Yuletide Fourway (four different versions of a Christmas classic you may not have heard before)
The Chipmunk Song (the whales, canned heat, three suns, phillips craig & dean) (mp3's in zip)
Vintage Christmas Fun (Four more old sides from Christmas past)
Gloria Geer - Santa Claus At The Christmas Party / The Spirit of Christmas Gracie Fields - Gracie's Christmas Party 1 & 2 (mp3's in zip vintagechristmas_geer_fields)
Old Time Radio Christmas (Fibber McGee and Molly were a radio staple throughout the 30's, 40's and well into the 50's. Here's a quick FAQ. More info and show downloads can be found at the Unofficial Fibber McGee and Molly Page)
The Teaching Company is spreading some holiday cheer by offering a pair of seasonal lectures for free...
In Christmas in Victorian Britain, Professor Allitt explores the celebration of Christmas as we know it today, with decorations, music, and lavish gift exchanges, and where it began-Victorian Britain. While the holiday had older traditions such as those that celebrated the winter solstice, the Victorians enhanced and clarified the religious elements of Christmas while at the same time commercializing it.
After familiarizing yourself with the origins of modern day Christmas, explore Christmas in 19th Century America. How did different ethnic groups in America celebrate Christmas in the early 19th century? Why did New Englanders often want to avoid all forms of celebration while Pennsylvania Germans dressed up, visited each other, and drank heavily? After the Civil War, Christmas celebrations began to be standardized throughout the nation under the influence of the new department stores, which ran the Christmas-oriented marketing campaigns we are familiar with today.
Link: Basic Hip Digital Oddio. A dozen snazzy sonic snapshots of season oddio from he likes of Jack Webb, The Three Suns, Mel Blanc, Lenny Dee and more. Click the LP covers to stream yourself a merry little Christmas.
"...Abba simply has a million tribute albums dedicated to them and have influenced artists of nearly every genre. As I've stated before here and here, this could become an all-Abba cover blog and I could post multiple tracks a day for decades and still not repeat any tracks. Therefore, assembling the following list involved heading deep into my discs and giving up when I couldn't find what I wanted and trying to find them *cough* elsewhere. I've had Abba on the brain since catching their 30th anniversary documentary on Ovation the other day and realizing how fantastically talented they were, which, really, I knew long ago... Anyhow, I've finally managed to escape from days of foraging for Abba covers (falling into the A-Hole?) and I bring the following nuts and berries your way."
Old Time Radio Christmas (The tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas is an English custom I'm particularly fond of so, I'll be sprinkling in a fair number of seasonal chillers among the comedy,variety and sentimental dramas.)
"... boy, do we have a kiddie Christmas to remember. We start with two tracks by the Marty Gold Children's Chorus, both chronicling the triumphs of unusual, vaguely Rudolph-esque heroes. The first title comes closest to aping the Montgomery Ward fable, though it conks out midway. You'll recall that Rudolph's target of bigotry (his shiny nose) eventually earns him a place at the head of the team (from which, hopefully, he passed wind on his critics.). By contrast, Roaring Sam the Snowmobile's loud engine noise--the source of his ostracism--is changed by Santa into a more pleasant sound, whereupon everyone likes Sam. Kind of the antithesis of the Rudolph story, and not much of a story, to boot..."
Cyril Stapleton And His Orchestra With Children's Chorus-Children's Christmas Album
"Here's another great cover that features some kids, and this time the music is worth at least one listen. I think the orchestra is great on this LP, but the singing children could be better. But what do you want for a record that cost me $0.50?"
"It seems that lots of people had this record as kids and had lots of fond memories attached to it. It is the album that I consistently get the most requests for. Some beg. Some plead. Some offer exhorbitant amounts of money (and some pay it on Ebay--a sealed copy went for $100 just the other day)."
"...This album came out in 1968, the same year that MisteRoger’s Neighborhood gained national distribution through the NET, which later became PBS. I was kind of hoping that some of the characters on the album would be played by Mr. Rogers, but real actors were used instead. He did a lot of the voices for the puppets on his television show, you know, the characters in his “Kingdom of Make-Believe.” Those voices were pretty funny, when I think back on it – the haughty voice of the regal King Friday; the crinkly-throated Lady Elaine; the whiny and shy Daniel Tiger; and the “meow-meow-meow” of Henrietta Pussycat..."
"In the 1940's, Doodles Weaver was a prominent member of Spike Jones' City Slickers. He often played a character named "Professor Feetlebaum" who would randomly shout out "FEETLEBAUM!". Due to a severe alchohol problem, Doodles was eventually fired when he went too far with a live television commercial..."
E (NB) shares the Moog Machine's classic Christmas Becomes Electric LP...
"Who'd a thunk it? There are actually two Moog Christmas LPs out there. When the King Of Jingaling shared out one over at FaLaLaLaLa, I knew I had to try and get the other one out. This one isn't quite as out-there as his, but it's still bleepy. Sort of reminds me of a cross between Mannheim Steamroller and an ice cream truck. Don't ask me why it makes me think of those two things, but it does. So please, download The Moog Machine-Christmas Becomes Electric (Columbia CS 9959) and you tell me what it reminds you of."
Relentlessly upbeat collection of annotated Top Ten lists reads like the world's longest Entertainment Weekly sidebar article. There's a lot of information here but most of it will be familiar to festive tivia fanatics. Lists cover all the usual topics including Holidays Films, TV specials, songs, traditions and so on.
Christmas's Most Wanted makes an excellent starter course into the realm of Crimble pop culture factoid collection.
"Lord Lucan writes the following in his review of the disc including a group "intonation" and the sounds of a "Summer Cornfield":
The ‘Environments’ series of records emerged in the mid-70s and most of them have yet to get a CD release. They occupy an ambiguous position between these two types of ambient soundworld. However, they should not be mistaken for those cringe-worthy CDs that are beige woodchip New Age twaddle mixed with whalesong. ‘Environments’ are recordings of natural phenomena, seamlessly electronically manipulated and processed to increase their psycho-acoustic impact. So, we don’t have a real-time ‘sound effect’ type recording, but neither is there much evidence of a composed musical recording with an artistic intent at its core."
"What better way to kick off Christ's month-long birthday bash than with the Japanese version of Jesus Christ Superstar? Here it is in its entirety, featuring a great Judas, a lame Pilate (a shame, since Pilate has many of the best songs), the needless knockoff song Can't We Start Again Please, inappropriate livestock sound effects and inexpicable excursions back into English."
"Christmas is Coming, Christmas is Coming!" - Me, acting like a wigged out Paul Revere this morning after shaking off the remnant effects of the Turkey and Zinfandel haze I'd spent most of Thanksgiving in.
Here's the first of our daily salutes to the very merry Christmas season.
Yuletide Threeway (The same holiday song or carol as interpreted by three different artists in one micro-podcast perfectly sized to accompany your yuletide web surfing)
I Saw Three Ships as performed by Maddy Prior,The University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble, and The Clare College Choir and Orch.
Variations on a Christmas Theme (Three or more loosely themed tunes brought together in a bite sized micro-podcast)
Melly Kwithmus - The Christmas stylings of that man of a thousand voices Mel Blanc.
Merry Christmas Mr. Dickens (Revisiting the spirit of Christmas Past including nearly a dozen different versions of Boz's landmark "A Christmas Carol")
My personal fave yuletune site FaLaLaLaLa.com has unveiled its first official share of the 2005 season and it's a goodie - Sy Mann's slightly Moogy Switched on Santa. While your listening to the album make sure you visit the forums for more great music and fun discussions of all things seasonal.
There's more Sy Mann goodness to be found, along with a treasure trove of other wonderful sonic surprises at Ernie (Not Bert). Including...
"From 1968, here's a guide to help you sell your Avon products. The first side (track 1) is all talk, and the second side (three tracks) is anonymous Christmas music guaranteed to drive customers into a buying frenzy. OK, maybe not, but one can hope."
"Here's a special Thanksgiving treat for you all, especially those of you like your Keeper who are not big turkey fans. In 1982, Bill Cullen, the King Of Game Show Hosts, was commissioned by the National Goose Board to do a series of 5 radio spots to air the week before Thanksgiving. Each is a 2-minute nugget of historical info with some fun facts: did you know that on the first Thanksgiving, there were such delicacies as eels and popcorn? Or that geese can be used as guard animals? They get pretty fierce sometimes. Each spot ends with some info on making goose the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving feast..."
Here's the first of four jolly Christmas themed episodes featuring yuletunes from the likes of Arthur Lyman, the Peerless Quartet, The Free Design, The Pearlfishers, The Sandpipers, Bob Wills, Joyce, Mel Ashton, Little Audrey, Barry Gordon and more.
From the same fragrant imaginations that brought you a plethora of Bathroom Companions comes a surprisingly good collection of yuletide myths, history, trivia, quizes and just play nifty info. Most of the Bathroom Reader's I've perused, in and out of their intended enviornments, have been fairly hit or miss affairs, but every page I've turned to, thus far, in the Christmas Collection has been a winner.
"Up this week we’re singing the praises of everything calculator with this snappy little industrial musical from the Monroe Calculator company. Written in 1967 and produced for the company’s annual sales meeting, the show is chock full of up tempo numbers that convey the greatness of Monroe and its product line. Well known for their electro-mechanical adding machines, Monroe entered into the electronic calculator biz in the 60s by re-branding other..." manufacturer's products and selling them in the U.S. The composer of the show, Sonny Kippe, the did a little re-branding of his own by taking the melodies from some popular songs and fitting lyricist Joey Leroy's calculator related words to them.
"Although French composer Paul Dukas' 1897 symphonic poem was already quite well known and popular, it was made particularly famous by its inclusion in the 1940 Walt Disney animated film, Fantasia. Today, few can hear the piece without picturing Mickey Mouse dressed in a red robe and his master's magical hat. Milton Cross narrates on this rarely seen Musicraft Album..."
"...No, I really don't consider "light" sounds to be no-brainer fare--not at all. Leon Jessel, who composed Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, was one of Germany's leading composers, for example. And the Boston Pops' Leroy Anderson (Sleigh Ride, which isn't in this playlist) was ludicrously talented. Ditto, Emil Waudteufel, France's answer to Johann Strauss, Jr. But light sounds do make good music for zoning, if one is in in zone mode. As opposed to Chopin's last two Op. 25 etudes, which are the antithesis of listening-while-not-listening music. Chopin's etudes are life-altering; "Pops" pieces are mood-altering. In the direction of mellow, we hope..."
A rare Thanksgiving track over at Ernie (Not Bert)'s place...
"I only know of two songs that celebrate Thanksgiving. One of them is Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, which isn't really about Thanksgiving, but sort of mentions it, at least, and this one I'm sharing with you today. From 1960, here is Spencer Ross-Thanksgiving Day Parade (Columbia 4-41532 7" 45 RPM single). The flip side is Tracy's Theme, and that track made it to #13 on the Billboard charts in January of 1960. Both tracks are from TV productions of famous movies..."
A perfect example of how you can't judge a book by its cover - or by the description on the back cover in this case. Billed as "A Patently Hilarious Guide to the craziest Christmas Inventions of all time", Patently Christmas also promises that "With engaging commentaries on each invention..." "...Ross illuminates and entertains...". Not in my copy he doesn't.
All Patently Christmas is, in the end, is a collection of sketches and technical descriptions of various Christmas themed products. No hilarious commentary - most of the items aren't even particularly wacky - just line drawings and dry technical jargon.
"A puppet together with a plurality of small pieces are disposed in a sphere. The sphere has a pump case and a skirt ring at its bottom"
If you just sprayed your keyboard with the contents of your mouth while reading the above description of "Decorative Ball Device" then this is the book for you.
"Here is the funkiest thing ever to come out of the Children's Television Workshop: "Sesame Street Fever". And just look at that album cover: Leisure Suit Grover getting down! It's like this dream I had when I was a kid...I was in a hospital, and I saw Big Bird, and he stopped in front of two public restroom doors...I don't remember which door was picked, because that's when I would wake up..."
Picked up this marvelous tribute to the Pop Culture Yule stylings of the 40's, 50's and early 60's last year and my only complaint is that it isn't twice the size. Filled with marvelous vintage ads and illustrations and loads of useful commentary from author Waggoner.
it's not even Turkey Day yet and MY(P)WHAE has already shared a huge amount of rare and instantly crucial Crimbo tunage....
"...Christmas music--we've got Christmas music. Yes, indeed. We begin with Carl Weismann's Singing Dogs, from 1955--Bark! The Herald Angels Sing. (Just kidding....) Actually, this is the original three-selection side from which Jingle Bells was subsequently isolated from. It's quite interesting, with the crowd effects and announcements and stuff. I keep forgetting the exact story behind this, save for the fact that Weismann was (is?) a Danish bird-call collector and that the dog barks were, essentially, unwanted sounds that he spliced into The Singing Dogs--after organizing the barks into their various pitches, of course. I think I gave a fuller, better account in an earlier Singing Dogs post. (I've always wanted to type the phrase, "an earlier Singing Dogs post.") Only at MYPWHAE will you encounter earlier Singing Dogs posts..."
Well folks, I’ve finally been able to put away the generator and enjoy the benefits of whole house electricity again. Power has been restored to the Orphanage after being out for a total of 13 days. Hopefully the generator will stay in the garage until next hurricane season (I’m keeping my eye on tropical storm Gamma though). To celebrate, this week we’ve got a nifty little record by the Hurricane Honeys, winners of the Sweet Adelines International’s Queens of Harmony title in 1967.
Christmas Ornaments : ReCollections Pure CrimblePorn...Ralph Del Pozzo and David High's gorgeous little book of vintage ornaments contains some astonishingly lovely shots of some of the rare and magnificent pieces the pair have accumulated over the years. Exquisite stuff...
Christmas is coming earlier and earlier every year! MYPWHAE starts the snowball rolling with a handful of tasty tracks to set the holiday mood...
MYPWHAE's Unhip Christmas, Part 1
"Welcome, un-hipsters! We have one anti-Christmas novelty, one odd novelty, one beyond-odd novelty, one campy novelty, and one Billie Holiday Verve track that meets all the standards of cool and hip, for those who care about such things. Might as well throw one of those in. Why not? We do "normal" here, once in a while..."
In 1947, Disney packaged together two short films, "Bongo" and "Mickey and the Beanstalk," resulting in his ninth animated feature, Fun and Fancy Free. Based on a children's story by Sinclair Lewis, Bongo is the tale of a sad little circus bear who is adored when performing but ignored after the show. Tired of traveling and being mistreated, he escapes into the forest where he discovers that life in the wilderness is not as free and easy as he thought. Eventually, Bongo manages to find the thing he most longed for — true love.