Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Chicago Swedish Glee Club - Songs At Christmas

This second share for the 2009 Christmas downloading season is special in many ways. Let me explain.

The origin of the album is my original hometown of Chicago - home of my beloved Cubs, deep dish pizza, and multi-ethnic neighborhoods that blend together seamlessly into one giant melting pot by Lake Michigan. The fact this album was performed by Chicago Swedes should come as no surprise.

Another reason this album is special is because it's Swedish. Over the past several years, I've become friends with a fellow blogger/Christmas obsessive named Anna-Lena Lodenius. Hailing from Stockholm, Anna-Lena has been posting amazing Swedish Christmas fare at her blog Jul Igen - Christmas Again - be sure to visit and say hello! Hope you like this one Anna!

The final reason why this album is special is because it allowed me to re-establish an old acquaintance from my days as a used CD store manager. If you lived in the south suburbs of Chicago back in the day, you knew there was truly one record store for all of your rock/pop/R&B/indie needs.

That place was Record Swap in Homewood. It was one of the last great independent record stores of its era. And the man whose hand was on the throttle was its manager, John Laurie. I knew of John through my brother John - they were running buddies at the same high school and we were friendly competitors when I ran CD Exchange ("into the ground" as John would say).

Shortly after I left the Chicago era, Laurie left the store and its collapse was soon to follow. John decided to open up a new record store in the Lincoln Village area of Chicago and called it appropriately Laurie's Planet of Sound.

Earlier this year, I found the store, reacquainted with John, and found this album in their bin of Christmas music. Click on the link to see what I mean - heads up, most of those albums are LONG gone (darn it!) Still sealed in its original shrink wrap, this was in pristine condition and it was $4.

I wish I knew more about the Chicago Swedish Glee Club. It did have a website that I looked at several months ago but it seems that's been taken down. I would love to know more about the year it was recorded, what studio did they record it in, etc..

In any case, you're in for a treat. Side one is chock full of Swedish Christmas carols sung to the hilt by the fellows in the glee club. Side two is American Christmas carols and one gleeish version of "It's Beginning To Look Like Christmas"!

The Chicago Swedish Glee Club - Songs At Christmas

Happy listening...



Auntie Knickers said...

This is wonderful! First Carlos Salzedo and now this -- I mean, the 50s commercial choruses and strings and organs and such are fine, but these are the real treasures. Thanks! By the way, it interests me that the Swedish chorus sings "Nu har vi jul igen" to the same tempo as my Danish-American in-laws -- whereas the rap from the Danes was always that the Swedes sang it rather slowly. Great share, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong -- as a svenska I'm very excited about this and can't wait to get home from work and download it but, really? Swedish Glee? Is such an oxymoron.

Ron said...

Thank You for this share !!

John said...

Thanks for the nice things you said about our store (and me!) Also, much appreciate the new disc. It's been tough keeping a good stock of vinyl lately, not because we can't find any, but because it goes out the door so quickly. I guess if we raised our prices it may stick around longer, but I would rather not. I mean, I can't keep in the most common stuff (Carpenters/Andy Williams!) so the rarer stuff doesn't have a chance to stick around. Keep up the good work, and once again thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Chicago Swedish Glee Club still exists, and we performs 2 or 3 times a month, usually in retirement homes. We have scheduled a $25.00 Yulmiddag concert at 2:00 PM with smorgasbord to follow at Bridgeway of Bensonville, IL on Sunday Dec. 12, 2:00 PM

The Club was organized in 1869, and is the oldest men's chorus in the USA (except for the Harvard Glee club, and they change personnel every 2 to 4 years!

Allan Anderson (yah, I be Swedish!)