It is that time of year again, and all my posts are over at http://goodstonechristmas.com/. Head on over for all things holiday, and this year there are some special bonuses [be sure to check out the comments…]
During the 1960s and ’70s, the Goodyear and Firestone tire companies peddled annual Christmas albums in their stores, usually for a dollar each, to customers who waited to get their tires changed or wheels aligned.
Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians issued many Christmas LPs in the 50’s and 60’s. Yes, this is the same Waring that make the famous blender. Jasmine has another outstanding collection featuring tracks from these albums, plus Dick Haymes and the Andrews Sisters too. A great bargain!
This collection contains most of the tracks from these Fred Waring albums: ‘The Sounds of Christmas’ and ‘The Meaning Of Christmas’.
The Roger Wagner Chorale released ‘Joy To The World’ in 1956. I believe it is one of the earliest stereo recordings by EMI at the time. In 1962 ‘It Came Upon A Midnight Clear’ was released [now called ‘Caroles’]. These are classic Christmas hymns and songs performed by choir, and definitely have that classic holiday sound. Both albums have been released on MP3 and are well worth a listen.
While there are newer ‘authentic’ recordings, the 1966 Colin Davis record of Handel’s Messiah with the London SO still strikes me as the best. Warm sound, great soloists, and none of the over-romantic performance practices that preceded it. I have had this LP on vinyl for many years, and still come back to it every year.
Now on a Decca Duo album, it is a bargain too.
A classic that was heard in stores over the holidays from the 1950’s on, Faith’s arrangements of holiday songs is the very definition of Christmas Music. Originally recorded in 1954, it was later re-recorded in stereo in 1959 and this is the version that most people now know, [with the poinsettia cover] although there is not too much difference in the versions. A few years later Faith released ‘Hallelujah’ which was later renamed ‘Music of Christmas Volume 2’. It is right up there with the first volume. In 1966 ‘Christmas Is…’ was released, and other than the title song, there is more of a pop sound to the recording, very good but not in the same league as the original..
This is THE Christmas Album. Johnny Mathis with the Percy Faith Orchestra is a staple of my holiday music listening, and one that I could not do without. Others albums are essential listening, but this is on the top of the list. Johnny’s voice and the Percy Faith arrangements are a perfect match. The download version is only available on iTunes.