Friday, March 02, 2007

Ton Rückert's 2003 & 2004 Christmas Comps

This week's look at online comps has given us jet lag - Toronto, Sweden, Minneapolis, New York City! How do we end the week?

If it's Friday, it must be the Netherlands. That's where we find our next Christmas music enthusiast with not one but two comps up for review.

Ton Rückert has had his hand in hundreds of heaping helpings of honline (that was a stretch) stuff. He was a prolific contributor to Comfort Stand Recordings which is shutting down on April 1, 2007.

However, Rückert's own music site entitled WM Recordings will be picking up where Comfort Stand left off - continuing to discover new artists with free music on the web - record industry take note. These guys are way ahead of you!

In yesterday's review of Katya Oddio's Christmas comp, I noted that at her Blogio Oddio page last December were two Christmas comps from Mr. Rückert on the same page.

If you haven't done it already, click on the link above, download the comps, and feel free to listen as you read.

I couldn't find a way to send Ton my standard set of questions that I'm asking everyone who sent a comp. Thankfully, Otis Fodder passed the word along and I was able to get these answers from our comp master of the day:

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

2003 obviously, if you take the title of that year's comp seriously. In order to finally reciprocate for the ones I was getting from friends for years.

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

I pick up material in thrift stores and record fairs, and people send me stuff, lots in some cases. I select what appeals to me and gradually tracks clunk together, themes form, and I end up with a bunch which then kind of sorts itself out.

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

There's something pure and unspoiled about it, a lightness in every respect, but also the cheese factor of course, novelty, and not in the least the mere fact that there's such an amazing variety of it that's really, really good.

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

People don't bother to send me their negative feedback, so what remains is exclusively positive (though not hugely extensive), from a simple thank you to an enthusiastic wonderfullll!!!

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

Working on a compilation for WM Recordings, Mystic Moods (which will be released shortly), a follow up to Numerology. Done a dozen or so comps for the Exoticaring, the Love on the cheap series for instance, made up exclusively from stuff found in the cheapo bins.

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

A Merry Christmas and a Happy 2008.


(Click on image to enlarge)

1.) Rousing rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" by Stan Kenton to start the comp!
2.) This is the medley Liberace used for his background music on his 1954 Christmas Greeting card. Listen to Lib tinkle those ivories!
3.) I'd take this instrumental version of "Jingle Bells" over all the rest. Sir Duke and the boys flat out SWING!
4.) Ton waited three songs for his first vocal - picking Lionel Hampton and "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus"! Smoothhh!
5.) Whoever said Lester Lanin was square and totally unhip never heard this dynamite version of "Christmas Night In Harlem"!
6.) The intoxicating Billie Holiday does justice to this song. Remarkably, this is the only third Billie Holiday entry in my 12,900+ song Christmas library!
7.) Nice pairing of Gary Burton on vibes and Tom Scott on sax. From the first "GRP Christmas Collection" album.
8.) A symphony of swingin' sound from Stan Kenton again - not a clinker on his album (see #1 above for link).
9.) I love smooth jazz in small doses. This song by Benoit is my fill for the week. Very nicely done.
10.) WHOA! A silky, sultry, saloon Christmas song! Not heavy on the blues at all. Set 'em up, Joe...
11.) Faithful recreation of "Christmas Night In Harlem" by the Metropole Orchestra. Bonus points on those vocals!!!
12.) Peggy Lee could read the phone book and I'd STILL melt. I would love to speak to some of those kids (now adults) who sung on this track!
13.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! What a fun track! The Goldmine Christmas Record Price Guide says this was side A of a single - side B is "Christmas Kiddie Polka"! WHO HAS THIS?
14.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS AGAIN!!! Scratch another lost song of my search list! Discovered by Eddie Dunstedter, the Merry Macs introduced "Mairzy Doats" to the world. What a song! Thanks Ton!
15.) Whoever Christopher Bell was, he sounds a lot like a younger John Wayne with a Jersey accent! His talk singing is a blast but listen to the background music = WOW!
16.) Judging by this song and his incredible version of "White Christmas", Otis Redding would have made one helluva Christmas album!
17.) Ooooo! A spiritual by the Staple Singers gives this comp an extra boost of OOMPH! Excellent selection!
18.) Chubby Checker missed the Christmas boat with this one. The Twistin' Kings were one of the first groups on the fledgling Motown label back in the early 1960s!
19.) WOW! This swinger has been floating around for awhile! I finally caught it thanks to Mr. Rückert - thanks!
20.) Sorry Brian... I can't listen to this version anymore without thinking of those "Madagascar Penguins" and their hilarious "A Christmas Caper". Yes Rico... Ka-boom!
21.) YEAHHHHH! One of the greatest Christmas country songs ever! Guaranteed to make you snap your fingers, tap your toes, or sway in rhythm to the song - happens to me every time!
22.) Top notch Christmas novelty song that has Marguerite asking for a roster of teen idols (Fabian, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon) for Christmas!
23.) Another rockin' tune along the same lines as above - find both songs on the excellent "Rockabilly Xmas" CD!
24.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Thought I'd never find this song! Three years after Boyd's signature 1952 Christmas hit "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", Boyd's voice is puberty challenged - about an octave lower than on his first hit! Talk about night and day!
25.) Sweet stuff from Canada's first trio of sisters! Jeff of Jeffco Productions will be thrilled!
26.) No comments necessary!
27.) From the first notes, you know something's off. Then you hear the hysterical lyrics and look at the ironic title of the song. Then you hear the subtle jazz... WOW! From the memorable CD entitled "Karen Mantler And Her Cat Arnold... Get The Flu".
28.) Another Staples Singers spiritual that tells about Mary & Joseph's experience at the inn. Say amen, someone!
29.) Stirring rendition of "Silent Night" on the steel stringed guitar - courtesy of John Fahey.
30.) Ultra cool jazz version of "Deck The Halls" played by jazz bassist extraordinaire Christian McBride.


(Click on image to enlarge)

1.) Nineteen seconds of bells ringing. Not much of a beat and you can't dance to it...
2.) The "Spice Girls" of the Philippines, this is their Christmas track from 2002. Read their Wikipedia entry if you have the stomach.
3.) Kostelanetz wasn't a huge favorite in our households as I grew up. If we had heard this exceptional track, it may have been different...
4.) Europe's "First Lady of Jazz", Rita Reys' version of "Frosty" is outstanding! Begins with some jazz riffs that sound like a James Bond movie!
5.) GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS! Rhoda Scott's "Winter Wonderland" is a swirling, rousing trip on the Hammond B-3 organ! Adding her Christmas CD to my wish list for sure!
6.) Insert your own comment here. Next...
7.) DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Sexually stimulating Christmas song courtesy of Sarah Taylor & Bill Mumy.
8.) Whoa... Mindi Abair plays and sings a great smooth jazz Christmas song! I retract everything I said about smooth jazz - see track #9 above!
9.) Imagining a 1960s go-go at Christmas with this one... Girls frugging in the gaily decorated cages, cocktail waitresses avoiding the mistletoe, and a seedy guy with a frilly shirt guarding the door.
10.) A wonderful Christmas song from the early 1960s! You can find this one on "A John Waters Christmas" CD.
11.) Buck Owens! I'm a sucker for old-school country and this fits the bill perfectly!
12.) The irrepressible Kay Martin asking for that simplest of necessities in Hollywood! The Groove Grotto posted this naughty Christmas album late last year.
13.) Angela Strehli is a fantastic blues singer from Texas - just listen what she brings to this one! Find this song on the "Austin Rhythm & Blues Christmas" CD.
14.) "Fat Aunt Bette with her hair in a net, she's baking pies while the curls set..." I'll skip dessert! Hey now... I already owned this song ... it's from the "Ho Ho Ho Spice" 2-CD compilation.
15.) Probably the most countrified version of "Sleigh Ride" I've heard to date! Banjos, guitars, and violins... yee haa!
16.) This fine cover of Chuck Berry was first released on a promo-only sampler entitled "You Sleigh Me" in 1994. Atlantic then released it to the public the following year.
17.) I really liked this song - the title track! Jazzy, bluesy, R&B-ish - a sound all to itself!
18.) Seventeen second segue of a music box playing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" - cute!
19.) The Mike Sammes Singers is a great attraction here... but it's still Andy Williams. GONG!
20.) Here's a Christmas song that I nominate for heavy radio rotation at Christmas time! Beautiful version by Bell!
21.) Mmmmm! Vintage "Godfather Of Soul" Christmas... Rest in peace, James.
22.) A great instance of where the cover (Ike & Tina) outranks the original song (Charles Brown) in so many ways!
23.) I once made my brother's Christmas by giving this amazing, yet typical performance by the Blues Magoos as a gift.
24.) I hear Lucille... King's "Christmas Celebration Of Hope" CD is a must-have for any serious Christmas music collector.
25.) Released in 1970 - at the very height of the "Black Power" movement - this anthem by The Emotions still carries quite a wallop!
26.) And you thought Charo's disco version of this song was bad... I'm not just skipping ahead, I'm galloping!
27.) More Ann and Carnie? Boy, Ton... you sure know how to hurt a guy!
28.) Shades of Nina Simone! This is gorgeous stuff! Released in 1991 by Verve as a single - very hard CD to find!
29.) 30 second spot of "Silent Night" on a concertina. John Doan's "Wrapped In White" CD takes many vintage instruments and plays Christmas music with them.

That was some Fun listening with a capital F! Both comps were of high quality music - very impressed with the Rhoda Scott, Rita Reys, Kent Harian Orchestra, and all the instrumentals. The music flowed nicely, surprises thrown in for good measure, a good mix of the old, new, obscure, and priceless!

Ton, thank you for reposting these again via Katya at Blogio Oddio! Your Christmas ear is quite remarkable and I truly enjoyed listening and relistening to both! These are some fine additions to my Christmas collection. I would recommend to anyone who hasn't downloaded these, click on the link and get them - your ears won't be disappointed and your Christmas won't be so drab.

Gotta ask - if these are the 2003 & 2004 Christmas comps... what happened to 2005 & 2006? If they're out there, please, please, PLEASE let me know!

UP NEXT: Mark Grant's Holiday CD 2006



Weirdomusic said...

Two corrections:
- Comfort Stand will NOT close on april 1st 2007. (In fact it closed on april 1st 2006, but all releases will remain online)
- WM Recordings is not Ton's site. He is a valued contributor, but the role of owner/dictator is played by me and me alone.

best wishes,
WM Recordings

CaptainOT said...

Marco - What can I say? I was half-asleep and didn't check my facts... Last time I'll write something after 2 AM here!

Thanks for pointing out my glaring errors... and WM Recordings is worth a look folks! Good stuff over there!