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Christmas Music Guru
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Date Posted:11/11/2009 08:50:37Copy HTML

I am posting here, as a stand-alone thread, my all-time Top 50 Christmas albums.

Previously on the message board, I posted my all-time Top 40; this is the same list plus 10 more to make it a nice round number of 50. Eventually, I will post my entire Top Play list which consists of the greatest 300 Christmas albums in my entire collection. In the mean time, here is my "cream of the crop" all-time Top 50:

1.      Percy Faith – “Music Of Christmas”

2.      Percy Faith – “Hallelujah” (re-released as “Music Of Christmas, Volume 2”)

3.      Mantovani – “Christmas Carols”

4.      Johnny Mathis – “Merry Christmas”

5.      Fred Waring And The Pennsylvanians – “’Twas The Night Before Christmas”

6.      Fred Waring And The Pennsylvanians – “Christmas Time”

7.      Ray Conniff – “Christmas With Conniff”

8.      Ray Conniff – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

9.      The Norman Luboff Choir – “Christmas With The Norman Luboff Choir”

10.  Andy Williams – “The Andy Williams Christmas Album”

11.  Jim Reeves – “Twelve Songs Of Christmas”

12.  Al Hirt – “The Sound Of Christmas”

13.  Mantovani – “Christmas Greetings From Mantovani”

14.  Frank DeVol – “The Old Sweet Songs Of Christmas”

15.  Andre Kostelanetz – “Wonderland Of Christmas”

16.  The Living Strings – “The Spirit Of Christmas”

17.  Leroy Anderson And His Orchestra – “A Christmas Festival”

18.  Kate Smith – “The Kate Smith Christmas Album”

19.  Jo Stafford – “Happy Holiday”

20.  Patti Page – “Christmas With Patti Page” (Columbia album)

21.  Kitty Wells – “Christmas Day With Kitty Wells”

22.  Brenda Lee – “Merry Christmas From Brenda Lee”

23.  The New Christy Minstrels – “Christmas With The Christies”

24.  Ray Conniff – “Here We Come A-Caroling”

25.  Mitch Miller – “Holiday Sing Along With Mitch”

26.  The Robert Shaw Chorale – “Christmas Hymns And Carols, Volume 1”

27.  The Jack Halloran Singers – “Christmas Is A-Comin’” (re-released as “The Little Drummer Boy”)

28.  Leroy Anderson And His Orchestra – “Christmas Carols”

29.  Bert Kaempfert – “Christmas Wonderland”

30.  Stanley Black – “Christmas Holiday For Romance”

31.  Frank Chacksfield And His Orchestra – “Music For A Merry Christmas”

32.  Ronnie Aldrich – “Christmas With Ronnie Aldrich”

33.  The Living Strings – “The Sound Of Christmas”

34.  John Gary – “The John Gary Christmas Album”

35.  Perry Como – “The Perry Como Christmas Album”

36.  Bing Crosby – “A Time To Be Jolly”

37.  Burl Ives – “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (original soundtrack recording)

38.  Burl Ives – “Have A Holly Jolly Christmas”

39.  Ella Fitzgerald – “Ella Wishes You A Swingin’ Christmas”

40.  Ace Cannon – “Christmas Cheer”

41.  Bing Crosby – “Merry Christmas”

42.  Perry Como – “Season's Greetings From Perry Como”

43.  Barbra Streisand – “A Christmas Album”

44.  Sammy Kaye – “I Want To Wish You A Merry Christmas”

45.  The LeRoy Holmes Singers – “Snowflakes And Sweethearts”

46.  Ferrante And Teicher – “Snowbound”

47.  Ferrante And Teicher – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”

48.  The Glad Singers – “Swing Bells”

49.  Vincent Lopez – “Christmas Music”

50.  The Hollyridge Strings – “Christmas Favorites”



**Edited to add the following update:

 




On October 28, 2010, I posted my complete Top 300 in a stand-alone category on the message board; and three years later, on July 18, 2013, I expanded that to 500 with the addition of my "Bubbling Under" section.


So for my all-time Top 500, Click Here!



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/11/2009 01:23:10Copy HTML

Thanks Chip!

I'm always interested in seeing the Christmas favorites of others.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/12/2009 04:11:46Copy HTML

First post here at The Yule Log.com. Great site! I have many of the Top 50 albums you mention as your favorites. I never knew there were others that had the same respect and adoration for the great Percy Faith. From when I was 8 years old, he was an artist that stood out to me at Christmas time, and I didn't even know who he was until my teens. I am one of the few that owns his "Music of Christmas Vol 2" CD that I bought in 1997.
Chip, I was wondering where (if at all) you would rank The Harry Simeone Chorale's "Sing We Now of Christmas/The Little Drummer Boy" album? It definitely would be in my top 10. Also Jackie Gleason's "All I Want For Christmas" is another favorite of mine.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/12/2009 07:05:21Copy HTML


Welcome to the message board, Michael!

Harry Simeone had a total of 5 Christmas albums, and all of them reside in my 2nd Tier (albums 126-250 in my Top Play). The greatest of these 5 albums by far was his Omnisound Records LP entitled It's Christmas Once Again, which he recorded in London in 1973. It is the least known about and most rare of all of his Christmas albums -- and ironically, it is his best. The second greatest album was his Mercury Records LP entitled Wonderful Songs Of Christmas, which was recorded and released in 1963. This album is relatively easier to find.

However, the absolute best Christmas music that Mr. Simeone ever recorded was during his short contract with Columbia Records in 1967 -- which, parenthetically, was a label he never released an album for -- only a couple of singles. The Christmas music I'm alluding to were 2 songs that he recorded exclusively for Goodyear's The Great Songs Of Christmas - Vol. 7. These 2 songs were Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Christmas Is. The style and sound he achieved with this particular group he had that year in 1967 was stunning, absolutely phenomenal -- on the level of Ray Conniff, but it had its own unique sound. It is an utter shame that he never recorded an entire Christmas album for Columbia as it would have been a solid 10 and easily have made the 1st Tier of my Top Play.

As for Jackie Gleason, he released 2 Christmas LPs during his career: Merry Christmas (Capitol Records - 1956) and 'Tis The Season (Capitol Records -1967).

The 2-record set you alluded to, All I Want For Christmas (Capitol Records - 1969) is a compilation of both the original LPs: it contains 10 of the 14 songs from Jackie's first Christmas LP Merry Christmas, and 10 of the 11 songs from his second Christmas LP 'Tis The Season.

It is such a shame that most people today only know Jackie Gleason for the great comedian and actor he was on both TV and in the movies and are completely unaware of the brilliant musical career he had and all the great albums he released in the 1950s and '60s -- many of them huge chart successes. His two Christmas albums are bona fide treasures of his musical legacy.






*{Edit of 04/05/10: Corrected release year for “It’s Christmas Once Again”}

Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/12/2009 06:26:49Copy HTML

Darn, I only have Volumes 2, 3 and 6 of The Great Songs of Christmas. I really enjoyed listening to those as a kid. Mainly for the variety. It was where I was first introduced to Percy Faith I might add. I've been thinking of collecting the others. There's some great artwork on some of these. In fact, there's a lot of fantastic artwork from the 50's and 60's Christmas albums. One of the reasons I find some of them so appealing.
Jackie Gleason's "Snowfall" album has a bunch of remastered songs on it. Am I better off just buying his two original albums on CD, or are these remastered versions something I should look into?
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/12/2009 11:08:05Copy HTML


Michael,

I strongly recommend Goodyear Volume #7. It is in my opinion the best Goodyear Christmas album that was ever produced, not only because of the 2 great exclusive Harry Simeone songs, but other great songs that were recorded exclusively for this album by Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Steve Lawrence, Jerry Vale and Sally Ann Howes (Bennett and Streisand later released their songs on their own Christmas albums). The LP also has great songs by The New Christy Minstrels, The Cleveland Orchestra and The Brothers Four, among others. Copies are currently available from private vendors on Amazon, click here.

With regard to Jackie Gleason; no, I do not recommend the Snowfall CD, as it is only a compilation album of just 10 songs (9 from his first Christmas album and only 1 from his second).

You are much better off purchasing the CDs of the complete original albums. Unfortunately, however, they are both out of print; but don't despair, as copies of both CDs are readily available on Amazon: click here for the Merry Christmas CD, and click here for the 'Tis The Season CD.

By the way, in 1990 when Capitol Records first released the Merry Christmas LP on CD, they did so with the original 1956 artwork (as shown below). If you want the Merry Christmas CD with the original artwork, copies can be found on eBay from time to time.





Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/12/2009 11:36:22Copy HTML

I agree. The artwork for the original release is much better than the mug of Gleason with the pink(ish) color around him that I see on Amazon. I tell ya, these re-released albums or fake albums out there have some crummy art work on the covers - one way to help differentiate them from those originals I am learning.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/16/2009 10:29:17Copy HTML

Just out of curiosity, Chip: where do you rate the [i]Christmas[/i] LP by the Singers Unlimited?


11-16-09 @ 17:33:09 PM
Follow-up to above message:


Incidentally, one thing I feel I must point out about Gleason's Merry Christmas on CD is that the Razor & Tie reissue of the album (with the "wrong" cover) has *much* better sound quality than the original Capitol version.

My advice, if you love this album, is to purchase both CD versions, and put the Razor & Tie disc in the jewel box with the Capitol artwork.



 *Message edited by the Yule Log.com Message Board Administrator on 11/16/09 to combine two consecutive reply posts by the same member. Also, double-post was deleted.

**Click here to review my post regarding same-day double-posting.

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/17/2009 05:40:15Copy HTML


Mike,

The Singers Unlimited Christmas LP used to reside in my 3rd Tier, but it was bumped out several years ago by a superior LP.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/20/2009 09:33:58Copy HTML

Hello Chip,
I have both a Mono and stereo vinyl copy of THe Old Sweet Songs of Christmas by Frank DeVol.
(THe Mono version is actually a not for resale promo copy and a real find, although I prefer the stereo version to listen to).
Never been able to find a CD copy of this. Does is really exist? Anyone have one?
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/20/2009 10:48:03Copy HTML

Nope, that album has unfortunately never been issued on CD.

For what it's worth, you can find some of the De Vol/Rainbow Strings tracks on the following various-artists compilations from Sony Music Special Products, if you can find them. (There may be others, these are the ones I know about.)

[i]15 Christmas Classics: Holiday Cheer[/i]
Ring Christmas Bells/The First Noel/Jolly Old St. Nicholas

[i]15 Christmas Classics: Holiday Star Time[/i]
Joy To The World/Away In A Manger/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

[i]Christmas Treasures[/i]
Joy To The World/Away In A Manger/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

[i]Favorite Melodies of Christmas[/i]
Joy To The World/Away In A Manger/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Ring Christmas Bells/The First Noel/Jolly Old St. Nicholas

[i]The Gift of Christmas[/i]
We Three Kings/Good King Wenceslas/O Tannenbaum

[i]Yuletide Treasures[/i]
We Three Kings/Good King Wenceslas/O Tannenbaum

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/21/2009 07:28:25Copy HTML


Frank DeVol's Christmas LP is one of the LPs on my list that I sent to Gordon Anderson for possible consideration for CCM to reissue as an exclusive. Perhaps in the future this is one of the LPs they can land the rights to. It's one of the greats.


 


 
Edited 05/15/14 to add the following update:

After years of lobbying, Gordon has finally agreed to release Frank DeVol's classic 1960 Christmas LP on CD! Click here.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/05/2009 05:13:06Copy HTML

Because I find many albums on your list which I would undoubtedly include in a Top 50 of my own, I am curious about how you regard:

Merry Christmas (Andy Williams)
The Magic of Christmas (Nat Cole)
A Merry Mancini Christmas
A Jolly Christmas (Frank Sinatra)
Pops Christmas Party (Arthur Fiedler)
This Christmas I Spend With You (Robert Goulet)

There are so many others your opinion of which I'd be curious about, but let's start with these 6 :)

thanks
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/05/2009 09:53:27Copy HTML


John,

The Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Henry Mancini and Arthur Fiedler LPs that you alluded to are all in the 1st Tier of my Top Play (albums 1-125). The Frank Sinatra and Robert Goulet LPs are in my 2nd Tier (albums 125-250).

Regarding Sinatra in particular, of all the Christmas albums he did, none ever hit a complete home run. As far as the 1957 LP A Jolly Christmas is concerned, it couldn't have been said any better than in the one paragraph music reviewer Jim Smith wrote on AllMusic.com, click here.


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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/06/2009 02:15:51Copy HTML

[i]A Jolly Christmas[/i] is especially disappointing in that it was recorded at a time when Sinatra was at the peak of his craft as a singer, and working with one of his best arrangers in Gordon Jenkins. On paper, that album seems like it ought to be an out-of-the-park home run - Stan Getz once insisted that it was "the greatest Christmas album anybody ever made" - but it really isn't. 

Part of the problem, I suspect, is the decision to have him perform traditional carols, and in a "straight" manner. Asking somebody like Sinatra to do any song "straight" effectively robs him of his chief strengths as a performer; this is also why, for instance, Ella Fitzgerald's [i]Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas[/i] (which is confined to secular pop Christmas standards with jazz-based arrangements) is so much more effective than [i]Ella Fitzgerald's Christmas[/i] (which is all traditional carols, again arranged and performed in a "straight" manner).

That said, I have always enjoyed the swingin' "J-I-N-G-L-E Bells" that opens the album, along with "Mistletoe and Holly" and "The Christmas Waltz". And the alternate, Nelson Riddle-arranged takes of the latter song and "White Christmas" that appear as bonus tracks on the CD version offer a fascinating glimpse of another (and possibly better) Sinatra Christmas album that might have been.

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/06/2009 02:53:33Copy HTML


I agree wholeheartedly, Mike. Those are probably the 3 best songs on the album -- especially Jingle Bells.

That was the whole irony of the A Jolly Christmas LP: it started off with a bang with that great rendition of Jingle Bells, and then the rest of the album never quite lived up to that standard.

I personally feel that this album would have been a lot better if Nelson Riddle had been his main collaborator on this project instead of Gordon Jenkins. However, the real flaw of this album was the song selectionSinatra should have stayed away from the traditional reverent carols and concentrated more on the upbeat contemporary carols as they more fit his hip singing style.





Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/07/2009 03:12:34Copy HTML

Your reply is MUCH appreciated, Chip.

I must agree with you and with Motown Mike that Sinatra cannot be said to have been at the top of his game on A Jolly Christmas. His notable ability to bend or to draw out a note or phrase to such telling effect on masterpieces of roughly the same vintage (Close to You, Where Are You, FS Sings for Only the Lonely, among others) is only rarely in evidence here, while even his phrasing and diction, the hallmarks of his style, sound a bit "off" here at times. My own favorite among the pop sides is probably "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (possibly because of early Yule Log associations); among the carols, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" and "Silent Night" (where at least on the phrase 'Christ the Savior is born' he begins to sound--to me, anyway--like the Sinatra we know).

So your preference for Nat Cole's (quite lovely) collection of Christmas music is understandable, even to someone who generally prefers Frank to Nat in popular standards.

What pop singers do you consider to have been the most successful (artistically, that is) at rendering the traditional carols and hymns? By pop singers I mean, more or less, those who like Mr Sinatra, made their names performing and recording pop standards in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. From your Top 50 list I would gather Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, and Bing Crosby.

I invite anyone else with an opinion on this matter to reply as well. Thanks!!!
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:12/07/2009 05:48:51Copy HTML


John,

I agree; I too prefer Frank to Nat with regard to popular standards as well, but just not for Christmas music.

And to answer your question regarding what pop singers have been the most successful at handling the traditional carols and hymns, they include Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Jim Reeves, Kate Smith, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Jimmie Rodgers.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/10/2010 05:32:00Copy HTML

Chip,

Just joined your Yule Log.   Enjoyed reviewing your Top 50 Christmas albums.  First thought is that you are someone, like me, who is entrenched in the 1950-60s parade of Christmas albums?   As a former radio DJ, I played songs from most of the albums you list at one time or another.

There are some interesting omissions that I believe deserve better fate.  Here's a few suggestions that, in my humble opinion, just have to be a part of your Top 50.

1. The Kingston Trio Christmas Album - Dave Guard, Bob and Nick have the best of all - songs not found on most other Christmas albums, all done in sterling folk style.

2. The Clancy Brothers Christmas album
3. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guraldi plays his piano jazz
4. The Time-Life collection, a 2 CD set,  contains many masterpieces from the 40's, 50's and 60's.

a belated Merry Christmas to all.

yule log

CF-

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/10/2010 06:57:26Copy HTML


Welcome aboard new member.

The 1950s and 1960s were far and away Christmas Music's golden age, and nothing that has come since or will ever come in the future will ever hold a candle to it.

As far as the albums on your list, none are in my 1st Tier (albums 1-125 in my Top Play). However, the Kingston Trio and Vince Guraldi albums are in my 2nd Tier (albums 126-250 in my Top Play).


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:10/24/2010 06:26:36Copy HTML

Hey, Chip...is there any chance you might be persuaded to post the rest of your Top Play 300? Or at least the rest of your first-tier 125?

Thanks!

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:10/25/2010 06:34:23Copy HTML


Mike,

I've had many requests to do this over the years and it's something I plan to do in the near future.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:03/01/2011 05:37:32Copy HTML

You know, Chip, I never properly thanked you for following through on posting your whole Top 300. Believe me, as with so much else you've done on this website, it was and is very much appreciated!
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:03/02/2011 03:32:42Copy HTML


No problem, Mike. After repeated requests from folks over the years, it was something that I had been trying to get around to doing for quite some time. And after posting my Top 40 on a previous thread in 2005, and then my Top 50 on this thread in 2009, I knew the time had come to finally bear down and make the time to post my entire Top 300.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/02/2011 04:43:38Copy HTML

Chip,

I feel like such a schlock for not saying thank you earlier.  The truth be told, I have been spending so much time trying to track down a whole new array of albums and CDs that I failed to be enough of a gentleman to extend the common courtesy saying T-H-A-N-K  Y-O-U! for your top 300 posting.


The giving of your time, energy and knowledge to this site is truly a gift to those of us who love this music.  This has been my almost daily "go to" site on the web to seek out new albums to listen to, music to purchase and "X marks the spot" for answers to my questions.

I waited another month after Mike posted his thanks before I posted mine.  I now hang my head in shame and publicly repent in sackcloth and ashes.  Forgive! Oh great Christmas Music Guru, I am not worthy!

-=Perry the Sloth
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/02/2011 06:32:29Copy HTML


Nothing at all to forgive, Perry. And you are quite welcome. I'm very glad to hear how much you enjoy the site. It's my pleasure to provide information about this great music and answer any questions folks may have.
And yes, you are worthy!






*[Edited to correct typo]
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/02/2011 12:12:34Copy HTML

I agree with Perry (Strider77).  Thanks to this website, I recently bought the new Perry Como compilation as well as The Living Strings.

On the subject of Chip's Top 300, I'd be very interested to know why Percy Faith's Christmas Is comes in at a relatively low - albeit still respectable - Number 58.  If I compiled my own listing, I would definitely have it among my Top 5 and, quite possibly, Number 1.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/02/2011 10:34:29Copy HTML

Yeah, Perry, you said it when you wrote that Chip's "giving of [his] time, energy and knowledge to this site is truly a gift to those of us who love this music."

I think we could all agree that he qualifies for recognition as a national treasure. 
Will in Seattle a.k.a. "Clueless"
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/02/2011 11:24:29Copy HTML


Jim:

While Percy Faith's third Christmas album was good, it was by no means quintessential Percy Faith music. The arrangements and quality of performance were far superior on the first two Christmas albums, which he recorded when he was at the apex of his career. In addition, it was also the use of vocals (which Mr. Faith did under protest) that detracted from the third Christmas album. His forte and specialty was instrumental music, and he knew it; but starting in the mid 1960s, he was forced to incorporate vocals into his music by Columbia Records as a way to contemporize his music (which they felt was more suitable and marketable to the changing demographic at that time). He finally worked out a deal with Columbia in his new contract that for every three albums he made their way, he could make one his way (meaning all-instrumental). Unfortunately, the 1966 Christmas album was one that he had to make their way.

When he was allowed to do what he did best, Percy really shined. That's why it is no surprise that the standout songs on the 1966 album are instrumentals: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Silver Bells and Do You Hear What I Hear.

A record label should never interfere with the artistic creativity of an artist -- never. But unfortunately, for many of his later albums, they did.

By the way, here's an excerpt from a post that I previously filed on the message board that pretty much says it all about Percy Faith's classic and legendary albums Music Of Christmas and Hallelujah:

In my entire collection, there are only two albums that I do not have the audacity to rate on my scale of 1-10, as they are beyond my ability to apply such an arbitrary number due to the sheer perfection that was achieved in their majesty and reverence of arranging, conducting and performance. They are: Music of Christmas, originally released in 1954 in mono, then re-recorded and re-released in 1959 in stereo; and Hallelujah, originally released in 1958, then later reissued in 1965 as Music of Christmas Vol. 2. To rate these two albums in my opinion, would be like putting a price on the Mona Lisa -- which of course, is priceless. Mr. Faith's third Christmas album was Christmas Is from 1966, and I rate this album at 8 on my scale of 1-10.


                                                 


Perry:

Thanks so much; that was a very kind thing for you to say and I am very flattered.

Thanks again, buddy.


  






*[Edited to combine my last two response posts]
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/05/2011 01:44:36Copy HTML

Chip, thanks for relaying this information, as I became a fan of Percy Faith when I started my Christmas music collection.  Given his reluctance to record vocals, one now has to wonder how "Christmas Is" came about when the song's instrumental incarnation as "Judy" predated it by a few years.

Good to know that about Hallelujah because now I see my Percy Faith Christmas library is complete.  (I fortunately picked up Music Of Christmas Volume 2 when it was released for a short time in the late '90s).

Couldn't agree more on those three instrumentals from Christmas Is.  Percy Faith's version of "Silver Bells" could quite possibly be my all-time favorite Christmas song, and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was used by Philadelphia Top 40 radio station WFIL as its background theme for granting Christmas wishes to listeners in the late '60s and early '70s.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:04/05/2011 04:48:19Copy HTML


That is correct Jim, the original theme that was later used for the song Christmas Is was written and recorded two years earlier by Percy Faith as an instrumental called Judy. It was released on his 1964 LP, More Themes For Young Lovers. Then, in 1966, at the request of Columbia Records, Mr. Faith had Spence Maxwell write the lyrics for a Christmas vocal version of the song, which, as you know, he recorded with his female chorus and released as Christmas Is on the album of the same name.



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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/12/2012 03:55:00Copy HTML

The great thing about lists like yours, Chip are that they stimulate conversation about the music and cause others to discover the great old Christmas music that needs rediscovery. Just recently I 'discovered' Jackie Gleason's 'Merry Christmas' during the past Christmas season and fell in love with the music. I managed to grab a copy of the Razor and Tie label version and immediately put it on my iPad and iPhone for portable use as well.
It's just great mood music.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/12/2012 05:10:23Copy HTML


Gene,

Jackie actually had two great Christmas LPs: 1956's Merry Christmas and 1967's 'Tis The Season. Both of these wonderful albums reside in the 2nd Tier of my Top 300.


 



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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/12/2012 06:15:03Copy HTML

You recommend 'Tis The Season? I love the feel and the mood of Merry Christmas. Is it similar?
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/12/2012 10:46:30Copy HTML


Yes, I highly recommend the second album. If you love the first album, then you will categorically love the second as well. Both the first and second albums are identical in their lush, elegant and romantic Jackie Gleason trademark sound. Capitol Records released the second LP on CD in 1993, but sadly it is now out-of-print. However, new and used copies are available from private vendors on Amazon; Click Here.






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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/13/2012 01:08:25Copy HTML

How ironic is this.?  I just wanted to see what the new post was and just as I clicked on it, I wass listening to "Christmas Vinyl" that Genoman shared a link to earlier, they were playing "Blue Christmas" by Jackie Gleason.

I had just finished rearranging my livingroom so I would have more room and easier access to some of my Christmas albums and of course I had do disconnect my computer and everything and move the albums out of my computer desk and cabinet and then I get everthing put away and load WinAmp to play Christmas Vinyl and see the new post for mentioning Jackie Gleason and they were playing the song.

Of course, by the time I've typed this, a couple more songs have played already.

I have 3 of the Jackie Gleason Christmas albums which I mentioned in a previous thread but I can't believe the irony of that just as I clicked the link one of his Christmas songs was playing.

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/13/2012 03:50:26Copy HTML


I know that I had said this earlier in the thread (in the first of my two posts from November 12, 2009), but just so Gene is not confused, the third Jackie Gleason Christmas album that Susan is referring to was a compilation 2-record set that Capitol Records issued in 1969 entitled, All I Want For Christmas. Jackie had only two original Christmas albums.
The compilation contained 10 of the 14 songs from Jackie's first Christmas album, Merry Christmas; and 10 of the 11 songs from his second Christmas album, 'Tis The Season. The album cover artwork for the 1969 compilation 2-record set is posted below.






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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/13/2012 03:47:11Copy HTML

Thanks Chip,

I forgot to mention that it was a compilation album and I apologize.  I was trying to get done typing the thread before another song came on and distracted me even more.  Also thanks for posting the cover art.  I knew it was a compilation, but couldn't even think of the title at the time, but should've mentioned it.  But I was enjoying the wonderful music that was playing.  They played several different Christmas songs by Jackie Gleason yesterday among other great artists.

I actually had the 3 albums in my hands yesterday when I rearranged my living room and had to put all the albums back in the cabinet and under my computer desk and was trying to group then by artist or series.

i.e. Bing Crosby, Mantovani, Andy Williams,  Goodyear, True Value, Zenith, Firestone etc., but not necessarily in alphabetical order.

Again I thank you Chip for clarifying this so it wouldn't confuse Gene, or anyone else for that matter, and have them thinking there was a third Christmas album by Jackie Gleason.  I am trying to be accurate but I guess that I shouldn't be listening to Christmas Vinyl while I am typing in the message board.  It's just that there were so many great songs that I haven't heard in years and if I could, I would have stayed up all night listening to it.

Again I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/13/2012 04:20:34Copy HTML


No apology necessary at all, Susan. You did nothing wrong. My post was strictly for clarification should Gene or anybody else come away with the impression that there was a third original Jackie Gleason Christmas album.




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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/13/2012 07:42:31Copy HTML

Thanks Chip,

It's just so frustrating being I had the 3 albums in my hand not less than a half hour before.  And I knew the "All I Want For Christmas" was a compilation of Jackie's only 2 Christmas albums.  Just goes to show how my "Short Term" memory was yesterday, and then not fully concentrating because I was listening to the wonderful music and partly reminiscing my youth and I didn't think that I might have confused anyone.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:01/14/2012 04:02:33Copy HTML

Thank you, Chip!
Even though I play CDs, I am still a vinyl guy at heart. Despite the fact that I no longer have a turntable. I will look for Tis The Season on cd and I will start looking for BOTH of them on lp at record shows here in New Jersey. 

And I'm glad that everyone enjoys Christmas Vinyl. It makes great music for listening in the wee hours too!
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:10/20/2012 01:41:50Copy HTML

The mention of Mannheim Steamroller in another thread prompted me to see where they stand in Chip's Top 300 list.  I think the first two albums were the best.  In fact, some of my all-time favorite Christmas songs include "Stille Nacht (Silent Night)" and "Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella" from the first album and "Still Still Still" and "The Holly and The Ivy" from the second.  I haven't liked the later material from recent years as much.  It seems too over-produced or something.

Anyway, I see three Mannheim Steamroller albums are on Chip's Bubbling Under the Top 300 list.  Since these are three of the very few contemporary albums on Chip's list, I was wondering what Chip thinks of the Christmas albums by The Carpenters and Anne Murray.  They seem to get a fair amount of airplay on the radio.

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:10/20/2012 08:49:14Copy HTML


As you know by now, I am not partial to contemporary Christmas music, but rather Christmas music from its Golden Age of the 1950s and '60s. There are a few contemporary Christmas albums in my
Top 300, but almost all of them reside in my 3rd Tier or my "Bubbling Under The Top 300" list. There are other contemporary Christmas albums that are good, but because of the vast array of superior classic Christmas albums, there is just no room for them in the Top 300.



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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:10/20/2012 10:08:48Copy HTML

I too like Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas music, but that's about it for Contemporary artists.  I prefer like Chip, the Christmas music from The Golden Age of Christmas Music the 1950's and 1960's and a little from the very early 1970's.  It's not worth wasting money of music where they artist doesn't put their heart into the music or they stretch out the lyrics which ruins the songs.

There are some good artists out there today, but in comparison, there is none.  Nothing can beat the Christmas music from the 1950's and 1960's.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/27/2012 03:59:58Copy HTML


I would like to add the two Elvis Christmas Albums as well as "O Tannembaum: Christmas on the Rhine" by Werner Muller to the list.

Two of these were "classic" Christmas albums and Elvis' first one actually went to #1 on the Pop charts - quite an achievement for a Christmas album.

I would also be interested to see Chips opinion of the Goodyear Great Songs of Christmas sets.  They are some of my favorites - the first 9 all being in my personal top 20 list.  I know a lot of artists on the album are on his top 300, but I would enjoy his opinion on the actual compilations.

There is also a sevice that sells (legally) burned CD versions of the Goodyear Albums (and many others as well - including the full Firestone series set).  I have all of the Goodyear and Firestone sets on CD now (and ripped them into my iPod and Computer). For anyone interested in them, their website is http://www.christmaslpstocd.com/index.php?app=ccp0&ns=catshow&ref=Goodyear.  I am not associated with them in any way.

(Chip - if I have violated some board rules by posting this link, please feel free to delete that part of this post)
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/27/2012 08:50:16Copy HTML


Dan,

I surmise that you didn't read my preface notes introducing my Top 300
where, among other things, I discus the great collector's series compilation albums. I will re-post the pertinent paragraph below; however, please Click Here to read my entire introduction.


With only one exception, the great collector's series compilation albums (Goodyear, Grants, etc.) are not as a general rule included in my Top Play, as it would have been unfair to deny a space in my Top Play to an artist’s album of original material for a compilation. That one aforementioned exception is the great 1966 RCA album, Music To Trim Your Tree By (album #51). This phenomenal album is the only compilation of previously released material that was awarded the distinction and honor of not only being included in my Top Play, but the 1st Tier. There are four other compilation albums in my Top 300; however, they were all compiled of original material. These albums include A Christmas Gift For You (album #121) by various Philles Records recording artists; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (album #242) by various Reprise Records recording artists; Christmas With Arthur Godfrey (album #266) by various Columbia Records recording artists; and Merry Christmas To You (album #275) by various Capitol Records recording artists.


As for the three albums you mentioned which are not in my Top 300, the second Elvis Christmas album bubbles under my Top 300.
Click Here and scroll down to my "Bubbling Under The Top 300" section. As for all other albums not included in my Top 300, please read the following excerpt which is also from my introductory preface notes:


By the way, all of the albums that did not make my Top Play (1st, 2nd, or 3rd Tier) reside in my archives -- and that number, I might add, far exceeds the 300 albums in my Top Play.






*[Edited 06/14/13 to restore hyperlinks]
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/27/2012 09:06:06Copy HTML

Dan,

Christmas on the Rhine is a wonderful album.  Also I like all of Elvis' Christmas Albums.  I have an anniversary edition of one of his Christmas albums that also had several pictures in it.  I don't have the album in front of me to check it, but if my memory is correct, I think the original was done or red or green vinyl and I think the Anniversary edition is also done on red or green vinyl, but i have seen regular vinyl too.  Then I have Elvis' Christmas Album, with the blue cover.  Again, I don't have immediate access to it, but I'm sure everyone is familiar with it.  It was reissued a few time.

As for the sites that are selling CDR's of Goodyear and some of the other's.  Technically, you are supposed to own the vinyl in order to get them on CDR's from these companies.   I also have seen this done with The Value/True Value Hardware Store Series.  I have all 25 Volumes that were released on Vinyl, and then 26 - 40 were released on CD and Cassette, but not sure if Volume 40 is available on Cassette and I have most of the Volumes from 26 to 40 on Cassette, but do have a couple CD's though I don't care for them o nCD, it is the only way to have the complete series.

I have a blog that I don't do anything with anymore, and because the music was long out of print and the record companies had no desires to release them again, and all pre-February 1972.  Someone downloaded all my files and posted them on their own sites claiming it was from their own personal collection, and some were also selling CDR's of these albums and I was the one getting DMCA Complaints, so I don't do much with the blog anymore and it is just for informational purposes now.  I spent days removing the files so if I missed editing out a link, it won't work.

But yet, there are blog's out there that are pre-sharing unofficially released CD's by today's artists and also sharing other currently available CD's on their blog's and the DMCA people don't bother them, but the music that is out of print and copyright has basically expired, they go after us.

I do have a rather extensive collection of Vinyl records and maybe 3,000 Christmas albums and a few thousand other Genre.  And though my collection is probably larger than an average person's collection, it is just a drop in the bucket compared the what "Chip" has, and I strive to make sure I have the original release and not a reissue.  But often when I find that what I do have is a reissue I wil look all over until I find the original release either online or at thrift stores.  Being a collector, even though the music is the same on a reissue, the original release is what really counts.

{EDITED by Christmas Always to give Dan a "Heads Up"}

Dan,

You're welcome.

If nobody has responded to the post you did after mine that I have just edited, the you should just go in and "Edit" you post to add what you were going to but didn't have time to do now.  Otherwise, that would be considered "Double Posting" and then Chip would have to go in and edit you post to combine them into one, being you are continuing your topic and there isn't anything from anyone else.

But if someone has responded, then I believe you could continue what you wanted to say earlier, after whomever responded to your post.  Chip, if I am out of line, I apologize.  I'm just trying to help out where I can.

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/27/2012 09:20:52Copy HTML

Thanks for the responses! 

Chip:I surmise that you didn't read my preface notes introducing my Top 300 where, among other things, I discus the great collector's series compilation albums.

I DID read your preface and introduction.  I know you didn't include the Goodyear series in your top 300 and I understand the reason why.

But I'm sure you own those records and I was just wondering about your opinion of them.  The selection, arrangement, pacing, artwork, etc...  Is there another thread on the board where you (and others on this board) have discussed these albums in detail?  I did a search for Goodyear but didn't come up with much.

As for the three albums you mentioned which are not in my Top 300, the second Elvis Christmas album bubbles under my Top 300, coming in at #301

I also saw that.  You are perhaps the only person I have ever talked to who preferred the 1971 Elvis Album to the 1957 one.  Personally, I love both of them.  I was just interested in your opinion on the three albums I mentioned.

Susan:

I'm glad you like the Christmas On The Rhine LP.  I grew up on that album around Christmastime.  I also really like the cover artwork.  I purchased a CD from the same folks from whom I acquired my Goodyear CDs.

As for the sites that are selling CDR's of Goodyear and some of the other's. Technically, you are supposed to own the vinyl in order to get them on CDR's from these companies. 

Yep - I knew that.  The site I linked to states as much, and if you tell them you do not own the Album, they will sell you a copy along with your CD. (I happened to own all of the albums already - but wanted cleaned up CD versions.  They did a great job cleaning up the recordings)

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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/28/2012 03:40:25Copy HTML


The great
retail store sponsored custom-made limited edition 'collectors series' compilation LP releases of the 1960s and '70s have been discussed many times in many threads here on the message board over the years.

And I have stated many times previously that the very best of these Christmas compilations (in terms of songs, artists, album cover artwork, etc.) were the albums that were released by Goodyear and Grants. They are essential listening during the Christmas holiday season for me. Other great compilation releases were those from A&P, B.F. Goodrich, Firestone, J.C. Penny and True Value Hardware.

As for the Elvis Christmas albums, I have known many folks over the years who prefer his 1971 album to the 1957, including a very good friend of mine who is an Elvis buff.



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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/29/2012 11:07:14Copy HTML

I too prefer Elvis' Christmas Album from 1971 over the earlier one.  I believe I mentioned this in another thread, but I think I said from the 1970's being I didn't have the album in front of me to reference and I just said the blue background.  But  I do love the pictures from his earlier Christmas Album, and though I don't have the original, but instead an Anniversary reissue, musically, it's just as good as the original, but still the 1971 Christmas album is much better.  There is another Elvis Christmas Album I can't think of right now, but I believe I have an original of that one too.

I just wish I could think straight right now and it's so frustrating being ill.  I am usually quite good at remembering certain  albums, especially from Elvis Presley.   But for the life of me I can't think of them right now.
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Re:All-time Top 50 Christmas Albums

Date Posted:11/30/2012 02:22:30Copy HTML


Susan,

Elvis only had two Christmas albums: the 1957 LP (The Elvis Christmas Album) and the 1971 LP (Elvis Sings The Wonderful World Of Christmas).

The other album that you mentioned with the blue cover is a reissue of the 1957 LP. My friend Ethel Gabriel (the legendary RCA Records producer) repackaged the 1957 LP for release on her budget Camden label in 1970. For this 1970 reissue LP, she removed the four gospel tracks (that were originally from the Peace In The Valley EP) and replaced them with two previously released tracks: If Every Day Was Like Christmas and Mama Liked The Roses. This 1970 reissue LP was later released by Pickwick Records in 1975.


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