety show sound!
8.) This was my favorite track from the Town Pipers Christmas album I reviewed last year.
9.) Christmas music from the Master. This is the stuff I was raised on... Explains a lot about me!
10.) Bouncy harmonies abound in this song from a forgotten Christmas TV special (Fenwick? Anyone?)
11.) Off one of the best featured albums shared this year at FLLLL. Long live Kostelanentz!
12.) Maybe the funniest politically incorrect Christmas songs you'll hear. Paging Sam Gianacana...
13.) Another kiddie track that's quite good. Am I softening or do I have diaper rash?
14.) From the classic 1964 "NORAD Tracks Santa" album. Dear sweet Lord, I want THAT ALBUM!!
15.) And this album too! For better understanding of this whole track, click here.
16.) The Harry Simeone Chorale doing 1950s rock-n-roll Christmas? Whoa...
17.) Both Osmond Christmas CDs omitted this outstanding track by brother Merrill (doing his best Steven Tyler!).
18.) A great track from Brad's all-time favorite Christmas album.
19.) The late great Owen Bradley kicking out the jams! Very proud of this one!
20.) Great Toots! For a moment, I thought this was Stevie Wonder with the Mike Sammes Singers! What a track!
21.) Orchestrated Beach Boys music is a dicey proposition indeed. Orchestrated Beach Boys Christmas music is downright oddly curious. I had fun with this so that's that.
22.) The smooth sounds of Happy Kyne & The Mirth Makers... no, DeVol! No, wait...
23.) Give "The Little Drummer Boy" the Now Sound and this is what you get! Coool!
24.) It's hard to believe this lush track off an even richer Christmas album was a gas station promo!
25.) Christmas music has strong ties to when you were a kid. For me, this is Christmas!

Every Christmas morning for the past three years, I've downloaded the final tracks off Brad's three comps, burned them, and played them in the background during my family's Christmas celebrations.

As the family eats, drinks, laughs, cavorts, fumble with presents, and take in Christmas, I am drowning everything else out and listening to the wafting sounds of Brad's music flowing overhead everyone else and smacking me in the face. It's always great stuff.

This year, I had an aunt complement me on the great Christmas music I had put together for the gathering. I explained to her that a benevolent King had put this together for all his loyal subjects to hear and she could download this great compilation herself.

Great segue: You can still get your hands on this compilation (along with the fabulous 2004 and 2005 ADVENTures In Carols comps and a TON of other stuff) over at FaLaLaLaLa.com - still the greatest Christmas music community online.

UP NEXT: Ernie's 25 Days Of Christmas


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