Monday, March 19, 2007

JohnsCDs 2006-0869-029 - The Holiday Festival Of Music V1

This is the first of twenty-one Christmas comps sent to us by Martin Johns to be reviewed. (Martin who? Click on the link to read all about him.)

If you look at the title above and on the cover, there are a number of sequential numbers that I assuming have to do with the year it was recorded (2006) and other project info (0869-029).

I've been reviewing comps in chronological order for anyone who sent multiple comps. Even though this was produced last year, its recording date is actually older than that.

In December, 1986 - the second year I assembled a Christmas cassette - Martin was working at WRAN-AM in Randolph, New Jersey as "Zak Myklz" - you can't get any more 80s than that name.

For more on the story, read the back cover of this comp:

(Click on image to enlarge)

For more on this project, here is the section of the review that I've asked Martin to expand on. We'll call it:


In honor of twenty years of my peculiar brand of holiday fruitcake, I took 3 of the 7 hours of the 1986 WRAN special (the first tapes I had given out) and transferred them to CD. I'd known I wanted to do this for a few years, but wasn't sure how I was going to get the transfer.

I was prepared to forget it altogether when my brother gave me a new computer for my 2006 birthday. Although the sound quality would have been better coming from the reel-to-reels (don't have a player), the new Mac allowed me to transfer the cassettes. A lot of my friends had never heard me on the radio (and said they wanted to), so this was my gift to them.

When I sold the idea to my GM at WRAN, I really had no idea what I was going to do. Approved, I just showed up at the production studio (after a full day's work elsewhere) at the times allotted, with a whole bunch of records, and made it up as I went along. The hours were essentially recorded in "real time." Songs did have to be chosen with the station's format, listeners, and advertisers in mind, and that's certainly different from a regular comp.

Sorry, Captain. I didn't make a track list for this one. Didn’t intend to make more work for you. I honestly figured you'd, maybe, review ONE of my discs, not the full monty. (NOW he tells me!)

How's this for a track listing?:

Instead of typing out each track on this fantastic 2-CD comp, I've decided to post several of them so you can hear Martin in action. This will give you a sense of Martin's extensive radio background and a peek into his world of Christmas music all at once. Get them quick - I'll be taking these down on Friday morning (3/23/07):

As you can hear, Martin definitely knows his Christmas and has a great voice for radio. I especially enjoyed his radio commercials - creative and fun but not annoying. Excellent!

A great portion of this 2-CD set is very much like the tracks above. As radio specials go, I've heard worse (much worse) from other fly-by-night radio syndication companies passing off "Christmas radio shows" before.

Martin, this is a well-done radio special. You can hear the warmth and sincerity here. I'd listen to Zak play his Christmas music any day of the week.

UP NEXT: JohnsCDs 2002-110(33)-029(A) - Hepcat Holiday