Christmas In February

Last week, I got to the “Christmas” portion in my alphabetized collection of vinyl records. That was just a bit surreal. I got three albums ripped last week. The first one was “Christmas Carols Around the World,” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

This album was produced in 1961 on Columbia records (LE 10091). It contains some familiar carols, such as “Here We Come A-Caroling,” “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” “We Three Kings,” and a medley of “Good Christian Men, Rejoice” and “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.” There are also some that I had never heard before, such as “What Perfume This? O Shepherds Say!” “Song of the Bagpipers,” “See the Radiant Sky Above,” and others. It was quite enjoyable to listen to. I believe this one came from my Grandmama’s record collection. After a bit of searching, I was able to find a clip on You Tube of “See the Radiant Sky Above.”

The next one was great fun, bringing back some childhood memories. “Christmas with the Chipmunks.” Yes, really. David Seville and his adorable chipmunks bring us many favorite Christmas songs.

My copy is a reissue of the original on “Mistletoe Records” MLP1216. The original was released in 1961 on Liberty Records. This copy was released in 1975. This also seems to have come from Grandmama’s record collection. Here is a You Tube clip of the original Chipmunk Christmas Song, simply called “The Chipmunk Song.”

The record also includes “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “White Christmas,” “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Up On the Housetop,” “Over the River and Through the Woods,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” and “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town.”

Finally, I have one of old Goodyear “Great Songs of Christmas” albums. I remember those, back when I was growing up. I remember looking forward to a new one coming out every Christmas. This one is number seven.

Oddly enough, though, the record is in the jacket for album eight.

Very strange. This one also seems to have come from Grandmama’s collection. I have no idea what happened to album 8. Anyway, album seven was produced in 1967 by Columbia Special Projects (CSS 547). These were star-studded Christmas albums. This one had 20 tracks on it, ranging from “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” to “Silent Night.” Strangely, there is a Barbra Streisand recording of “The Lord’s Prayer,” which, in my opinion, has never been regarded as a Christmas song. I found this You Tube clip of The Harry Simeone Chorale singing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” Someone made a video of their record playing. Heh.

That’s it for Christmas, at least for now. The next couple records are Eric Clapton, then Phil Collins.

I listened to two more albums from 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, last week. One was a world music selection by Waldemar Bastos, called “Pretaluz.” The caption for the article was “Laments From a Native Son of Angola.”

This recording, released in 1998, was, apparently, a response to violence in his country. He is quoted as saying it is a “response to the fratricide in Angola, a simple message emphasizing the value of all life.” Even though I could not understand any of the lyrics, I could hear the soulfulness in the songs. As Mr. Moon calls it a “lament,” I could certainly hear that in the songs. The key tracks, as listed by Moon, are “Kuribota,” “Morro do Kussava,” and “Menina.” Here is a “Kuribota” from You Tube.

The second recording that I listened to last week was by a group called Bauhaus. The album is “In the Flat Field.”

Yes, that is a naked man. He seems to be holding something that looks like a vuvazela. I don’t get it. Of course, that fits, since I didn’t really “get” the recording, either. The caption for the article was “The Dawning of a New Gloomy Day.” It is categorized as “goth rock,” although I’m not sure I agree with that. It was released in 1980. The group, although they have a German name, is from England. The key tracks, as listed by Moon, are “Double Dare,” “God In An Alcove,” “Stygmata Martyr,” and “Nerves.” I found only two of the eighteen tracks that I could say that I sort of liked. One was the first track, “Dark Entries.” When the album started playing, I was thinking that they sounded a bit like “Interpol.” (Not the international crime agency.) But the album deteriorated drastically from that point. The lead “singer” (I use the word loosely) is, quite literally, horrid. Instrumentally, the group is not bad, but not great, either. The other song that I kind of liked was called “Terror Couple Kill Colonel.” I found this You Tube clip of “Dark Entries.”

Ah…the eighties…it makes me laugh. Honestly, after seeing them on the stage, the whole recording makes a lot more sense. Hahahah…it doesn’t make me like it any more, though. This recording was truly horrible. I wouldn’t include it on “50,000 recordings to hear before you die.” Heh.

That’s it for this installment. I think I get to listen to some Beach Boys next. At least Mr. Moon’s taste is diverse, I’ll say that for him. And, honestly, I have to respect his endeavor to include all genres of music in his book.

I’ll be off to write an entry in my devotional blog, now, Revelling in the Overflowing Grace of God.

TTFN, y’all!


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