Here it is - my last share of the 2009 downloading season. I look forward to this one just as much as some of you!
While I'm searching for albums throughout the year, I'm looking through 45s and 78s to locate those lost Christmas singles that might have fallen through the cracks. When I find a certain record, I purchase it and place it on the " TBD sampler" pile.
Although my vinyl search and rescue missions this year didn't yield as much as I would have liked, I did manage to locate several vintage jewels. With the care of a gemologist, I carefully transferred them over to digital and packaged them in one nifty package.
Your 2009 Christmas Yuleblog Sampler:
Track 1 - Miss Frances - 'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Part I)
RCA Victor - WBY 28 (F2CW-5193)- 195?
Long before "Sesame Street", "Mr. Rogers", and even "Captain Kangaroo", there was "Ding Dong School" with Miss Frances on NBC. Here she gives us part one of Clement Moore's classic tale.
Track 2 - Don Mason - Here's Wishing You A Merry Christmas
Scepter Records - S12372A - 1971
I wish I knew more about this single - it was 1971, the Vietnam War was still ongoing, the label states this is a special release, and who is Don Mason?
BTW, the song is pretty good!
Track 3 - Susan Dodd & Steel Wheels - Merry Christmas I Love You
ARC Records - IRDA 571A - 1979
Either Susan and Co. were aspiring artists who got a shot to record a Christmas song or they were a group of session musicians given a chance to record a Christmas song as their bonus that year. Interesting...
Track 4 - St. Nick (Performed by Just For Laughs Players) - Jingle Bells WB Records - WBS 49877 - 1981
Here's a novelty single that even Dr. Demento rarely plays. If that doesn't set off your warning alarm, I can't help you...
Track 5 - Lu Ann Simms - I Dreamt That I Was Santa Claus
Columbia Records - J 4 170 (ZSP 14477) - 1953
Found this on eBay for a remarkable low price - couldn't pass it up. Little Lu Ann is backed by the one and only Percy Faith!
Check out the delicious picture sleeve here!
Track 6 - The Gorman Sisters (Barbara & Viv) - Jesus Is My Santa Claus
Arrow Records - Record No. 721 (H715) - 1957
This is a lovely little Christmas single that tries to refocus Christmas away from Kris Kringle. It only sounds preachy...
Track 7 - Spike Jones & His City Slickers - Santa Brought Me Choo Choo Trains (But Daddy's Having Fun)
RCA Victor - 47-5497 - 1953
There's a handful of Spike Jones Christmas singles that haven't seen the light of the CD laser; this is one of them. The Spike Xmas catalog needs an update and new release! Another great vocal by George Rock and featuring Thurl Ravenscroft as the dad!
Track 8 - Tommy Wills (man with a horn) - Blue Christmas Juke Records - JB 2020 (JB 2020A) - 196?
According to his website, Wills is still playing his horn! Based in the Indianapolis area, I tried several times to contact him about this single - no response.
Track 9 - Lynn White - If You Can't Come Home For Christmas Waylo Records - Waylo 125 A - 198?
I was set to write this one off as a 1970s one-hit wonder - but this website states Lynn's career was active on Waylo Records in the late 1980s!
A blues-influenced soul Christmas song - all right!
Track 10 - The Music City Chorale - Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Hit Records - Record No. 909 (6203) - 196?
Straight-forward rendition of this Christmas carol. The music label was based out of Nashville and specialized in sound-alike version of (you guessed it) hit records. Sam Moore (of "Sam & Dave" fame) and Ray Stevens ("The Streak") both got their start on this label.
Track 11 - Eddy Howard & His Orchestra - There's A Christmas Tree In Heaven
Mercury Records - 5752 (4519) - 1951
The first selection off two 78 RPMs on this sampler. This is a great (but somber) Christmas song!
Track 12 - Loy Blanton - Christmas At The Jersey Lily Lounge Soundwaves Records - SW-47444-NSD - 1984
This 45 came with its own unique jukebox label that catches your attention! If someone ever asks you what old school country sounds like, try this one on for size. Watch carefully - another Soundwaves label is coming up soon!
Track 13 - The Keynotes (with Primo Scala And His Banjo And Accordian Orchestra) - The Mistletoe Kiss
London Records - 302 - 1948
This is the second 78 RPM on the sampler. I thought this was another early 1950s product but this Google Books result informed me otherwise.
Billboard called this one a "pleasantly hoky seasonal ditty done with proper bounce" - a correct description!
Track 14 - Bobby Starr - Jake The Flake
Continental Arts Records - 575A - 196?
I wish I knew more about this amazing Christmas single! It has everything - a teen idol voice, an easy guitar that could work as rock or easy listening, choral and small orchestra backing, and even some Chipmunks-like voices for Jake!
One of my favorite sampler songs.
Track 15 - Julius LaRosa - The Christmas Gift
GP Records - GP 592 - 1981
LaRosa took a moment from appearing on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon to record this lush, easy-to-listen Christmas song circa 1981.
I wish Julie had recorded more Christmas music... but what counts is that he recorded it - that's the important thing!
Track 16 - Don Mason - Shepherd Boy
Scepter Records - S12372B - 1971
The flipside of track two (see above).
This one's a mini-soft rock opera! Be careful - I've been humming this one incessantly since I heard it. The melody can get trapped in your skull...
Track 17 - Lu Ann Simms - I Just Can't Wait 'Til Christmas
Columbia Records - J 4 170 (ZSP 14478) - 1953
The flipside of track five (see above) and I think it's better than Side A! A great little Christmas ditty - great work Ms. Simms and Mr. Faith!
Be sure to check out the great picture sleeve as well!
Track 18 - The Vel-Mars - Jingle Bells
Continental Arts Records - 575B - 196?
This is the flipside of track 14 (see above). Was this a double "A" side single? Hmmmm...
Great surf instrumental version of " JB" by an unknown group based out of New York City (???). Hang ten, dudes!
Track 19 - The Gorman Sisters (Barbara & Viv) - Silent Night
Arrow Records - Record No. 721 (H716) - 1957
The flipside of track six (see above).
Interesting arrangement... the girls are really singing their hearts out on this one!
Track 20 - Shell Bowling - Born On Christmas Day Soundwaves Records - NSD/SW-4690 - 1982
The 1970s ended two years earlier but someone forgot to tell the label makers at Soundwaves!
Mr. Bowling wrote himself a Christmas song and tries to sing it a la Vegas Elvis circa 1972. No kidding!
Track 21 - Tommy Wills (man with a horn) - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Juke Records - JB2020 (JB2020B) - 196?
I need a song with absolutely no singing after hearing track 20. This fits the bill perfectly.
Thank you, man with a horn!
Track 22 - Eddy Howard & His Orchestra - Auld Lang Syne
Mercury Records - 5752 (4520) - 1951
It's not Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians... but Eddy and Co. do a great rendition!
Try this one at your New Year's Eve party!
Track 23 - Miss Frances - 'Twas The Night Before Christmas (Concluded)
RCA Victor - WBY 28 (F2CW-5194)- 195?
Miss Frances finishes the story that she started at the beginning of the sampler.
Around the 1:07 mark, you will notice a definite skip in the narration - that's where a nasty divot took up residence on the 45. Tried like mad to get past it... but couldn't make it work (sorry).
Two Bonus tracks...
Wonder what these could be???
UPDATE: 12/22/11 - REMASTERED
As with samplers past, this is the segment where I share some personal info with you, the readers of this blog.
For starters, I have approximately 130 comments that have been left here that I haven't responded to since April of this year. I wasn't purposely ignoring them, I was simply beyond busy this year. At some point down the road, I will respond to all of the comments - both new and old.
I mentioned last year that I wanted to shed some excess weight. My exercise regimen really didn't take off until this autumn when all three of my children started school. I found myself dropping the kids off at 7:15 AM and heading to the gym by 7:30 AM.
It was during this time that I began to feel some tightness across my chest after workouts. I was able to find a cardiologist who discovered two arteries in my heart partially blocked. He told me that the diet / workout regimen is a good start and he's monitoring me well. My cardiologist even began working out himself at the same gym I use!
I'm happy to report that I am under 300 pounds for the first time in over a decade. I can't wait for school to start again - I haven't been to the gym in over a week and I feel horrible. Here's hoping I'll be around 250 next year and my cholesterol will be normal!
As for the blog... big changes are coming. This is due to the fact that Santa will reward me this year with a brand new Dell Inspiron desktop to replace my eight-year old Compaq Presario 5250. And my wife tells me that come tax return time in several months, I'll probably get a new USB turntable to go with it.
I've done the best I could do with an eight-year old computer and a crappy turntable. I'm hoping to turn that around in 2010 by changing the format of the blog and remastering all of the albums I've posted here.
Along the way, I've got a BOATLOAD of album reviews I need to post here - some dating back to 2006! The Christmas sharity network has really outdone themselves in the past several years and it's time I honored their work with some hard work of my own.
As I type these paragraphs, I realize I'm in a Catch-22 situation: I can continue to lose weight by being away from the computer but can only work on all these projects if I'm in front of the computer. I have to to find a balance inbetween somehow...
In any case, I want to thank you for visiting us and sampling our wares and shares. If you read the back cover of this year's sampler carefully, you'll discover that this year's edition is dedicated to Christmas music enthusiasts around the world. This means you.
I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year wherever you are. Peace...