Showing posts from June, 2007

Eddie Dunstedter, We Hardly Knew Ye...

Three years ago, The King of Jingaling at offered one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time. Two years ago, I downloaded not one but two fantastic albums from our friend Ernie (not Bert) (which were re-offered last year). These three albums were recorded by the late, great Eddie Dunstedter and I never reviewed these albums at the yuleblog. I promised Ernie that these albums would be the first ones to get the yuleblog treatment after my return from acting. However... the almighty Google keeps referring to Ernie's posts when you enter the name of Eddie Dunstedter and there is surprisingly little about the man online for research. The few online facts that I found? Dunstedter discovered the vocal group The Merry Macs back in 1926, was the musical director of several radio shows back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and has one movie credit to his name - the music score for the 1953 schlock horror movie " Donovan's Brain " (with futu

Hawaiian Christmas (TWO REVIEWS)

As far as I can remember, I've always had an affinity for Hawaiian music. Somewhere among my archives is a picture of me in a fourth grade school play where I play an obnoxious tourist flying to Hawaii. If that ever surfaces (think Jimmy Hoffa), I'll be sure to post it... Some time in high school, I began actively searching out Christmas music. I cannot recall what was the very first Hawaiian Christmas music album in my collection but I was hooked, lined, and sinkered onto that genre. I tried to find as much Hawaiian holiday hulas as I could find. When the smoke cleared, it emerged as the largest sub-genre of my collection (until Christmas organ overtook it last year). These sat on my upgrade list for quite awhile until two wonderful people named PDMan (from the FaLaLaLaLa community) and Ernie (of Ernie (Not Bert) ) came through in a big way last year. The first album (pictured above) by the Paradise Islanders was offered by PDMan at back last December

The Moog Machine - Christmas Becomes Electric

A funny thing happened on the way to the yuleblog this morning... a local power outage wiped out a majority of what I had previously saved in a first draft. So... starting from scratch... Here's another great Christmas album courtesy of Mr. Ernie from Ernie (Not Bert) . He first offered this album back in 2005 which I gobbled up and quickly added to my collection. But last year, Ernie decided to revisit the Moog Machine yet again. In his words: "The sound should be better on this one than what I gave you last year, anyway. I know the cover of this one is in much better shape than the one I scanned last year. Also, I'm sharing stuff at a slightly higher bit rate this year, so even if the vinyl weren't cleaner (and it is), it will sound better." Where do I start this review? How about Russia? Back in 1919, a Russian inventor named Leon Theremin was fiddling around in his workshop with two radio frequency oscillators, two radio antennae, and a louds

Jan Garber & His Orchestra - Christmas Dance Party

Many moons ago, this elegantly lush album was offered at Christmas time at Basic Hip - one of the first vinyl sharity sites. It was a good rip of the mono version of this album, with a good scan of the front cover only. (BTW, they still offer a great deal of rare, exotic, and incredibly strange albums via their Basic Hip Digital Gold service where I picked up the soundtrack to "Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls"!) I searched high and low, both on the Internet and off, to find a copy of this album so I could acquire the back cover or perhaps (dare I say it) a stereo version! Late last November, a member of the FaLaLaLaLa community named PDMan (he was once a program director in radio, hence PD, man!) stunned everyone when he shared a pristine copy of the STEREO version of this album with complete artwork! The "Idol Of The Air Lanes" aka Jan Garber would have been mighty proud. Born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1894, Garber studied music at the Combs Conser

The Don Les Harmonicats - Christmas With

Our friend Ernie, whose astoundingly fantastic blog Ernie (Not Bert) always has something for everyone, offered this last Christmas and I was able to snag it for an upgrade. This version replaced a previous one I acquired from Ernie two years ago when he wasn't fully prepared to share this album out. He sent me the music but no artwork so I had to improvise (see below). To quote from Ernie's hilarious notes: "This is a group founded by one of the members of that original group, Don Les. The group leader was Jerry Murad, and he seems to have been the one that had most of the talent... "And on top of all that, it's a pretty crummy label. One of the songs listed on the the cover, Upon The House Top (sic), is not even on the LP. Instead, you get O Little Town Of Bethlehem. "Also, if you look at the Christmas ornaments on the cover, you can see the reflection of the photographer and his tripod, over and over and over again. Not to mention the whole th

Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas (2006)

This CD was given to me by my family last Christmas and has patiently sat next to my computer the longest in a stack of CDs that are upgrades to my personal collection. This brand new album was reissued last Christmas and replaced a CDR copy of the original 1990 issue (see below) I obtained in a trade with another Christmas collector long ago. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Where do I begin? Long before Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, long before Madonna, Stevie Nicks, and Janis Joplin... Long before Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, and Connie Francis, long before Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney, and Billie Holiday... there was a woman named Ella. Born in 1917, Ella didn't want to be a singer as a little girl. She wanted to be a dancer. After moving to New York, her mother was killed in an auto accident and went to live with her aunt - who died suddenly of a heart attack and she moved back to her native Virginia. After dropping out of high school, Ella got two odd j

Making The Upgrade

As usual, there are several stacks of CDs next to my computer. Some are waiting to be entered into my master spreadsheet, some are waiting to be reviewed here at the yuleblog, and some are waiting to be classified in both categories. To ease back into the flow of things, next week I've decided to look at a small stack of CDs that are upgrades to my collection - either I've acquired better or complete artwork for my CD-R copies or I found an actual copy of the CD that replaces the CD-R altogether. Most of these upgrades occurred last Christmas during the 2006 downloading season and came from our good friends Ernie at Ernie (not Bert) and FaLaLaLaLa member PDMan. So here's the tentative schedule for next week: Monday, June 11 - Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas Tuesday, June 12 - The Don Les Harmonicats - Christmas With Wednesday, June 13 - Jan Garber - Christmas Dance Party Thursday, June 14 - The Moog Machine - Christmas Become Electric Friday, June 15 - Hawai

Opening Night

Last evening, we held our preview for the play I'm currently undertaking.  51 people showed up and so did our nerves... there were some mistakes, blown cues, dropped lines... but, that's why it's called a preview. Tonight is Opening Night and we're expecting a slightly larger crowd. So to get my mind off of things, I've decided devoting some time to the yuleblog is the perfect way to do just that. The local newspapers did a good job covering the show. For a good story and a few pictures of me resplendent in some of my Chicago Cub gear: This whole play has taken up a good amount of my time but I've missed banging the keyboard and talking about Christmas music. Stay tuned... another small post to follow today! Capt

The Yuleblog Days Of Summer

GREAT JUMPIN' ICEBERGS!!! Haven't typed that in a while so I figured I'd get that out of the way. Back in April , I announced that I was appearing onstage as an actor in a two man show about baseball (the main reason for the break). I figured six weeks off to commit to memory my lines for the play and I could again use the free time to devote to the yuleblog. I originally planned on cranking out the reviews again around the time I posted the Kay Martin review in conjunction with my 365 Days contribution in mid May. That was the plan. However, when you have 40 pages of dialogue to memorize, then add my stay at home dad duties, end-of-the-school year shebangs like school picnics, programs, and field trips, plus a few trips to Wrigley Field in Chicago to see my beloved Chicago Cubs mostly lose, time sort of has its way with you. We're just entered June, the play rehearsals are at the stage where I'm feeling extremely comfortable with the lines, movemen