Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2011

Merry Christmas!

We've had quite a year here - digitizing all of our Christmas music, a radio show, and remastering yuleblog samplers past.  But I can't complain.  

Taking the nine months to get every album and MP3 onto my hard drive (and an external hard drive for backup) was the best decision I may have made in my Christmas life.  To have every song at my fingertips saves me time and led to discoveries of songs I never knew I had.  I thought that what the CD was supposed to do but that only shows you how far in the past I was living.

The radio show was very satisfying.  The folks at the radio station were very supportive and thrilled with the end results.  Will it happen again next year?  I'm hopeful but only time will tell.  Lots of things are in store at the station... 

Okay... enough about you Capt...  where's the samplers?

During a break in digitizing in June, I went back and remastered the Yuleblog Samplers from 2008 and 2009.  Every 45 was re-recorded, washed through Sound Forge, and saved at a bitrate of 256k - none of that wimpy 128 or 192 stuff.  

What makes me proudest of this remaster was my work on the MP3 tags.  I finally found an MP3 tagger that was easy to use and I packed each one with info - I did deep Google searches for the first names of obscure composers and came up with quite a few.

Umm... Capt?  You're rambling... WE WANT SAMPLERS!

Okay, okay.  Be nice.  It's Christmas.

A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2008  (REMASTERED)

A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2009  (REMASTERED)

A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2010  (updated files & link)

Yeah, yeah, them's old news.  Where's the new stuff?  Where's the compilation of all-new stuff from the 45s you found from record shows, garage sales, record stores in three or four different states?  It's always here at Christmas time...

Come onnnnnnnn!

Alright, already!  Sheesh.  twenty three tracks this year.  Some disco, some polkas, two new Vietnam Christmas records, two imports from Canada, all very obscure...  until now. 

Your 2011 Christmas Yuleblog Sampler: 

Track 1 - Clayton Toman - Christmas, A Time For Everyone
CMS Records - 4805 (38076)  (1980)
Simple songs are usually the better songs - and this one, despite its obscurity, is pretty better than most.
Track 2 - Fred Astaire - Once A Year Night
Dick Clark Productions - DCP 201 DJ (DCP 201 AS)  (1979)
The classiest dancer of all time sings a song for a made-for-TV Christmas movie.  And according to the label, Astaire is a Dick Clark Production - who knew?
Track 3 -Jackie & The Cedrics - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Norton Records - 054 (45-054-B)  (199?)

Wicked surf guitar cover!  Recorded in Brooklyn by a band from Tokyo, Japan.  Their picture sleeve is a masterpiece!

Track 4 - Desiree Shane - Jingle Bell Disco
Rollins Records - RO-87 A  (1978)

I've got a weakness for Christmas disco.  I don't seek them out - they find me.  And this record show find certainly lives up to the title.  Even came with a response card, asking program directors if they'll play the song!

Track 5 - The Salas Brothers - Donde Esta Santa Claus
Faro Records - 625 (45-ATE-126)  (1966)

At least it's not Augie Rios singing this tune...  and I love how one of the Salases added their name to the songwriting credit!  Love the fuzz solo!

Track 6 - Tom Manche - Santa Used To Be A Baker
Les Howard - CPS 8701 (WRC3-5509)  (1987)

I just can't picture Santa kneading dough while wearing a hair and beard net.  A Canadian Christmas novelty from Calgary.

Track 7 - Marv Herzog - Round And Round The Xmas Tree
Sound Inc. - 291 (IRM 291-B X)  (1972)

Get-a down, get-a funky!  Nothing like Christmas polka to brighten your holidays!  And Herzog's serving it up like kielbasa at a PolishFest.

Track 8 - The Scot Lad Singers - I Love A Christmas Song
Martin's Super Market - SoN 2212 (2212 18)  (19??)

Martin's is a regional chain of supermarkets in Indiana and Michigan.  Scot Lad Foods was a company near where I grew up - lived on their canned veggies as a tyke.  Found this at a flea market in Warsaw, IN.

Track 9 - N-F-ECT - Radical Reindeer (Vocal)
Cold Express Records - 001 (001 A)  (1988)

An old-school rap song that never found the big time.  And after about 30 seconds, you'll know why.  Rather spend Christmas in Hollis...

Track 10 - Jane Carter - The Best Part Of Christmas
World Renowned Sounds - 2005  (WR7-72005B)  (1991)

How many non-classical Christmas waltzes can you name that were recorded in 1991?  Not many.  Definitely different from the rest.

Track 11 - Califone - Silver And Gold
Numero Group - Numero 008  (008 B)  (2003)

The most recent song to appear on any of my samplers, this cover will make you forget Burl Ives for a while... and that's a good thing no matter how you look at it.

Track 12 - Jimmy Neil - My Letter To Santa
Martin Records - 101  (MR 101-A)  (19??)
The first of two Vietnam Christmas records I found this year.  You know the story - a boy writes to Santa asking his daddy to come home.  Hard to swallow since it's a singin' schoolteacher asking the request...

Track 13 - Miss Sza'vee - A Prayer For Christmas
Soular Records - 501  (S-501-A)  (1969)

The other Vietnam Christmas record.  This one's sincere.  If you need further proof, the picture sleeve says it all.

Watch for the flip side on my Christmas CD next year.

Track 14 - The California Raisins - Hark!
Atlantic Records - 89008  (ST-A-56042-SP)  (1988)

Strictly for the California Raisins completists...

Track 15 - Larry Klevos - When Santa Does The Polka
World Renowned Sounds - 2005  (WR7-72005A)  (1991)

The A side of track 10 (see above).  Yep, another Christmas polka. 

Track 16 - Nat Stuckey - How Can Christmas Be Merry?
Paula Records - 288 (SL-1295)  (1967)

This record was a NIGHTMARE to capture.  Lots of pops, cracks, and scratches but Sound Forge did a great job cleaning it up. Glad it came out okay - very good tune!

Track 17 - The Rovers - Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Attic Records - 275 (AT 275-A-2)  (1982)

Before Elmo & Patsy assaulted the airwaves with this one, the Rovers released this cover in Canada.  Not too many covers of this song out there...  you surprised?

Track 18 - David Whitfield (with Stanley Black & His Orchestra) - Santo Natale (Merry Christmas)
London Records - 1508  (DRF-19622)  (1954)

Whitfield was the first UK male vocalist to have a gold record, a Top Ten hit on the Billboard Top 100, and the first to sell 1,000,000 copies in America.  The oldest song on this year's sampler.

Track 19 - Little Jimmy Osmond - If Santa Were My Daddy
MGM Records - 14328 (71-L-2780)  (1971)

The youngest of the Osmond clan, this is hardcore Christmas bubblegum.  Not for the faint of heart.  The following year, Jimmy has a Christmas Number One in the UK with "Long Haired Lover From Liverpool".

Track 20 - Bob Morrison - It's Christmas
Columbia Records - 43786 (ZSP-115994)  (1966)

One of the rare instances in which the B side ("Santa Mouse") is far better than the A side. 

Track 21 - Peter Foldy - My Christmas Wish For You (Vocal)
Nightflite Records - 108 (NFS 108-A)  (1982)

Another Canada track - this one's on the easy listening side.  Has a Neil Sedaka feel to it, complete with multi-tracking vocals from Foldy.

Track 22 - Scott Grimes - We Believe In Christmas
Jamex Records - 017 (J-45-017A)  (1984)

Grimes was a kid actor with a singing career in the early 1980s.  This epic single was produced by Rick Segall, a kid actor of the 1970s!

Track 23 - Art Walunas & His Orchestra - Silver Bells
Dearborn Records - 528 (ZTSC-107352)  (1970)

The third and last Christmas polka to grace this year's sampler. 


The obligatory two secret bonus tracks.

Possibly my favorite tracks on this year's sampler.

A Christmas Yuleblog Sampler - 2011

Okay, here's the part where the Capt talks about his year, what's next, how he's gonna re-invigorate this blog again by adding new remastered titles, updating the template, giving it a fresh look, and start writing reviews again.

We've heard it all before...

There's not a lot I can add this year, folks.  I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wait...  what about the promises, the updates, all of that?

I made those promises in the past and nothing came of them.  I'm not going to promise or commit to anything with the yuleblog.  If it happens, I trust you'll be around and I hope you'll like what I have to offer.

So, you are going to make changes, re-add the titles, etc.?

I appreciate all the kind comments about the music left here (not keen on the spammers) and you've been terrifically loyal through these many years.  I'd love to add all the changes but that takes a commitment of time and effort.  
I can't commit to that.  Only time will tell.  Be patient and hope for the best.

Whatever, Capt.

If you're one of the people in red, thanks for stopping by.  If you're a fan of the yuleblog, thanks for sticking around all these years and for appreciating the music.  I'm glad you understand what I've tried to do here since the beginning.

To you and yours, a sincere wish for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rob Martinez
aka CaptainOT

See you next Christmas Capt.  Peace.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Did you receive one of these?  
If so, click here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

What's the deal with this place?

To the readers of the yuleblog,

I appreciate all the non-spam comments I've received here (over 150 comments) since my last blog post in March.  Or the last month when the Cubs were in first place.  Each of the comments were published and posted to their individual blog entries.  

At some point in time, I hope to get to answer them.  At some point in time, I hope to rework this blog - correct the grammar errors caused by glitches in the code and by the author, upgrade the template, expand the columns to add more stuff, etc, etc, etc.

Then there's the little matter of sharity.

All of my shares were hosted by Rapidshare since the beginning.  About two years ago, they reworked their plans and upped their yearly fees.  I had banked enough Rapid points based on download hits that allowed the shares to be carried without cost to me until June of this year.

I made the decision not to renew my account with RS for the following reasons:

1.)  Many of the shares were recorded on my old turntable on my old computer.  They sounded like, for lack of a better word, sh-t.  

2.)  I've been slowly (and I mean slowly) re-recording my albums for future use.  SOPA is lurking around the corner so we'll see what the future brings.

My time away from this place has seriously diminished my blog skills.  If I update this interface and the template, it might help me make up for it but, again, it requires time to do so.  I started at 4 PM to make three changes to my blog tonight (added the 2011 playlist to my study guide, added an entries announcing that, and this announcement post here).  It's currently 11:45 PM.

I should be at one of my daughter's basketball games right now but I made the decision to post this tonight.  In all matters, my family comes first over a blog.

From day one, I've tried my best for every entry a cut above my normal standards.  I've tried to provide the best info and a level of writing that many of you find entertaining.  Anything below that isn't fair to you.

It would be very easy to click on the "DELETE THIS BLOG NOW" button that Blogger has provided and say "hey, I've had a great run."  

But I'm not going to throw in the towel just yet. 


On to some encouraging news:

The question I keep getting asked repeatedly online and at my PO Box is "Where can I find back copies of the Yuleblog Samplers?"

Backstory:  The first samplers from 2006 and 2007 are gone.  They were simply repeats of songs I had already posted in other shapes or forms here.  If you got an album share of my old stuff, you got the tracks within these samplers.

And they sounded like sh-t.  So I pulled them from rotation - they won't be offered by me again.

The 2008 sampler and 2009 sampler are still up (I think).  Even if they're not, they sound like sh-t and they're not worth your time downloading.  And since I'm not on Rapidshare, I couldn't take them down if I tried.  

The 2010 sampler was the first to be recorded on my new turntable with the new computer and is worth your time and effort to go get.

In about two weeks - the weekend before Christmas - I will be posting REMASTERED versions of the 2008 and 2009 samplers along with the 2011 sampler.


The King of Jingaling at is taking this Christmas off but the keepers of the forum are putting together a Christmas sampler in his stead.  They were very kind to ask me to contribute a track to the mix - click the link, sign up to become a member, and feast upon lots and lots of amazing Christmas music, information, and some of the friendliest internet forum members on the planet.


And now, for the big finish...

A major portion of the year was spent working on my Christmas digitization.  The other part of the year was spent volunteering at WBOI-FM 89.1 FM / here in Fort Wayne.  I've been editing movie reviews, interview segments, and learning about all aspects of the station.

Since it went public today, I'm excited to announce... well, click on the link:

Heading out tomorrow for our annual Christmas weekend in Chicago.  The kids are trying deep dish pizza for the first time and there's a famed record shop in the shadow of the hotel we're staying at.  

I'm in heaven...


Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Towering Project; or What I'm Doing Rather Than Working On This Blog

“I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.” - Goethe

What you are looking at is approximately two and one-half years in the making.  The tower of CDs represents the 240+ Christmas albums I've downloaded in that span of time from various Christmas blogs and sharity sites around the Internet.  Various blogs?  Half of these came from that mad genius Ernie (not Bert)...  thanks for doing your part for the economy Ern!

At the beginning of 2009, I was overwhelmed by the task of getting everything organized and burned.  So it began to pile up here, some over there, and everything that was downloaded was uploaded onto a Western Digital 500 GB external hard drive.

After getting a new computer last year, I began cataloging all of the albums onto my master spreadsheet; a task that probably would have taken me a month if I really worked at it.  But I didn't work at it that hard.  I took a rather leisurely pace, causing it to stretch on and on well into the summer and fall.

As soon as the cataloging was done, I began assembling and labeling the CD-Rs for each CD, printing out the artwork for each CD, and keeping each CD in alphabetical order so the burning process would be streamlined.  

About a month into this phase, the 2010 Christmas season was underway.  Another 100+ albums were added thanks to Christmas gifts, my own purchases, several donations to my P.O. Box, and the generous (and boy do I MEAN generous) Christmas sharity community.  Back to square one with more cataloging and assembling.

In the middle of all of this physical assembly and organization, I made an important decision.  Since 1/3 of my collection had come from Christmas shares and was digitized already, I bit the bullet and began to make plans to digitize the other 2/3 of the collection - possibly eliminating the need for burned CDs in the future.

So while I was adding new entries onto my spreadsheet, I was working on FOUR other spreadsheets: the first was keeping track of all the Christmas downloads for the past year, the second was organizing what Christmas shares I needed to burn to CD, the third was determining what Christmas albums (including artwork) that are or aren't digitized.

Armed with the lists, I now go forth.  Starting with A&M's 1997 In Store Christmas Sampler and ending with Christmas With Zamfir, I will be working on digitizing all of the Christmas CDs in my collection.

Count as of 3/5/2011:  

1,572 albums

25,508 songs

During this process, I will try to post links of the albums I've downloaded over the past four years.  This way, the two or three people who read this blog will be able to listen to the albums I've burned or will be burning.  

I'll actually be able to listen to some of these albums for the first time (remarkable, huh?) and maybe add a one or two line comment on each album.

The whole purpose of this blog was to keep track of new additions to my collection.  In posting the links, I'll be doing two jobs at once.  We'll see how this will end up...  Stay tuned.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The album you are looking at holds a special spot in my collection.  It was one of the first Christmas albums I actively searched for when I seriously began collecting Christmas music.  It also was the first album I ever shared online (first at, then here).  

And it's still one of the most popular shares in my sharity list  (over 800 downloads since I first posted this).

Since I'm a sentimental guy, I decided when I got my new USB turntable in hopes of remastering many of my older shares that this would be the first album that would get the star treatment.

I think Mae West would have been pleased.

I had rescanned the covers (300 dpi) and the record labels and was getting ready to drop the needle to re-record the glorious tones of Ms. West.


I was reading my new copy of Goldmine Magazine and discovered a vendor selling a new Canadian import 2-for-1 CD.  In addition to this album, you get West's 1970 album "The Fabulous Mae West" that features 11 songs and was issued in conjunction with her appearance in the dreadful movie "Myra Breckinridge".

Best Buy's online site tells us that this was released on January 4, 2011.  Soooooo, I've taken the old share offline and sadly, I won't be posting the new remastered version.  

Do us a favor - read through my sharity list and see which titles jump out at you.  Which of these albums should be given the full remastered treatment?

Leave us a comment and let me know your choices...  who knows, I might be able to post something new!