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Christmas Music Guru
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Date Posted:05/18/2012 06:00:26Copy HTML

***THIS IS A YULE LOG.COM EXCLUSIVE***


Dear Friends,


This announcement brings news that is both exhilarating and heartbreaking at the very same time.

After years of lobbying record executive Gordon Anderson (first when he was with Collectors' Choice Music, and now with his new company Real Gone Music) to release the great master and maestro Percy Faith's classic 1958 Christmas album Hallelujah, he has finally taken me up on my suggestion and has secured the rights from Sony Music and will release the album on CD this Christmas of 2012. In addition, he has also agreed to release it with the original 1958 album cover artwork. In 1997, when Sony first issued the LP on CD, they used the 1965 reissue LP artwork. And although that reissue artwork (of the Nativity) was beautiful, the new release will boast the original 'Angel with Harp' artwork.

So, finally, this legendary album will not only be released, but in its original form. That's the wonderful news.

However, sadly, my joy is tempered somewhat by the sobering news that he intends to release the album on a double CD coupled with the original 1954 Mono recording of Music Of Christmas -- and not the later classic 1959 Stereo re-recording, which is still currently being printed by Sony but has still to this day never has been properly remastered. And while Gordon has categorically assured me that he will do a full and proper remastering of the 1954 recording (and I'm sure he will), that doesn't change the fact that the original 1954 Mono recording -- while brilliant in its own right -- was nevertheless not only technologically  inferior to the 1959 re-recording (because of the lack of Stereo) but also artistically inferior to the later masterful and definitive 1959 Stereo re-recording.

Over the years many folks on the message board have told me that they ideally wanted to see the two recordings (the 1959 Stereo re-recording of Music Of Christmas and the 1958 album Hallelujah) released on a double CD. But I had always told them repeatedly that it was highly unlikely Sony would ever relinquish the printing rights to another record company as they are very protective of Mr. Faith's Christmas material -- especially his 1959 Stereo re-recording, which has never been out-of-print since its release 53 years ago in 1959. The shame about it is that, again, Sony has never taken the time and money to properly remaster the 1959 recording, notwithstanding the fact that many folks have lobbied them to do so for many years now -- including yours truly.

My fervent wish would have been that Sony would have ceded the printing rights for the 1959 Stereo recording to Gordon's company so it could have gotten a proper and well-deserved remastering. However, Sony will probably never stop printing the 1959 album themselves, as it is just too much of a money-maker for them given its legendary status. So unfortunately, this scenario is the best anybody's going to be able to do: a double CD of both albums using the original 1954 Mono recording.

The silver lining in this is that Gordon's company, Real Gone Music, will be the very first company to release the original 1954 recording with the original 1954 artwork. And it is a very famous one indeed. In fact, on my list of the greatest Christmas album covers of all-time, it ranks Number 2, second only to the classic cover for Fred Waring's 1955 Decca Christmas album 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, which sported a rendering by the great American artist Norman Rockwell called "Caught Napping" (a drawing of Santa and his elves discovering two small children sleeping in a chair Christmas Eve night). However, the 1954 Music Of Christmas artwork is very poignant as well: A drawing of a father playing Santa with his daughter sleeping in his arms.

Notwithstanding the joy of seeing the first release of the original 1954 artwork, I still wish that Gordon was releasing the double CD with the 1959 Stereo re-recording properly remastered, it would have made a great, great package. And unfortunately, as it stands now, I don't foresee the day when the legendary 1959 recording will ever receive a proper remastering. And that is quite sobering indeed.

As anyone who is familiar with this message board already knows, in my Top 500 of the greatest Christmas albums of all-time, Percy Faith is at the very top. And of the Christmas albums that I have helped manage to get back into print and released on CD so far, it is the Percy Faith and Mantovani albums that I am the most proud. Someday, perhaps, I will manage to convince Sony to do the right thing and remaster the 1959 Stereo re-recording, which is the Number 1 album on my
Top 500 list.

I've posted this several times on the message board before,
but given the occasion of the upcoming release of the new CD, I am going to post it again here. It is an excerpt from a post that I previously filed on the message board several years back 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, Volume 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 and final Christmas album was Christmas Is from 1966, and I rate this album at 8 on my scale of 1-10.

One last thing about the new CD:
Gordon is also including as bonus tracks the three Christmas songs that Mr. Faith recorded very early in his career in 1950. These songs are Sleigh Ride, Christmas In My Heart and Christmas In Killarney. All three had only previously been released in 1950 as singles by Columbia Records.

Here now is the original album cover artwork for the 1954 and 1958 Percy Faith Christmas albums that will soon be released:


                                                   


   


When Gordon advises me the exact street date for the CD, I'll post it on this thread.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
johnnyelectron Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #51
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/14/2012 04:19:25Copy HTML

Jeff, where did you order the CDs from that you were able to get them the day they were released? That's speedy service!
portroad Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #52
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/14/2012 11:51:37Copy HTML

I actually did not realize we got them on release day! We are Amazon Prime members and have a major Amazon warehouse/hub less than 40 miles away so that helps too, I'm sure.

And Chip, kudos to you once again for your efforts. Of all the new releases we purchased so far this season, the Percy Faith release is the true highlight for me (my wife is leaning toward giving the Perry Como Complete Christmas Collection that honor and I would consider that a close second).
Christmas Music Guru Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #53
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/15/2012 04:40:47Copy HTML


Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. I'm glad that you're enjoying the new CD.





For everyone out there, I thought I'd share here some personal comments about the new Percy Faith release:


Listening to this new CD brings very mixed emotions for me to say the least...

First of all, when listening to the 1954 mono version of Music Of Christmas -- as beautifully remastered as it is -- it is so painful knowing how far superior the 1959 stereo re-recoding is -- not just technologically because of the stereo, but most importantly, artistically as well. Percy Faith had grown so much as an artist in those 4 short years and it really shows in the 1959 re-recording. It is far more powerful, sweeping, majestic and reverent than its mono predecessor.

Then, listening to Hallelujah, which was absolutely brillianty remastered by Maria Triana at Battery Remastering Studios here in New York, it is just heartbreaking to think how equally magnificent a job she would have done with the 1959 stereo re-recording of Music Of Christmas if she had been given the opportunity to remaster that as well. Truly I tell you that if it takes me the rest of my life I am determined to get that sacred 1959 re-recording the proper remastering it deserves.

And Lastly, regarding the liner notes that were written by Michael Ragogna, a few corrections:

First, he claims that many Percy Faith followers "agree" that the 1954 mono version of Music Of Christmas was the so called "purest." Well, I can categorically tell you right now that not only do I strongly disagree with that assessment, but I am acquainted with the most leading Percy Faith experts in the world and I've never met a single one that agrees with that as well. Among these folks are Alan Bunting of the BBC in Scotland and Bill Halverson here in the U.S. Second, Mr. Ragogna incorrectly stated that Mr. Faith's third Christmas album, Christmas Is, was released in 1965, when in fact it was actually released in 1966 (the actual recording dates were
Wednesday, August 17th and Thursday, 18th in Los Angeles). And third, he incorrectly stated that all the tracks on Christmas Is feature a mixed chorus, when in fact it was a female chorus and only 6 of the 11 tracks feature this female chorus; the other 5 tracks on the album are pure instrumentals.

By the way, speaking of the liner notes, I had asked my friend Alan Bunting in Scotland if he would like to write the liner notes for the new CD. But after careful deliberation, he respectfully declined as he didn't feel he could he could put his full heart into it because of the inclusion of the 1954 mono version of Music Of Christmas as opposed to the 1959 stereo re-recording -- something I completely understood. After he declined, Gordon then hired Michael Ragogna to write the liner notes instead. And except for the three errors that I noted in the paragraph above, he did a pretty good job.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
jinglero Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #54
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/18/2012 12:37:28Copy HTML

I just got my set today (along with the Arkiv issue of Andre Kostelanetz's Wonderland of Christmas-which is fantastic from packaging to CD!). Haven't listened to it yet but they did a great job on the packaging and the use of the stereo 6-eye lable. I only wish they had used the original mono label design on the CD for MofC-the red label with the light gold print as shown here: 



(image from http://heroinc.0catch.com/columbia/)

Unfortunately, the 6-eye label shown in the tray photograph is MofC's second label which was on the version found on C2L-15 (aka CL 1238-Hallelujah was CL 1239 in this set) or any CL 588 issue after 1955.


 

Christmas Music Guru Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #55
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/18/2012 01:30:31Copy HTML


First let me point out that Columbia Records began issuing the CL-588 LP on the "6-eye" label in 1955, not after 1955.

Second, the reason why Gordon used the "6-eye" label on the CDs is because it is much more well-known than the "non-eye" label of 1954. In addition, the overwhelming majority of the CL-588s that were printed were on the classic "6-eye" label; and that is the label that most people are familiar with today. So Gordon made the right decision.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
jinglero Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #56
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/18/2012 04:36:54Copy HTML

Thank you! I can see why Gordon chose to use the more familiar labels on the discs and on the packaging. I meant that the 6-eye label was extant on releases pressed from and inclusive of 1955 onward. That was my intent and I guess i should have made that clearer. My apologies for any misunderstanding.
johnnyelectron Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #57
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/18/2012 04:47:10Copy HTML

So is the verdict thus far that the 2012 version of "Hallelujah!" is superior to the 1990's remaster by the 3 ladies that first put it into the CD format?

I would also venture that the 2012 remater of the 1954 LP is vastly superior to the junk released in the UK which is nothing more than a copy of an LP on a CD; technically better, but not artistically in the same ballpark as the 1959 masterpiece?

After reading about the way record companies have mistreated and lost the original master tapes, I'm scared that Columbia may have lost the original 3 track stereo 1959 Music of Christmas master tapes, or the hardware to playback this old original stereo tape format - I'm afraid the CD format may die off before Columbia ever allows somebody to remaster it as well, and I don't want MP3 junk copies either; a 44.1KHz CD minimum.  We've been waiting impatiently for 22 years now for MofC to be done right - not the "RCA-Camden cassette quality" hack job Columbia gave us on CD. 

 

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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/18/2012 06:43:20Copy HTML


Yes,
Maria Triana's remastering job blows the 1997 Sony remastering away, simply because she did not remix it, just a straight remastering. I had never been happy with the 1997 Sony remaster. When Sony remastered the recording in 1997, they did a beautiful job but because of the remixing process, the music was altered slightly and the CD had a distinctly different sound and feel from the original 1958 LP. It lacked a lot of the punch that the original recording had. Thankfully, this new remastering job that Maria did was perfect. I'm so glad that Gordon made the additional investment to do a new remastering.

As for the original Columbia master tapes for the 1959 stereo recording of Music Of Christmas, I do not think they are lost. I think Sony knows exactly where they are.

However, Ethel Gabriel (the legendary RCA Records producer) has told me many a horror story of how things went missing in the vaults at RCA over the years. And Norma Camby (daughter of the late maestro Johnny Douglas) told me that she frequently has difficulty tracking down RCA masters of her father's recordings that she now wants to reissue on her Dulcima label.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/18/2012 06:51:41Copy HTML

Regarding the 6-eye label design on the reissue, I did notice that the "eye" used is in the style from the 2-eye releases on Columbia and not the same as the original which you can see on the inner tray label photos.
Mister Grinch Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #60
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/19/2012 01:37:19Copy HTML

Chip--My copy arrived the other day--great sound and a great CD set!  Thanks for your help in getting this out and also congrats on the special thanks you received on the CD cover.  Very well deserved, my friend!
Christmas is on the way! Welcome Christmas!
Christmas Music Guru Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #61
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/19/2012 03:19:24Copy HTML


Thanks Grinchy, I appreciate it. Gordon has been very generous in his acknowledgements for me on the CDs that I have worked with him on.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/27/2012 11:31:23Copy HTML

On the back cover of the CD, under Hallelujah!, it is listed:

11. What Child Is This Greensleeves)

Obviously, the music is not affected by this, which is most important, and it might appear as nitpicking, but something like this - missing the other ( , an obvious typo -  should never happen with a release of this magnitude. Or any magnitude, for that matter...
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/28/2012 03:48:51Copy HTML


In defense of Gordon and Gabby, things like this DO occasionally happen -- even to the major record companies.

For a small independent record company that has released over 100 new reissue CD titles in only their first year of existence, I think that Gordon and Gabby have done a pretty damn good job thus far and I for one bestow a myriad of accolades on them.

My only real problem with the new CD is more with the three inaccuracies in the liner notes that were written by Micheal Ragogna, which I had discussed in my post of November 14, 2012 on this thread.

But with regard to this small typo on the back cover of the CD, yes, to use your own word, I think it is indeed "nitpicking." I think that everyone should just be damn thankful that this music is even getting released at all because I can tell you right now that no other record company sure as hell is going to release it, which is exactly why Gordon and Gabby started the new venture.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
Christmas Always Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #64
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/28/2012 03:01:54Copy HTML

Well said, Chip!!!!! 

With all the CD's that have been released by Gordon and Gabby, the typo on the back is just that.  I have seen typo's on original record company releases of certain albums.  Hey, it happens, but that doesn't change the music, or all the hard work that went into getting it released.  As long as the songs are what are supposed to be on the discs, that is what really counts and then that they used the original artwork makes it even more special.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/28/2012 03:31:41Copy HTML

Chip, if you are implying that by my expressing disappointment that the titles weren't proofread that I am not "damn thankful" that the music is being released at all, then you would be incorrect. I am thankful.

When you expressed diappointment that the liner notes contained innacuracies, I didn't take your disappointment and conclude that you were not thankful that the project was tackled.

When pages and pages are devoted to this historical release, and the entire project is discussed in depth, there should be nothing wrong with somebody pointing this mistake out. It's funny, one of things that attracts me to this board is the thoroughness and accuracy displayed in discussing the various Christmas albums, including the album covers.
Christmas Music Guru Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #66
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:11/28/2012 06:08:24Copy HTML


Max_Cherry:


There is a prodigious difference between what I did in my post when I mentioned the inaccuracies in Michael Ragogna's liner notes (that Gordon and Gabby of Real Gone Music had nothing to do with) and what you did in your terse, all-negative 65-word post upbraiding Real Gone Music for this small, infinitesimal typo oversight on the back of the CD.

In my post of 11/14/12, which you so quickly referred to, I spent much of the first half extolling the virtues of the CD -- in particular, the absolutely flawless remastering job by Maria Triana. Then, and only then, in the latter half did I take issue with Michael Ragogna's inaccuracies in the liner notes: praise followed by a criticism. That is not what you did in your post.

I have absolutely no problem with you or anyone else on this message board pointing out an error in this CD or any Real Gone Music CD if one is discovered -- in fact, I strongly encourage it. However, it would have been nice and rather descent of you if you could have at least taken the time to temper your criticism with a little something positive to say as well.

Let me be categorically clear that it is not what you said, but how you said it, and moreover, what you didn't say that I took umbrage to. I would not so vehemently have taken exception to your message if it weren't for the inherent sardonicism that was unequivocally implied.
Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
RareChristmasMusicLover Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #67
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/26/2012 02:04:28Copy HTML

Applause (if you can hear it through my spirit, then I commend you) to what I feel is one of the most important re-releases not only done for Christmas, and 2012, but for the entire music-industry itself. HATS OFF COMPLETELY! I've had it in my player since the moment it arrived, and just can't get over how well it was remastered, but also how strong the music still holds up in production, all these years later; I've taught a few people, just how perfect Faith's (and Mantovani's) Christmas music is, and now, when I have an occasional carol of Faith's on rotation in my cd-player, everyone can now identify if its a "Percy" ... of if it's somebody else. If they ever-invented a Grammy/AmericanMuscAward for the best re-released seasonal album (which they SHOULD!), this, my friend, would be IT! 

Touche Master Chip,
and Real Gone? Keep 'em comin'! You're off to a great start!
These buried Christmas classics aren't just windows of history, they are windows of perfect musicianship and craftsmanship of the art of music itself!

Now back to listening.
Thanks for making RareChristmasMusicLover "have a happy!"

I hope everyone here at the blog is as ECSTATIC about this historical and long-in-the-making-and-remastered milestone! I still can't believe it's happened! A true miracle of miracles indeed! And the remastering was better than perfect! There should be an award for this release, and the those that were involved in ushering it in! And an award is also needed for the remastering of it! Again, HAT'S OFF!

And "Have A Happy!"

Speaking of having-a-happy, maybe Real Gone will now consider digging up and remastering and releasing Rankin's-&-Bass's "Rudolph's Shiny New Year" and "Jack Frost!" Those had wonderful scores, that should finally see the light of day! The original Rankin/Bass "Rudolph" soundtrack album, needs a definite remastering as well, given that the one that's been around there for quite a few years, is so shoddy-sounding.

HappyTheThrillerBabyJoshua
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/27/2012 06:48:15Copy HTML


Thanks for that very favorable and very gracious feedback, Joshua; glad to hear how much you like the new CD!


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
Genoman Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #69
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/27/2012 09:57:49Copy HTML

Hmmm. I may have to grab this. The only Percy Faith that I have on cd are the 1967 'Christmas Is...' album and the 'Christmas Melodies' cd collection.
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/28/2012 05:49:03Copy HTML


Gene,

You are sadly missing out on the
greatest Christmas album of all-time (click here and here) if you don't have the 1959 stereo re-recording of Music of Christmas. This and Hallelujah are absolute must haves for any serious Christmas music collection.

By the way, Percy's third Christmas album, Christmas Is, was released in 1966, not 1967 as you said.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
Genoman Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #71
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/29/2012 05:01:41Copy HTML

Thank you for the correction Chip!! :-)
From which two albums did they draw the 'Christmas Melodies' cd? One of them is 'Christmas Is'. Which is the other???? Or is it more than two??
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/29/2012 05:44:24Copy HTML


Gene,

It is a compilation of Music of Christmas and Christmas Is.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
johnnyelectron Share to: Facebook Twitter MSN linkedin google yahoo #73
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/30/2012 04:12:55Copy HTML

Gene & Chip:

I found the CD mastering on the Percy Faith "Christmas Melodies" compilation to be pretty decent, and much better than the audio on the two individual CD's that these selections are drawn from; likewise the 80's Ray Conniff Christmas compilation CD has decent mastering, unlike their 3 individual Christmas CD's which are flat in comparison to the compilation CD.

John

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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/30/2012 04:30:26Copy HTML


Yes, I agree, John.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Percy Faith's 1958 LP 'Hallelujah' to be re-released on CD!

Date Posted:12/30/2012 06:03:17Copy HTML

Cool. Thanks!
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