Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Douglas Leedy - A Very Merry Electric Christmas To You

Several weeks ago, I posted a yuleblog entry about electronic music, the theremin, and the Moog. To quote from that entry:

"Any other Christmas Moog albums out there that I missed? I know of one which I found sealed in a Chicago record store that I'm planning on sharing next month..."

Well, here it is. My final offering for my Christmas in July celebration. Guess I saved the best for last.

There's not much out there on Douglas Leedy. According to a rather meandering Wikipedia entry, he was born in 1938, studied many varied styles of music all over the world, and has been composing and conducting music for most of his life.

He eventually ended up in Brentwood, California at UCLA. It was here that he founded UCLA's electronic music studio and specialized in the Moog and Buchla synthesizers and an electronic gizmo named the Ognob Generator:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Being so close to Hollywood, the good folks at Capitol Records soon came calling and asked Leedy in 1968 to record some albums. Right out of the box, he recorded an original TRIPLE album of synth music entitled "Entropical Paradise". Some of this music from the album ended up in the 1972 adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five".

In 1969, Leedy released "Zodiac", another original album of synth music. Two years later, Leedy and Capitol released the album you see here.

It's an aptly named album. If you love Moog / electronic music, then this is right up your street. Add Christmas and you're really in for a treat. Leedy's take on Christmas music is quite unique - several tracks are ethereal at the start, then a subtle Christmas melody takes over. Quite the rush.

Some of the ten tracks (which leaves you wanting more) sweep from channel to channel and can cause dizziness when operating heavy machinery as well. It's a trip and a half.

UPDATE: This album is now available to download online at emusic.com for the amazingly low price of 49 cents a track or $4.40 for the full album!  I'm getting my copy now before the Christmas rush - follow my lead and click the link.

This means this album is no longer available to download here at the yuleblog.  It also means one less LP to remaster down the road!


Even More Fun For Your Christmas In Mid-July

Here's the final batch of 2006 albums I've just pulled and reposted from the oven:

Bowen & Csehy - Christmas Steepletime

A Country Christmas

DeWayne Fulton - Christmas Greetings From

Earl Grant - Winter Wonderland

Jim & Tammy - Christmas With

Sy Mann & The Malvin Carolers - Let's All Sing Christmas Carols

The Bob Mantzke Choralaires - Christmas Songs

Pat O'Brien - A Quiet Christmas

The Piano Rolls & Voices - All Time Christmas Hits

Bob Ralston - Christmas Hymns & Carols

Happy listening...


Yuleblog Comments Pt. 2

I've gone back and answered comments left here at the yuleblog for the past two months. If you've left a comment here during that time, the answer now awaits you at the post you left it at. Or simply click on the link:

Zube has left a new comment on your post "JohnsCDs 2006-1172-001 - A Sleigh Full Of Joy: Sharity Rarities 2006":

Love your site, have been enjoying it for some time.

I would love to have a copy of this CD, but I can't make it work for me. I have dialup at home and the download never finishes. I have some blocking at work so fileshare is off limits. Would it be too much of an imposition to get you to upload this CD to filehosting.cc? That one I can download at work without problems.

Thanks, Zube

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "April 2007":

All right Captain. You do deserve a break! In fact, you deserve a raise!
Thanks for all the elbow greese on the keyboard! I have enjoyed the ride immensely!

Jonathan, a.k.a. RadioJonD

PDMan has left a new comment on your post "April 2007":

I have really enjoyed the reviews of all the compilations (whew!) and I hope you enjoy your time off from the site. Thanks for all the hard work!

JingleBellsesfromtheWellses has left a new comment on your post "April 2007":

Still going through the Yuleblog DT's but not as bad as a week ago. Hope you are enjoying your quality time while your public anxiously await your triumphant return!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "April 2007":

Do you have any recommendations on where to get ahold of Adventure of Carols by Ferrante & Teicher? It's only available for streaming at FALALALA.

Thanks for your help

Tony has left a new comment on your post "April 2007":

Capt - take TWO months off, you deserve it!

PDMan has left a new comment on your post "Kay Martin & Her Body Guards - I Know What He Wants For Christmas... but I don't know how to wrap it!":

Finally...a good scan of the back cover! You, sir, are THE MAN!

Stephen has left a new comment on your post "Kay Martin & Her Body Guards - I Know What He Wants For Christmas... but I don't know how to wrap it!":

Yep, I've loved this album since I first heard it a few years ago. It's as clever as it ever was, and even though it's obviously a low-budget album, it's better written than most music today. Sorry to hear that you got such an unwelcome response to your phone call.

Welcome back, Cap'n!

Mondo Loco has left a new comment on your post "Kay Martin & Her Body Guards - I Know What He Wants For Christmas... but I don't know how to wrap it!":

Thanks for the mention! Yes, Kay is a classic! I recently saw that a copy of her album "At the Lorelei" sold for $100+ on eBay! I was tempted, but decided to pass... I'll be adding her album "Kay Martin Sings Naughty and Nice Songs" in a few weeks. I also have the "In Las Vegas" LP, which was released with a few different covers. The one that shows here is the one I have. Excellent research and very interesting!!

Mondo Loco has left a new comment on your post "Kay Martin & Her Body Guards - I Know What He Wants For Christmas... but I don't know how to wrap it!":

I posted a bonus photo on the Groove Grotto — cheers!

Jonathan has left a new comment on your post "Kay Martin & Her Body Guards - I Know What He Wants For Christmas... but I don't know how to wrap it!":

Your generosity knows no bounds, Captain! Thanks!
What say we hit Reno and book a room at the lodge? They won't hang up on us there!

Ernie has left a new comment on your post "Eddie G's Sun-Drenched Xmas 2003":

As is my way, I stopped at the Goodwill store after work yesterday. The vinyl yielded a few goodies that I won't go into here, but the CDs turned up something I hadn't seen before. From the wacky folks at Rhino, circa 1995, it's Legends Of The Accordian, and who should be in there, but your own Eddie G. Apparently, he's the editor in chief of some mainstream accordian magazine, or at least he was back in 1994. He writes a couple paragraphs of liner notes, and there's a small picture of him with some lady, both playing the squeezebox. I don't know if this is going to help you get any closer to Eddie G, but maybe.

JohnWells has left a new comment on your post "The Yuleblog Days Of Summer":

Welcome back! Glad to hear that all is well in your life; the DT's subsided here somewhat....with the Yuleblog down and all....great to have ya back!!

stubbysfears has left a new comment on your post "The Yuleblog Days Of Summer":


Ernie has left a new comment on your post "The Yuleblog Days Of Summer":

There's a Christmas in July? Huh! Who'd a thunk it?

Stephen has left a new comment on your post "The Yuleblog Days Of Summer":

Looking forward to having you back, my friend.

Ernie has left a new comment on your post "Opening Night":

Break a leg, Cap'n!

Stephen has left a new comment on your post "Opening Night":

A play with a message - I like that. Sorry I didn't see this until now. I hope it all went well, Cap!

stubbysfears has left a new comment on your post "Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas (2006)":

Ah, the blog that refreshes!
Thank you! And congratulations upon your triumphant return.

stubbysfears has left a new comment on your post "The Don Les Harmonicats - Christmas With":

Well, if you harken back to your reviews in March (27th?), there's Bruce Kurnow's "Holidays In Harmonicaland".
Here's the CDBaby link.

It's a bit uneven, and a couple of the songs are new agey piano. But, as harmonica Christmas albums go...well, gee, there aren't a whole lot.

Ernie has left a new comment on your post "The Don Les Harmonicats - Christmas With":

Don't forget the 'Cats version of Winter Wonderland. It's just a little taste of what a great album these guys could have put out in their prime.

Ernie has left a new comment on your post "Jan Garber & His Orchestra - Christmas Dance Party":

This was one of the albums I wanted to share out last year, but PDman beat me to the punch. Plus, he had a stereo copy, so it worked out better this way. Great stuff!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Jan Garber & His Orchestra - Christmas Dance Party":

This is awesome!! Thank You so much for making these great christmas albums available. Top notch recording of the vinyl!!! Greg

PDMan has left a new comment on your post "Jan Garber & His Orchestra - Christmas Dance Party":

Thanks for the kind words, Capt! This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas albums and to happen onto a stereo copy was a real thrill. Glad everyone is enjoying it!

Puckwheat has left a new comment on your post "Hawaiian Christmas (TWO REVIEWS)":

Am I the only one that thinks that Santa looks like Avery Schrieber on this cover? OK, showing my age again! Glad to see the link is still good for this, too!

Ernie has left a new comment on your post "Hawaiian Christmas (TWO REVIEWS)":

I don't know why, but I have loved "Here Comes Santa In A Red Canoe" since I brought this record home. Did I mention I picked this up for a dime? Oh, yea...

PDMan has left a new comment on your post "Eddie Dunstedter, We Hardly Knew Ye...":

Christmas Candy is simply a fantastic album that you never tire listening to. Thanks for the info about Dunstedter - it's appreciated!

Puckwheat has left a new comment on your post "Eddie Dunstedter, We Hardly Knew Ye...":

I love all three of these. Never knew much about Eddie until now. Thanks, Captain!


L'il Wally & The Harmony Boys - A Polka Christmas

Earlier this year, I travelled solo to Chicago and raided every thrift store, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and vinyl record store in search of new and exciting Christmas albums. The trip yielded quite a harvest and this little nugget was one of my finds.

The Beverly neighborhood in the southwest corner of Chicago is a blue-collar, middle-class neighborhood that has flourished over the years. While other parts of Chicago look like Baghdad, this part of the city prides itself on its work ethic, family principles, and an urban sense of community that never went out of style back in the late 1960s like it did throughout the entire country.

Back in 1967, John Dreznes decided to buy a record store on South Western Avenue for his wife Christine. Christine wanted a positive place for neighborhood kids to visit, get after-school jobs, and a place where "Mrs. Dee" could keep an eye on her friends' kids. Her choice of name for this place? Beverly Records.

As the business took off, Christine expanded her horizons and soon the Dreznes family had four stores of their own scattered across the Chicago area, despite the fact she didn't know a "Beatle" from a "Monkee" to a "Rolling Stone". Beverly Records soon became known not just around Chicago but around the nation as THE place to find those amazing, rare, and otherwise forgotten albums that no one wanted anymore.

My brother took me to the main Beverly Records on Western Avenue for the first time in the early 1980s. I expected neatly organized racks and racks of albums, still in the wrap, well-lit, posters on the wall, young kids behind the counter, and a simple five minute visit.

When we entered, we nearly knocked over several dozen stacks of discounted 45s right at the door (10 cents each and if you took a stack on the way out, they probably wouldn't have cared). We entered and saw Mr. and Mrs. Dee behind the counter, cigarette smoke and a must smell was in the air, a soft Benny Goodman tune on the overheard speakers, records stacked up the walls, records under racks, records as far as the eye could see.

I remember squeezing through the aisles that were at least 2 feet in width. You shuffled sideways to get to your location and spent 15-20 minutes going through one rack. I asked for help in locating a Stan Freberg album (which was located in the other room) and Mr. Dee pointed the way.

They indeed had the album I wanted - the ORIGINAL album from 1954! I didn't want to pay the $30 price tag however. Mr. Dee then showed me a budget box underneath and found a "best of" Freberg album that was $9 and asked "Anything else?"

I asked about Christmas 45s and he gruffed "Christmas in June, eh?". He led me to a front closet that had their Christmas music in and I remember getting a 45 copy of "White Christmas" by The Drifters for $2. I still have that 45 and it was purchased in the same year I began my annual Christmas tapes - 1985.

Over the years, my family and I would trek to Beverly Records (always the main location) to find fabulous stuff. During my last visit to the store before I moved away from Illinois in summer of 1996, I purchased several Dr. Demento cassettes and two Christmas CDs. By this time, the Christmas section was in the back in a section of racks. I told myself it would never get bigger than this.

Flash forward to earlier this year. What was four stores in the 1980s were consolidated into the main location. When I entered, I had about 14 inches of space to move from the entrance to the main aisle which wasn't any larger. The store hadn't changed much - a few more CDs that I remembered but the stacks of stacks remained.

I slid around the aisles and looked for a Christmas section - there didn't seem to be one. Many "record" stores and "thrift" stores (including some Goodwill and Salvation Army stores) don't carry vinyl anymore. I hoped this wasn't the case. I approached the counter and asked. The employee led me to a back door and opened the padlock. I expected another closet of records.

Instead, the door opened to several back room additions and he led me to the wall of Christmas. That's right. A WALL approximately 8 foot high by 12 foot in length, completely crammed with Christmas albums. This was the mother lode, Shangri-La, and, well, Christmas all wrapped into one place.

During my two hours there, I found many rare and exciting titles (that I hope to share at Christmas). Among the budget albums was this simple polka Christmas album - no cardboard sleeve, no paper sleeve. It was in good shape and the price ($1) was satisfactory for me.

This is the type of music you'd hear at Christmastime in the Beverly neighborhood at taverns, VFW halls, or at family gatherings where the food and booze overflowed, kids ran rampant, and a great time was had by all. Many a Chicago Christmas was spent listening to music like this:

L'il Wally & The Harmony Boys - A Polka Christmas

L'il Wally & The Harmony Boys - A Polka Christmas (Artwork)

Late next month, Beverly Records will celebrate its 40th anniversary in business. The celebration will be a little bittersweet - Christine Dreznes died last month due to complications of pneumonia at the age of 87.

The Dreznes family continue to own and operate the store on 11612 South Western Avenue and if you get a chance, swing by the store - you'll spend over two hours there minimum.

If you can't visit the store in Chicago, stop by their website and search their catalog. Either way, they'll help you find what you're looking for.


Monday, July 16, 2007

More Fun For Your Christmas In Mid-July

I'm still hustling here... here's some more goodies from last year freshly updated:

Jimmy Dean - Jimmy Dean's Christmas Card

Pete Fountain - Candy Clarinet: Merry Christmas From (STEREO)

Will Glahe & His Orchestra - Christmas Greetings From Germany

Shirley & Squirrely - Christmas With

Happy listening...


Christmas In Mid-July

Wow... time has certainly had its way with me over these first few weeks of July. Between the T-ball games of my oldest daughter, chaperoned day care outings, theater obligations, travels to Chicago to see my family and my beloved Cubs, I have had zero time to do anything Christmas related. Especially when the kids don't want to play in the hot Indiana summer and rather play computer games.

And the scary thing is... my family and I are about to head to Chicago (again) and the rest of my July is booked solid. The silver lining around this is between today and Wednesday, I have a window to actually work at the computer (since I've hidden all my kids CD-ROMs but you didn't read that here).

My original plans were to share out around eight new Christmas albums and any re-link requests you submitted. Due to all my activities with the family, these have been scaled back. Not as bad as you think, though.

There will be four new Christmas albums to offer... and I'm working on posting ALL my shares from last year's downloading season in November and December. Sadly, I've misplaced my 2006 Christmas In July CD-R so I won't be able to post any of those... sorry!

To begin with, I've posted every album request I received via the re-link requests (with the exception of the A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2006). These include:

The Alcoa Singers - An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Pat Boone - White Christmas

Ken Griffin - Christmas Organ

Alex Houston & Elmer - Here Comes Peter CottonClaus

Pac-Man - The Pac-Man Christmas Album

O Tannenbaum - Christmas On The Rhine

As soon as I get the rest posted, you'll be the first to know. As soon as I complete the final touches on the four new Christmas albums, they'll be posted (sometime later today? Schedule permitting...).


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Yuleblog Update

Dear readers of the yuleblog,

If you haven't noticed, there hasn't been much activity around here for a while. It seems just as I'm ready to get into a flow, a routine, a schedule that I can follow to crank out some reviews, the fates conspire and I find myself back at square one.

About a week and a half ago, the play I was involved with since the beginning of March of this year ended, leaving me with actual free time to devote to whatever I wanted.

This is also where my summer began. The house & yard needed attending, the kids were thrilled to have their daddy back, we all travelled to Chicago to take in a Cub game and some museums, and the wife needed some much deserved time with all of us and by herself.

Yesterday was the first time I sat down in front of my computer in over a week. I was planning on working here yesterday and today but the backlog of e-mails from family and friends, and the yuleblog backlog of questions and comments still need to be addressed.


Today is July 3rd and the wife, kids, and I are ready to crank it up again. Between now and next weekend, our time will be split between the lake for the annual Fourth of July festivities and Chicago (yet again) because the wife desperately wanted to see The Police in concert and ended up maxing out a credit card to get 4th row from the stage seats at (you guessed it) Wrigley Field again!

So... the rest of my day will be spent not at the computer (like I hoped). Instead, it will be washing clothes and packing for yet another week on the road.

Sometime next week, Christmas in July will officially kick off here at the yuleblog. This gives you one last chance to get those re-link requests in (concentrate on the months of July, November, and December of last year).

In the meantime, our benevolent King Of Jingaling has kicked off his "Christmas-and-a-Half" celebration by sharing a alluring, awesome album that should end some searching for many at FaLaLaLaLa.com, that madman Ernie is yet again sharing a huge amount of rare tracks for his "Christmas In July" at Ernie (not Bert), and my good friend Jeff has a CN traincar-load of albums to share at his Jeffco Productions site.

Check them out and be sure to stop back in a week or so when I finally get my "Christmas In July" celebration going (I hope)!