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Showing posts from August, 2006

Original Music Box Favorites V2

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Earlier this year, I found this album in an antique store in the antique town of Pierceton , Indiana. At first glance, I nearly passed over it because of its non-Christmas title. However, the songs were and I added this to my pile of albums that I was preparing for the upcoming holiday season. Then in July, our friend Bongolong at Bongolong Land offered this album as part of his "Christmas In July" celebration. Earlier this month, Bongolong decided to create a new Christmas ONLY blog entitled Bongobells and is currently offering this album to download. In his first three weeks, Bongo has offered 31 different albums with such diverse titles as: "Ren & Stimpy's Crock O'Christmas" "Mae West - Wild Christmas" "Christmas In The Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album" "Guitars Inc. - Guitars At Christmas" "Jackie Gleason - Merry Christmas" This music box album is one of the TWELVE albums I've downloaded

The CBC Singalong Jubilee Singers - It's Christmas Day

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O Canada, Jeff's home and native land... Jeff who? No, that's Jeffco ! If you click on this link to a previous yuleblog entry, you can read the fascinating but true story of how I met Jeff Fox, my very good friend from Nepean, Ottawa and the recepient of ALL my Christmas music in the case of my untimely death. Is that why Jeff sent those snakes on a plane? Curious. Last week, I received an e-mail from Jeff shortly after I posted my last review of Ernie (not Bert)'s stack of CDs. The e-mail simply read: "I hear you're done reviewing your Ernie CDs. Download at will." One click of the mouse led me to a new page on Jeff's amazing, ever changing web site. There I discovered NINE digitalized Christmas albums available to download! Another new stack? WOW! This album you see before you is one of the seven albums I didn't already own (the others will be reviewed here, I promise!). History lesson: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) ha

Santalicious - 2005 - Martin Klasch

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Here's a Christmas compilation that I found while on a quick blog tour I took at the end of July! I has just enough time at the computer to putz around but not enough time to sit and do a full album review. So I let the mouse do the clicking and I came across several sharity blogs that yielded good fruit. I found the complete "Dirty Harry" movie soundtrack and an obscure 1960s comedy takeoff on the Kennedy "First Family" comedy albums. " At Home With That Other Family " is set in Russia and we meet up with the Khruschchev's! This tour led me to Martin Klasch's blog . A mix of music, videos, artwork, and photos with a distinct European flavor. I was hooked. I began to deep search the blog when I came across this entry . Culled from different sources such as Red Ryder BB Gun , Planet Xtabay (now Xtabay's World), Jul Igen , FaLaLaLaLa.com , and Ernie (not Bert) (who's he?), Klasch offered this CD during Christmas 2005 and I was

The Gunter Kallmann Choir - Christmas Sing-In

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Back in June, our good friend The King Of Jingaling offered this album as part of his "Christmas And A Half" celebration (and is still available to download over at FLLLL). Not much background is available about Gunter Kallmann online. According to SpaceAgePop.com , Kapp Records was looking for a Horst Jankowski sound-alike and searched for a German choral/instrumental group that didn't have a distribution deal in America. Enter Kallmann. His group didn't enjoy the international success of Jankowski but they did release nine albums between 1965 and 1970 (almost two a year!). The release date of this album has been guesstimated around 1971 and it definitely has a 70s feel. Each one of the twelve tracks on the album is a medley, fusing two or three songs into one. This album, in a nutshell, is an experience! The chorus sings their heart out, complete with German accents and tones. In the middle of one medley, the chorus sings the soft, reverent tones of &quo

The Best Of "Christmas In July 2006" From Ernie (not Bert)

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Last month, Ernie had a "Christmas In July" to remember. For one month at his astounding blog , he had daily downloads of winter or Christmas related songs. 31 days, 112 songs. He was averaging 3.6 songs for each day of the month. I promised I would create a two or three CD set of all the MP3s he offered and review them here. However, Ernie beat me to the punch by offering a "Best Of" compilation disc at his blog on August 4th. It's still available to download so do yourself a favor: if you haven't downloaded it yet, download it here, and continue reading. I felt so compelled to do something fantastic other than a ringing review. So I broke out the ArcSoft PhotoStudio and did some custom artwork which you may download to use for this CD. And in case you're wondering, that IS our man Ernie on skis - earlier this year , he tried his hand on the slopes which cushioned his falls very handily (forgive the pun). When I put together the artwork, I

Robert Way - New England Sleigh Ride: Music For The Christmas Season

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Here it is... the FINAL album review from ALL the albums that I downloaded last year from Ernie (not Bert)'s blog ! This one comes to us from the good folks at your local Mobil gas station. It's hard to believe now but there was a time when gas station attendants is crisp clean uniforms would pump your gas, clean your windshields, and check your oil and fluids under the hood. Then came the premiums. You could have gotten S&H green stamps, free road maps, cute plush mascot toys for the kiddies (the Exxon tiger was a fave), even cutlery and glassware as a premium when you filled up your tank (for around $10) back in the late 1960s or 1970s. For those of you ages 20 or under, hard to believe, eh? Again I googled Robert Way and the title of this album and got Ernie's blog and little else. So once again, I've posted the back cover so you can read for yourself about who Robert Way is: It only looks deadly dull but this album is a breath of fresh air! Way is a

The Snap-On Male Chorus - Carols Of Christmas

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This album wins the trophy for "Most Ambiguously Named Artist Of Any Album Downloaded At Ernie (not Bert)'s Blog in 2005" and gives us an idea of what company bands were like. The concept of the company band was to bring together employees together to foster a spirit of brotherhood and harmony through music. This same spirit would be passed to other co-workers proud of their own company band. Many Fortune 500 companies used to have their own company bands or choruses back in the day. AT&T, General Motors, the United States Postal Service, Prudential Life, etc., etc.. When Snap-On Tools was formed back in 1920, they too latched onto the concept. I've posted the back cover of this album partially because you can read about some of the history of this chorus and partially because you're not going to read about it anywhere else. As for the music, it's quite good! There are some nice vocals and arrangements on this singing album of mechanics! The fir

The Town Pipers - Christmas Greetings From

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Our last yuleblog entry brought to you The Pied Pipers. This entry brings to you The Town Pipers! And like the Pied Pipers, I found this album at a blog that's rather obscure and I probably have never mentioned it before until now... a blog by the name of Ernie (not Bert)... curious. What's more curious is that hardly anything (outside of references to Ernie's blog) is of note when "The Town Pipers" are googled. On the back cover of this album is written the following: Christmas greetings to all of you from the Town Pipers! This personable new group from Scranton, PA have a new, exciting sound which comes over with much impact and enthusiasm on this, their first recording. Apparently their last recording as well... I have found no records other than this one by the Pipers anywhere (GEMM, Musicstack, eBay, Craig Moerer Records By Mail). As for a new exciting sound that comes over with much impact and enthusiasm, it's there... in very limited quan

The Pied Pipers - Favorite Christmas Carols

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This album gets my vote for the "All-Time Cutest Christmas Album Cover Posted Today At This Yuleblog"! This is yet another album that I downloaded at Ernie's blog last year (he's quite prolific that Ernie!). Don't remember the Pied Pipers? Who are the Pied Pipers? Back in 1938, 20th Century-Fox was creating the movie musical " Alexander's Ragtime Band " and needed a vocal group. Using former members of three other vocal groups (seven men and one woman - she being an unknown Jo Stafford!), they formed an octet called The Pied Pipers. The famed big bandleader Tommy Dorsey heard the group, liked them, and signed them to a contract to sing on radio program. Dorsey was well-known for finding new talent (Buddy Rich, Connie Haynes, Jack Leonard, and a skinny Italian singer named Frank Sinatra) and having a hair-trigger temper. The original line-up of eight Pied Pipers were fired from the radio program by its sponsor only after a six week period in

The Les Djinns Singers - 60 French Girls with the Christmas Bell Ringers - Joyeux Noël

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Wow... it seems I pushed the CDs that contain long, LONG titles from the titles I downloaded at Ernie (not Bert)'s blog last December deep down the stack! Looking at the average titles remaining in my stack of CDs from Ernie's blog, this very well could be the LONGEST title not only from Ernie but the longest in general for this very blog! I googled "The Les Djinns Singers" and the first reference that came up was this one . Well done, Ernie! The second link or links were to an ABC-Paramount discography and shows that the Les Djinns Singers released several albums on that label between 1960-1964. The remainder of the links were for various albums for sale, Musicstack, eBay, and WFMU's artist list . I googled "Paul Bonneau", the arranger and director of this album and a number of web sites appeared, most in French. Bonneau was a composer and conductor of orchestras for many years with the French goverment radio station Radiodiffusion França

The Happy Crickets - Christmas With

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Here's yet another entry into the "Christmas with small woodland creatures and/or insects that have sped up voices" category. Back in June, I reviewed one of these entries , offered a STEREO version of the same album in July, and this hopefully will be the last entry for quite some time. This one came from Ernie (not Bert)'s blog late last year and he stated at the time: " I have this terrible fear that you folks are going to download whatever I throw up here. So here is a test. Do not download this album! It is bad! The arrangements are terrible. "The singing is monotone clap-trap, and it's often pitched so high that dogs run howlng from the room! If you thought the Chipmunks were bad, these crickets make the Chipmunks look like Elvis being backed by the Beatles. But I'm afraid there is no stopping you ." Well, I downloaded it. It even came with a different cover in a different color, style, and design. Twelve songs in total. How b

The Voices Of Walter Schumann - The Voices Of Christmas

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In yesterday's yuleblog entry , we had a rather long album title I downloaded from Ernie (not Bert's) blog as a headline. Today, we have another album from Ernie (not Bert's) blog and another long album title as a headline! Some of you might be asking "Who is Walter Schumann and why did he have so many voices?" Here's just the facts: Schumann was born in New York, New York on October 8, 1913. In the early 1930s, he was attending the law school of USC when he abruptly quit to play in a college dance band. Eventually, the band went its separate ways and Schumann continued on into the music business, working with Eddie Cantor on his radio show, and recording with Andre Kostelanetz. World War II started, Walter enlisted, and became the musical director of the Armed Forces Radio Service. He worked with most of the major acts of the war on all the radio shows AFRS produced during this time. After the war, he returned to Los Angeles and worked in the m

The Rainbow Sound of Bianco, His Harp And Orchestra - Joy To The World

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Not only was this album downloaded at Ernie (not Bert)'s blog late last year but it holds the distinction for having the longest title of ANY Christmas album reviewed here! Woe to the poor guy who had to give the stage announcement whenever Bianco played a concert! Late last month, Ernie stated in a post at his blog that Bianco was one of his top three harpists of all time. The other two are Robert Maxwell and a Marxist named Harpo. Maxwell or Harpo were the only harpists I thought I knew existed, the rest were anonymous pluckers of the golden strings. So let's spend some time finding Bianco (not Nemo). Born Eugene Capobianco in 1927, he began studying the harp as a boy under the tutelage of his father Fillippo, himself a successful harpist from the old country in Italy, and Marcel Grandjany, an early star of the classical harp. Gene studyed at Juilliard and after graduation played the classical harp circuit for several years. However, his love for jazz drove him

Raymond Lefevre & His Orchestra - Merry Christmas

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This great cover deserves to be by itself. . . . . . . . . . . This cover should be included in the "Top 25 Greatest Christmas Album Covers Of All Time" which sounds like another VH-1 special. I knew the album was in my stack of CDs that I downloaded (almost nine months ago) from the blog of Ernie (not Bert) but it didn't present itself until today. Christmas in August! When I sit to do a yuleblog review, I generally put about 1 hour of Googling into it, searching web sites for answers about the artist's background, discography, career, etc.. Sometimes I come up with amazing facts, innuendo, and subplots that you would have never expected from a little old Christmas album. When I researched Raymond Lefevre, hundreds of links came up for discographies that lead nowhere, song lyric web sites (which is hilarious considering Ray's bread and butter came from recording instrumentals), links for eBay, Yahoo, CD Universe, and the pièce de résist

Lynn Anderson - The Christmas Album

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"What happens if you play a country song backwards?" "You get your wife back, you get your job back, you get your truck back, you get your dog back..." This was one of only two country Christmas albums that Ernie offered at his blog late last year (the other was a Buck Owens - Susan Raye Christmas album - and I didn't get that downloaded - how the hell did I miss that one?). Country music has certainly seen its highs and lows in popularity. The first big wave could arguably have come in the mid-1950s to 1964 with stars like Hank Williams Sr., Patsy Cline, and Jim Reeves; all who died rather early and at the height of their popularity. The British Invasion pushed country off the scene for a while only to make its first comeback in the late 1960s - a crossover comeback to boot. "Hee-Haw" went on the air, Johnny Cash's career rebounded and he ended up with a TV show, the Bakersfield sound of Merle Haggard was getting crossover play, the coun

Sy Mann - Everybody's Christmas Favorites

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In a yuleblog entry yesterday , I mentioned that Christmas organ music was now the largest subgenre in my collection. As I thumbed through the remaining stack of albums that I downloaded at Ernie (not Bert)'s blog last year (a mere 12 remaining from a tower of 35+ CDs), yet another CD stared at me containing Christmas organ music. But organ music in the hands of Sy Mann, then it becomes something that deserves special attention. If the name Sy Mann sounds familiar, that's because he was one of the main forces behind " Switched On Santa " - one of the top five Christmas albums of all time. Mann's musical education began quite young - at the age of six to be exact. His sister would hit wrong notes on her cello as she practiced and Sy would correct her by playing the right notes on the family piano! Sy was studying music at New York University when World War II began. He quickly enlisted and spent most of his four year stint in the Army either composing, ar

George Wright - Merry Christmas

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As I type these words, my mind is playing tricks with me. You may not know it but this addition to my Christmas music collection is a very significant one and I'm not sure how to react to it. The largest subgenre in my collection was Hawaiian Christmas music. Thirteen albums. Solo artists like Don Ho and Willie K. Groups like The Waikikis, The Blue Hawaiians, and Na Leo Pilimehana. Lush cover art like The Mahaka Sons "Christmas Day In Hawaii Nei" or crazy cover art like the 49th State Record Co's "Santa's Gone Hawaiian". If you didn't catch it, I said this WAS the largest subgenre. Christmas organ music skyrocketed to the top this year. From November 2005 to present, I have added TWELVE different organ albums to my collection. Looking at my albums-to-be-shared-at-Christmas pile, there's another three Christmas organ albums awaiting addition to my collection. This is not counting the half dozen or so Christmas organ albums I'll probab

John Davidson - My Christmas Favorites

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Just when you think you've seen it all, a record like this one comes along, and you're stunned, speechless, thrown for a loop. I've pushed this particular album several times down the stack of albums I downloaded over at Ernie's blog late last year. I sat down to review another album from said stack and John was staring at me in the face. I was trapped. I HAD to review it now. You probably remember John Davidson from his successful run as the host of "The Hollywood Squares" back in the 1980s. If you have a longer memory than that, you may remember him as a co-host of "That's Incredible" along side of Fran Tarkenton and the delectable Cathy Lee Crosby! If you have a longer memory than THAT (or are a fount of useless trivia and information like me), you'll remember John Davidson as the star of several Disney movies in late 1960s-early 1970s, having his own television talk show, and filling in for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show&

Gisele MacKenzie - Joyeux Noël

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Before the days of MTV, "Solid Gold", Casey Kasem's TV or radio version of "American Top 40 Countdown", or even Dick Clark's "American Bandstand", there was a program called "Your Hit Parade" that lasted an amazing 24 years on both radio and TV. From 1935 to 1950, listeners would tune in every Saturday night on the NBC Radio network and listen to the popular shows of the day. It made the successful switch over to television in 1950 where young new talent blossomed every week to perform songs. Gisele MacKenzie had just arrived in the United States from Canada just as "Your Hit Parade" hit the TV airwaves. She studied voice and violin at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto and even had her own CBC radio show before trekking below the 49th parallel. It was her violin that got her noticed by another violin player - Jack Benny.  They both toured together between 1952-1953 and on the basis of Benny's recommendation, NBC hi

Yank Lawson & Bob Haggart - Hark The Herald Angels Swing

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This album has a long past with me... it wouldn't unzip correctly - several tracks would not open or read. It took me nearly seven or eight tries to get the whole album downloaded. I had to rework several MP3s using my Sound Forge Sonic Foundry audio editor and voila ! I had a full album. Good thing too because this may very well be my favorite album that I downloaded at Ernie (not Bert's) blog for the entire 2005 Christmas season. The album is credited to "The World's Greatest Jazzband of Yank Lawson & Bob Haggart". It's nice to know such a humble band wouldn't complain when their whole name couldn't be fit onto the marquee outside a jazz spot. They were content with being known as TWGJB - a precursor of NKTOB? More on that name later. Their credentials speak for themselves. Both Lawson and Haggart got their start with the Bob Crosby (Bing's younger brother) Dixieland band back in the 1930s, utilizing many of Haggart's arrangements

A Muzak Christmas

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Yes, you read that right! This promotional album from 1980 comes from the still amazing blog of Ernie (not Bert). Yes, Muzak was created to allieviate fears of elevator riders in the 1920s and 1930s - elevator music lovers take note - by piping in phonograph music. By the mid-1950s, Muzak was all on tape and continued to do so until the early 1980s (around the time this album was released) when they began using satellite feeds. Incredibly, Muzak still exists in this day and age (now using real recordings by established artists). Ted Nugent once offered to buy Muzak for $10 million dollars just to erase their tape library when it was still utilizing orchestras to re-record new hits like "Do You Think I'm Sexy?". If there are any lingering doubts about how bad Muzak really was, is, or will always be (whichever you prefer), read the liner notes from the back of this album, try to keep a straight face, and decide for yourself: "In a fast changing world, the jo

2 x 3: Two from The Three Suns

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Most online Christmas collectors have known about The Three Suns for several years - the classic 1959 LP " A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas " has been floating around in cyberspace for some time and everyone is still looking for a back cover scan! Include me in that category... not the back cover scan part (well, actually, yes, but that's not important right now) but before 2004, I never knew The Three Suns existed. Thankfully, several people have chosen to preserve their works and share them with the world. These two albums were saved by Ernie (not Bert) at his blog last year ( Christmas Party link) ( Sounds Of Christmas link). Though both albums aren't as dynamic or space-age trippy like "A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas", you can still hear the distinct Three Suns style come way across. Christmas Party was recorded in 1952 as a 10" LP. Even though it contains eight tracks, everyone is a standout in my book. Starting with a rollicking "Rudolph T