Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas CD Reviews

Friends of old Christmas music:
I have a new website professionally designed by Amy Bianco Web Design at http://www.vintagemusicroom.com/. Just got it going October 2011 and it is so nice. I have all my music that was available on this blog there with tracks that I had not shared for free here, plus new music just added for the 2011 Christmas season. You will notice that they are all collected on CDs and the website is searchable too. If you are looking for a particular song or artist, now it will be easy to find it. Also most of my tracks have 30 second clips so you can hear part of the song right on the website. You can also listen to all of the clips in the Music Room. Great ways to find the songs you love, also.

I have not been able to keep the free downloads on this blog due to the cost of the server for storing the files. Instead I have invested that money into the new website with the hope of making a little Christmas shopping money while still giving my e-friends great old-time Christmas music fun. You will notice that for your $12.99 per CD, each CD is packed with music. Most of them have so many tracks that I could not put another track on it. Organizing the music into CDs was sometimes a challenge because I would have more tracks that would have gone on the CD but had to be put somewhere else because the CD was so full. Well, my point is that, even though you have to pay for the CDs, you sure get your money's worth.

Thought I would let you know about some of the newest Vintage Christmas Music CDs that I just released this year. I am really excited about them.

Brenda Lee 1950's Christmas
Everyone remembers Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Jingle Bell Rock". Got them both on this CD plus every other B.L. Christmas song that she did in the 50's, at least I think so. I really love "Gonna Lasso Santa Claus" and "Papa Noel".

Complete Christmas with Patti Page
Patti Page in the 1950's had such a lovely smooth voice and she was a big hit. All the Christmas songs that she did in the 1950's are on this CD. My favs are "Christmas Choir", "Pretty Snowflakes", "Little Donkey", and "Happy Birthday, Jesus". Also included, because they seem to fit in so well, are "The Mama Doll Song" and "I Wanna Go Skating with Willie". As a kid, my sisters and I had records with many of Patti Pages songs done just for children, so I remember her voice fondly.

Complete Peggy Lee Christmas
If you love Patti Page, you probably also love Peggy Lee. I wouldn't be able to choose which one has the greatest voice and both have such memorable music. From this CD, you can hear the very popular "I Like a Sleighride" and "Ring Those Christmas Bells". Also other premier tracks are "The Christmas Spell", "The Christmas Riddle", and "Don't Forget to Feed the Reindeer". She also did radio performances on Bing Crosby's show. I found the track "Manana (Christmas version)" there. She sings it with Bing Crosby and it is so funny, you will be singing it all season, I'll bet. These tracks are hard to find elsewhere, so jump over to http://www.vintagemusicroom.com/ and listen to the clips right now. You will want to take the CD home with you.

Dinah Shore and Judy Garland Christmas
I love both of these ladies' music and they both were performing heavily in the 1940's. These tracks span into the 1960's with about half of them by Dinah and half by Judy. Dinah Shore sings "I'll Walk Alone (Through Every Christmas)" which was popular in WWII. Also another one I love is "You Meet the Nicest People". "The Merry Christmas Polka" is lots of fun, too. Now Judy, with her sultry voice, has "Merry Christmas" and "Star of the East" on this collection. Don't you just love them?

Gene Autry - The Complete Santa Claus Collection
I absolutely LOVE Gene Autry's Christmas songs. He wrote "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", you will remember. He also wrote many, many other children's songs. He was known as the "Singing Cowboy" and has a very good grasp of what children enjoy in Christmas music. Although he did other Christmas music, I chose only the Santa Claus songs for children because the CD is full with just them. Just to mention a few of my favorites: "Santa's Comin' in a Whirly Bird" (that is a helicopter for those not in the know), "Thirty-two Feet and Eight Little Tails", "I Wish My Mom Would Marry Santa Claus", "If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas", and "The Night Before Christmas" with Rosemary Clooney. If you are an old kid or know one, or have a child, this is just the Christmas CD for you.

The Lennon Sisters 1950s - Thanks For Christmas
I took the title of the CD from one of the great tracks on the CD, "Thanks For Christmas". If you were alive in the 1950's, you probably saw "The Lawrence Welk Show" on TV. These 4 girls were one of the most popular performers the show had. They have such a smooth, close-harmony delivery and are a true pleasure to listen to. Many of these tracks were taken from recordings of the TV show and had unique noise that had to be removed because of that. But they turned out great! Just listen to "Christmas Island" and "Christmas Moon" to hear them at their best. And who could resist the littlest one, Janet? She sings "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" on this CD. You can also hear "Outer Space Santa" and "Peppy the Peppermint Bear" and I closed the CD with the beautiful "Merry Christmas From Our House to Your House". Think you will love it.

Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Fred Waring "12 Songs of Christmas" (the entire LP album)
Boy did I look hard to find this LP. It was not ever reproduced on CD to my knowledge and did not sell well when it debuted. (Can't see any reason it didn't.) But it has some unique tracks. This LP was the only place where the track by Bing Crosby entitled "Christmas Candles" could be found (before now, of course). Also two duets with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra -- "Go Tell It On the Mountain" and "We Wish You the Merriest". Frank sings "An Old-Fashioned Christmas", "Little Drummer Boy", and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". Great for Bing and Frank collectors. Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians was a very popular chorus and its inclusion gives this album a good choral mix.

Everything Bing Crosby For Christmas
Do you have any idea how many Christmas songs Bing recorded? It was so many that this is a 4 CD set! I researched and think I found every one of them. We ALL know and love Bing's great crooning voice. How much better could Christmas music be than when he is singing it?! This set is unique with so many tracks that are difficult to find or totally not available elsewhere.
· Frank Sinatra and Bing singing “The Snowman” which, even though not of the best sound quality, is fun and great to have in your Bing collection.
· One of the most popular Christmas songs, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, is sung by three different female singers -- Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Gloria Wood. Each version is quite different from the others and lots of fun to listen to.
· Another rare track is taken from a skit done on Bing Crosby’s Chesterfield Show in 1949 featuring the great Jimmy Stewart. He was reputed to have been very shy. Bing and Jimmy have fun acting out and singing Jimmy’s engagement speech to his new bride Gloria Hatrick. They end by singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. This may be the first CD collection that has the entire radio skit and I think you will love it.
· A lively version of “Jingle Bells” as aired on Bing’s 1946 Chesterfield Christmas show will get you tapping your toes.
· Peggy Lee had one of her first hits with the song “Manana”. On her December 1949 visit to Bing’s Chesterfield Show, she made up new Christmas lyrics for it, and sang it with Bing. Again this may be the first collection that includes this track.
· We also have included “Here Comes Santa Claus” with Peggy Lee from the 1949 show.
· From the 1968 Christmas TV special, the song “Christmas Glow Worm”, sung with Dorothy Collins, is here.
· A song that does not appear in any list of Bing’s Christmas songs that we could find is included. It was attributed to Bing Crosby and Perry Como and titled “Santa Claus (Is Here to Pay a Call)”. It certainly sounds like Bing Crosby but I cannot be positive about the other voice being that of Perry Como. (Sounds more like Danny Kaye to me.) You can hear it for yourself here and judge. It is a fun song and fits in nicely in this set.
· “Christmas Candles” is a beautiful love song for the season and hard to find in other collections.

Taken from radio recordings, shellac and vinyl records, and television shows, this collection spans Bing’s entire career. If you are a Bing Crosby fan, or if you just want some lovely Christmas music to get you into the holiday mood, you will find this collection is something that you will want to play and keep for many years to come.

An American Christmas (from the Saturday Evening Post archives)

An American Christmas is a delightful collection of Americana that was originally a radio show and first aired in 1984. It was created on 33 rpm LP records to be used by the radio station. This set consisted of 12 LP records and would have aired over 12 or more hours. The last track of the series, containing the signoff and credits, was aired only once during the Christmas season and that was at 2:40 pm on Christmas day, according to a large hand-written note attached to the record set I own.

The writer of this huge project, Bob Shannon, wrote that he had to put this entire program together in four months and had difficulty deciding who he would interview for the personal recolletions. In the end, he picked the prefect subjects -- just plain folks that he found in malls, schools, even nursing homes.

“My goal was to capture voices of all ages. I met a woman who'd been in one of Bob Hope's overseas Christmas shows and a man from Australia, who told me about going to the beach on Christmas day. I heard the story of a soldier in the middle of the Mekong Delta whose most poignant memory was of a helicopter blaring "Jingle Bell Rock" through the fury of a Christmas Eve firefight. I collected memories.”

This set of 6 CDs contains almost 8 hours of music, personal interviews taken from the Saturday Evening Post archives, and other memorabilia such as presidential speeches and history of Christmas songs and traditions. It is narrated by Alex Burton.
Some of the artists include….
· The Beatles
· Elvis Presley
· John Denver
· Bing Crosby
· Frank Sinatra
· Dean Martin
· Wayne Newton
· Perry Como
· Andy Williams
· Johnny Mathis
· Robert Goulet
· Engelbert Humperdinck
· Will Greer (Grandpa Walton)
· Bill Cosby
· Lou Rawls
· The Carpenters
· Kenny Rogers
· Willie Nelson
· Glen Campbell
· The Beach Boys
· The Lettermen
· The Temptations
· Nat King Cole
· Barbra Streisand
· Roger Miller
· Bobby Vinton
· Merle Haggard
· Roger Whittaker
· Emmy Lou Harris
· Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers
· Gladys Knight
· Nancy Wilson
· John Schneider
· Brenda Lee
· Henry Hadaway
· Ben E. King
· The Ronettes
· The Oak Ridge Boys
· The Glenn Miller Singers
· Bob B. Soxx and the Bluejeans
· The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
· The Do-Re-Mi Childrens Chorus
· Lorne Greene
· The Muppets
· Michael Jackson
· Jackson Five
· Burl Ives
· Elmo and Patsy
· The Eagles

The Saturday Evening Post, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1828, is a impressive source of the history of our American life. Even the CD cover artwork, by the popular artist Norman Rockwell, which was used as the cover for the December 21, 1935 edition of the Saturday Evening Post magazine has been incorporated into this wonderful snapshot of the American Christmas experience.

Hope you can visit me at http://www.vintagemusicroom.com/ this Christmas season.

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