Monday, December 10, 2007

The Soulful Strings - The Magic Of Christmas

Earlier this year, I took a extended weekend trip to my former hometown of Chicago for the sole purpose of raiding all the Salvation Armies, Goodwills, Amvets, thrift stores, and record shops of their Christmas albums.

Much has changed since I left Chicago in 1996 - well, the Cubs are STILL looking to get to the World Series but... - but one thing remains - their vinyl is usually cheap. Many of my old haunts were gone, some moved to bigger places, and new ones have sprung up to take their place.

I was travelling to a thrift store that I remembered when I spotted a resale shop in the former warehouse of a lumber company. Its massive salesfloor consisted mainly of clothing, furniture, and knickknacks. I asked a salesgirl about records and she pointed her finger at the corner of a rickety balcony that overlooked part of the salesfloor.

The entire corner was FULL of albums and 45s. Needless to say, I spent nearly two hours there searching each and everyone. Towards the middle of my search, I opened a new box and the album you see before you was staring me right in the face - with the original wrap still clinging to it!

I suddenly had several employees checking on me - the unconscious scream of delight caught many peoples attention. The album had nary a nick and I placed it ATOP my pile of vinyl to buy. When the only other person that day looking for records showed up, I guarded that pile the way a mother hen protects her chicks!

As I made my way downstairs, I looked around and didn't discover a price sign (i.e. Albums $1, 45s 50 cents). Carrying an accordian sized pile of albums, this could get expensive. I approached the counter and asked the salesgirl how much.

"Albums are usually $2 each..." (sound of my heart dropping). "But today's Quarter Day..." (sound of heart soaring).

I left that store higher than a kite - this one album made the entire trip worth it. This is one of the best Christmas strings albums of all time. To quote from

Cadet, the soul label of the legendary Chess Records in Chicago, hired Richard Evans, a talented and underappreciated arranger who worked with jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, among others, to create a series of orchestral albums of current pop hits.

String some soul of your own:

The Soulful Strings - The Magic Of Christmas

Happy listening...



Stephen said...

Yeah, I love this one and play it many times every Christmas. Sounds like you struck gold there, Cap'n!

Ernie said...

"Today's quarter day"-words to warm the soul. :)

CaptainOT said...

Steve & Ernie - I wish I had that kind of luck year round!


LoungeTracks said...

Can't tell you how long I've been hunting this one down and now my search has ended...sad really, until I find my own vinyl copy.

Until then, many thank yous Captain!

P-E Fronning said...

Christmas came early this year!

Now I can (with the exception of a couple of good stereo songs I had) finally dump my mono recordings of this one!

This years mix is in the making, by the way.

CaptainOT said...

LT & P-E - Glad to have helped make your Christmas a wee bit brighter!


Anonymous said...

Check here for the first Soulful Strings LP. And more on the way!

CaptainOT said...

Soapy - GREAT FIND! Thanks for the link!