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Christmas Music Guru
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Date Posted:10/21/2009 01:23:17Copy HTML




 


It was truly our loss that crooner Vic Damone only recorded a couple of Christmas songs for RCA Records and not a complete album when he was at his professional peak in the 1960s. And after you hear his dynamic version of "Deck The Halls," you’ll understand why.

It was recorded in 1966 for one of the greatest Christmas compilation albums ever issued, Music To Trim Your Tree By. Other artists on this great LP include Norman Luboff, Jim Reeves, Al Hirt, Robert Shaw, John Gary and Arthur Fiedler, among others.

Luckily, copies of the LP are usually available at reasonable prices on Amazon and eBay, but you’ll have to have a turntable to play it. What? Don’t have one? Are you kidding??

Now, fasten your seat belt, hold on to your hat, and awaaaay we go with Vic Damone...


 Click Here ~ "Deck The Halls"


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/21/2009 01:30:23Copy HTML

Chip,

Good morning.  Long time lurker...first time poster.

Vic Damone's "Deck the Halls" was song number one on my second favorite Christmas album as a child.  My mother would begin playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving and continue until "Epiphany" in January.  I found that album just a couple of years ago and it's helped bring back great memories of my childhood since Mom passed away.  Although I have no turntable, the clicks and pops I have in the mp3 file of Damone's "Deck the Halls" sounds just as they did those many years ago.

I greatly appreciate the discussion I've seen here as well as the detail and care in which you share a wealth of information with all of us.

Thanks again for this place!

All the best,

Bob
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/21/2009 01:49:21Copy HTML

The first Christmas song I remember that Vic Damone sang was "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear:  This was on a Radio Shack EP 33 1/3 RPM record on the RCA Record Label from 1968.  Songs are as follows:
Side One:
Julie "Andrews "Jingle Bells" with Orch., Harpsichord and arrangement of Andre Previn.
Vic Damone "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.  Arr. Jack Pleis
Side Two:
Jack Jones "Joy to The World"
Marian Anderson "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" Arr. Bennett

I have 3 copies of this EP.  I remember very vividly walking to Radio Shack to get this record.  The two I had initially picked up in 1968 I didn't keep the sleeve and wrote all over the record labels.  I was only 10 at the time and didn't know any better lol.  Fortunately, a few years ago I came across one in Mint condition
Picture sleeve
I do have "Music To Trim Your Tree By"  too.  Its a too bad that Vic Damone never recorded a Christmas Album.  I'm sure it would've been great to hear more Christmas songs from him.
___________________________________________________________
EDITED I wanted to add that Vic Damone also sang "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" on the Value/True Value Hardware Stores Happy Holidays series.  The song is on side one track 3.  Sorry about the artwork scan not being the greatest but the album is 41 years old lol.
Value/True Value Happy Holidays Volum IV
Chip, aside from the 3 songs mentioned in this thread, were there any other Vic Damone Christmas songs?
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/21/2009 03:35:03Copy HTML

Those would be nice shares Susan...
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/21/2009 11:18:22Copy HTML

This same version of "Deck The Halls" was the lead track on Side 1 of on an RCA compilation LP, "Christmas in New York", released in 1969.  That one's likely out of print, and if it's available, probably only on vinyl. 
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/22/2009 05:18:10Copy HTML


Bob
:
Welcome to the message board; glad to have you with us!


Susan:

The only other Christmas song that Vic Damone ever recorded for RCA Records was Joy To The World, which was released on the LP Christmas Eve With Colonel Sanders in 1967. I asked Ethel Gabriel (the legendary RCA Records producer) why he never recorded a complete Christmas album for RCA and she said that, unfortunately, Vic had a very uneven career when he was with RCA -- which she blamed on his agent.

By the way, in 1951 Mr. Damone did record a 10" LP of Christmas music when he was with Mercury Records called Christmas Favorites. However, this was when he was quite young and well before he hit his artistic peak in the 1960s.

Also, since you were the one who posted the thread on the passing of Al Martino, just a little trivia: it was Vic Damone who was first considered for the role of Johnny Fontane in The Godfather; the role that eventually went to Mr. Martino.


Frank
:

Vic Damone's Deck The Halls was actually the lead track on Side 1 of
Christmas In New York, Volume 2
and the release year was 1968, not 1969.

There were a total of 3 volumes in this series
:

Christmas In New York (1967 ~ RCA catalog #PRS-257)
Christmas In New York, Volume 2 (1968 ~ RCA catalog #PRS-270)
Christmas In New York, Volume 3 (1969 ~ RCA catalog #PRS-288)


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/22/2009 04:18:23Copy HTML

Thanks for the update Chip,  I'll have to look for the 10 inch Mercury release.

It is weird how TV/Movie Producers choose an actor/actress for a role and then change it.  For example, I believe that Sylvester Stallone was originally chosen to play Fonzie on "Happy Days" Both Sylvester Stallone and Henry Winkler were in the 1974 movie "The Lord's Of Flatbush"  and Buddy Ebsen was the original Tin Man in "The Wizard Of Oz" but was allergic to the metallic paint.  I can't imagine Sylvester Stallone as Fonzie.  The first movie I ever saw Sylvester Stallone in was "The Lord's Of Flatbush" He played the role of Stanley if memory serves.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/22/2009 08:21:11Copy HTML


Susan,

Just be aware that the 1951 10" LP Christmas Favorites release will be as different from his 1960s RCA sound as was his later 1984 Christmas album, Christmas With Vic Damone.

By the way, in 1965, one year before Vic Damone signed with RCA Records (while he was still contracted to Warner Bros. Records) he recorded 2 Christmas songs for the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company's Firestone Presents Your Favorite Christmas Music, Volume 4.
Those 2 songs were It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (with The Young Americans) and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. These two songs are quite good and very close to the sound and style of his later RCA Christmas recordings.


Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/22/2009 09:43:31Copy HTML

Thanks again Chip,

I happen to have all seven Firestone albums both Stereo and Mono and haven't listened to them in quite awhile.  I believe that the first one was only in Mono but I haven't looked at them recently as they are still in a box that has been packed for a long time.  I have more Vic Damone Christmas songs and didn't even realize it lol.  Thanks again for pointing this out to me.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/23/2009 02:23:45Copy HTML


That's correct Susan; Firestone Volume 1 was only issued in mono.

As for the other LPs in the series: Volumes 2 thru 6 were issued in both mono and stereo, and Volume 7 was only issued in stereo.
 


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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/23/2009 08:03:35Copy HTML

Vic Damone's Deck the halls is on the following CD's:

The family Christmas Connection - Time Life
Happy Holidays  - BMG compilation  45855-2  (2001)
Christmas Crooners -BMG compilation  45849-2 (2001)
Peaceful Christmas- BMG compilation KRB music compilation KRB1147-2  (2000)
Christmas Magic Volume 2  BMG compilations (1991)



Vic Damone's Joy to the world is available on the following CD:

A Merry Christmas featuring: Julie Andrews, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Englebert Humperdink, Vic Damone - Sony BMG Compilation  A94336  (2005)

His version of Santa Claus is coming to town is availabe on a Time-Life Christmas compilation. When I find it in my collection, I'll pass the information along.


I don't know if any of these CD's are still in print.  Hope this helps!

JIm
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/23/2009 08:28:17Copy HTML


Jim,

The Time-Life compilation that Mr. Damone's Santa Claus Is Coming To Town was released on is The Family Christmas Collection (Time-Life catalog #STL-131).



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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:10/29/2009 03:39:45Copy HTML

Now that my memory has been refreshed, I now recall the three volume "Christmas in New York" compilation on RCA.  The only volume my mother had was Vol 2, which lead off Side 1 with Vic Damone's "Deck The Halls".  She purchased it in 1969, which is why I thought that was the release date.  My uncle had all three volumes.

Thanks for the correction, Chip!

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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:11/10/2009 07:10:52Copy HTML

Found a 'Laserlight' Compilation CD in the used bins this afternoon called 'All-Star Merry Christmas' from 1991 with what they claim are all new digital recordings.  Three of the tracks are sung by Vic Damone (Winter Wonderland, What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? and The Bells Of St Mary's).
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:11/16/2009 06:49:17Copy HTML

While we're talking about Vic Damone, is anyone familiar with his song "Christmas in San Francisco"?  I heard this song played on Sirius/XM's Holiday Traditions channel.  I had never heard it before!  I figure it was recorded sometime in the 1960s.

Tony Bennett left his heart in the City by the Bay, but I never knew Vic Damone spent Christmas there!

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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:11/17/2009 05:38:13Copy HTML


Frank,

Vic Damone recorded Christmas In San Francisco in 1977; it was released as a single on Rebecca Records.


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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/10/2010 05:32:46Copy HTML

Hi All:

Been following the threads on Vic Damone here and to your point Chip, it is a shame that more of his Christmas songs are not readily available.

Chip, have you heard both his 1951 Christmas favorites as well as his full length LP that he did in the 80s?  How do the songs on those compare to his Deck the Halls and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear?

Curious minds would like to know!

Thanks!

Jim A
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/10/2010 11:10:22Copy HTML


Jim,

Neither the 1951 10" LP, nor the 1984 12" LP compare to the sound he achieved with the RCA recordings or even the Firestone recordings. This is a classic example of an artist where the original recordings are not the best; and in this case of Vic Damone, neither are his last.

As I said in my opening post on this thread, it is truly our loss that Vic didn't record an entire Christmas album when he was with RCA Records in the 1960s and in the prime of his career.



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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/11/2010 01:33:29Copy HTML

Hi Chip,

I just recently purchased this from eBay
Readers Digest
An Old Fashioned Christmas
RDA 215-A
RCA Records
1977

This is a 6-Record boxed set

It has two songs already mentioned here by Vic Damone
Deck The Halls is on Record 1 Side 1 Track 1
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear is on Record 3 Side 1 Track 3

I was hoping there would be more by Vic Damone, but basically the major artist in this set is The Fireside Singers.


Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/11/2010 05:52:22Copy HTML


Susan,

Even though that Reader's Digest collection is dominated by selections from the Fireside Singers, it is peppered with a lot of great songs by Fred Waring, Jim Reeves, Kate Smith, Perry Como, Eddy Arnold, Bing Crosby, Brenda Lee, Ed Ames and Jack Jones.

Hope you got it for a good price.


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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/11/2010 03:39:45Copy HTML

Hi Chip,

Yes, it was only $9.95 + $4.00 for shipping.  And the records look excellent and I can't see any scratches on them.

Yes I was going to mention the other great artists, too, and most were/are already RCA Recording Artists.

Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Georgie Stoll.  Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians appear courtesy of MCA

I've only listened to the first side on record one and on Ed Ames Away In a Manger, the song cuts out on one channel for about a second and the record isn't scratched or dirty so it is a glitch that maybe was in the negative they used for pressing.  Fortunately, I have Christmas With Ed Ames and the same song is on that album and it is flawless.

I hope the rest play fine as there is some good music on this compilation.  I like the artwork on the inner sleeves too.

Question for you now?  Apparently, Readers Digest released another Boxed-Set under the same title but it is only 5-Records and completely different artists and songs.  But they used the same artwork for the box.  When I was searching eBay, I saw a 5-Record listing and they showed the box and inner box and on the inner box it only listed 5 records I couldn't read the track listings very well, but from the image, I could tell that they songs were different

I know that later, Readers Digest released a 5 CD compilation in 1991 in the UK, under the same title, but used completely different artwork and the songs and artists are different than the two vinyl sets I've seen on eBay.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/11/2010 08:40:53Copy HTML


Susan,

I am not familiar with the later 5-record boxed set that you described off the top of my head. I'll have to go to my archives and checkif I come up with anything, I'll certainly let you know.


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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/11/2010 11:56:04Copy HTML

Thanks Chip,

I can't find a listing for it now, but the one I saw did show 5 records and the inner box had only had 5 records printed on it with track listings, etc but I couldn't make them out.

No biggie as with 6 records there's more great music to listen to.
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Vic Damone: Deck The Halls

Date Posted:12/14/2010 03:16:45Copy HTML

Damone's renditions of "Deck the Halls", "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", and "Joy to the World" can be found on this 3-CD set:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Christmas-Crooners-3CD-BOX-NEW-30-Tracks_W0QQitemZ230559602446QQcategoryZ307QQcmdZViewItem
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