It's time for the second CD of my 2009 Christmas So Long Ago music. This is the 6th or 7th year that I have been collecting old and mostly unknown Christmas music, with most years yielding 2-3 CD's-worth of songs. When I started this project, I was mostly getting music for my own listening (and sing-along) pleasure. But I also include some music that is not really the kind I really like but is interesting for its historic place in Christmas. I also like to mix up the music on each CD so that there are some songs that are cute, some are beautiful, some are religious, and some just something else that seems to fit the mix. The songs on this CD are no different. I hope you enjoy them! You will also notice that I include a CD insert page that can be printed on regular paper and then cut and folded. It has a list of all the songs with as many of the recording dates as I have been able to find. I also use pictures from vintage Christmas cards as the cover. You can use these inserts to give the CD's out to your friends if you wish.
The first song is one that is listed as Ernie Benedict and His Polkateers with the vocals by the Kendall Sisters, named "The Little Toy Village". It was recorded in either 1949 or 1950. I now own the 78 rpm and have taken the song from it. As I was researching the date of this recording, I found a blog (click to visit it) on which the writer mentions this song. She has pictures of a very cute toy village that she says her mother made for her. I hope she and her readers visit here and download this song. I will also be putting this song on You Tube later with some of the pictures she uses, as part of the video portion. So you can look for it there also. I am Jassnaround on You Tube, which you can find by doing a search. Or just search the song name.
Another 78 rpm record that I recently acquired is Fran Allison (of Kubla, Fran and Ollie I think) Sings Merry Xmas Songs Part2. The song is "Christmas In My Heart", one of the beautiful songs on this CD. It was recorded in 1950.
I am very excited to have found one of the last two of my missing records for Frank Luther and Zora Layman - Christmas in Song Vol 2. This record, again a 78 rpm, has been mislabeled. It is actually Part 3 and Part 4 but the labels are for Part 3 and Part 2. I found a brief listing on the internet of the songs on Part 4 and they match the songs that are on my record, but not what the label says. So I am happy to say that I am positive that this record is Part 3 and 4. I am still hoping to someday find the last missing record, which would be Parts 1 and 2 of Christmas in Song, Vol 2. Anyway, I am sure you will enjoy this record.
One of my very favorite songs here is by Gayla Peevey, "Are My Ears On Straight?" about a doll that gets broken right before Christmas. She goes to the shop to be repaired and worries whether her little girl will still love her when she is picked up from the shop on Christmas Day. (Guess they still had shops open on Christmas back then, or else the doll is confused.) I have also made a video of this one that can be found on You Tube, once I get it uploaded there. My mother left me her doll from her childhood and I used pictures of it and her doll's adopted brother doll on that video. So it will be especially interesting to my family members, I think. My mother was born in 1928, and I am not sure how old she was when she got the doll, but I would guess that dates the doll to the early 1930's. She certainly loved it and kept it all of her life. So I think it is very appropriate to the song. You are invited to check it out too.
The next song, by the Holy Trinity Male Quartette is "Christmas Eve at Grandma's". It was recorded in 1926 and is a lively, fun song. You can also find it on You Tube.
The Hoosier Hot Shots were a very comical group of musician from Indiana and the included song, "Jingle Bells" is definitely not the typical rendition of that song. Since I am/was a Hoosier, I especially enjoy this one. It was recorded in 1936 and you will dance to this one.
"If Everyday Were Christmas" by Jane Froman is a lovely song that you will want to hear. It was recorded in 1954.
In the "Cute" category is "Santa! Don't Pass Me By" by Jimmy Donley. I like to hear kid songs, especially at Christmas, and this one is a good one.
Ken Griffin made many recordings on his organ back in his day. I found this 78 rpm record of "Star of the East" by Ken Griffin. On You Tube I have the lyrics as part of the video. So if you want to sing along, look for it there.
"The St Nicholas Waltz" by Lita Roza was recorded in 1953. Then Lord Beginner's "Christmas Morning, the Rum Had Me Yawning" is next. It reflects the strange Christmas traditions in his native land of Jamaica, I think, recorded in 1939. Has a great Jamaican beat to it and adds to the CD mix very nicely. Then we are back to Cute with Lu Ann Simms' "I Just Can't Wait Til Christmas", which was recorded in 1954.
Vaugh DeLeath has been included on my blog before and here she is again with Jack Kaufman playing as two little children in a toy shop. It is very typical of the time, 1927, and is called "Jimmy and Mary's Christmas". It makes me feel like I am back in 1927 and can see what they are seeing in their time. Of course, children (including all of us) always have been and will be facinated by a toy store, so you have no problem knowing what they are feeling.
Want something to go along with "Santa Baby"? Well this is the original Cute-Sexy Christmas song, done by Mae Questal who was the voice for Betty Boop and other cartoon characters. This is "I Want You for Christmas". I have the same song by Russ Morgan and it is done in a lovely romantic style. But this version is my favorite, I think. It was recorded in 1937.
Back to Lu Ann Simms, the other side of the record, which is "Dance of the Candy Dolls", a great adaptation from the Nutcracker Suite. Recorded in 1954 of course. Next, Mark Warnow and Dick Todd recorded "All Around the Xmas Tree" in 1946 and you can hear it here.
Then we have Vaugh De Leath again as Gloria Geer, which she recorded under sometimes. This was recorded in 1925. Back then I guess Santa had Brownies instead of (or in addition to) Elves. You will hear them sing on this song. Then "Gloria" sings "Stand Under the Mistletoe" to Santa.
The next song is by an independent label, with no label name. I found the 78 rpm record and really like the song, but had to work some on making the vocal a little louder. It is still somewhat overpowered by the accompaniment, but better. It was recorded by Mary Berghoff, and due to the fact that there is no label name, I do not have any way to date it. But it was on a 78 record so that at least dates it to between the 1920's to the 1960's. If anyone has more information on this singer, record, or song, I would love to hear about it. The name of the song is simply "Merry Christmas". You will also be able to find it on You Tube (later). It is a lovely song.
Next, we have Mary Martin singing "Making Believe It's Christmas Eve" from 1954. Then a "lost" recording that is not particularly well made but still an interesting song is "Santa Claus Boogie Song" by the Ridge Riders. I also included Sammy Kaye's version of "Here Comes Santa Claus" from 1949. I know it is not unknown by most of us (which is one of my goals for my blog), but I always have liked the song and also like Sammy Kaye, so what's not to like about this song, after all? Another beloved Christmas song, here done by Stubby and the Buccaneers is "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas", recorded in 1949 - a better than usual rendition.
In the lovely and religious category we have the Frank Davino Chorus singing "Lonely Old Shepherd" from 1955. Really a great Christmas song.
The next group, The Korn Kobblers, were similar to the Hoosier Hot Shots in that they did comical music. This has got to be one of the funniest titles and the song is very entertaining! It is called "Don't Give Me No Goose For Christmas, Grandma". It was recorded in 1940. In it the singer suggests that Grandma could instead give "tickets for the Follies" or a polly or a duck. For all of you Grandmas out there, if you are planning to give a goose this year, maybe you should check with the recipient first?
The Minster Choir sings "Sweet Christmas Bells" next, which was recorded in 1917. Then to end the CD group, we have Vaugh De Leath once more with "The Spirit of Christmas", recorded in 1925. In 2009 we have grown even further away from the original Spirit of Christmas. Here Vaugh reminds us of what we should be celebrating at Christmas. I think it is a great way to finish this set of Antique Christmas Music songs.
11/27/2009 : Corrected copy of Lu Ann Simms - Dance of the Candy Dolls to remove some background noise. Above file is the corrected copy.