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CHRISTMAS 2020: Santa's Pandemic.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by cgoodwin22, Nov 4, 2020.

  1. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
  2. Shaker Steve

    Shaker Steve Beatles & Elvis Fan

    This was the first Christmas album we got. Bought in December 1959. Our UK version was not stereo sadly but the same sleeve, very thin & a bit torn now but the record still plays perfectly & I played it this time round. Bringing back all the good memories from long ago. I now have a stereo C D of it.
     
  3. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    Just curious. Now that we've perhaps set all the Christmas albums aside, and all the jingle and HappyMerry is off the radio for, say, another 10 months...

    1) What was your most satisfying Christmas music discovery this past season, that was fresh, that you had never heard before, and want to have in your life again next season?
    2) What Christmas music did you like that you've always heard in years past, that frankly, wore out their welcome for you this time around?
    3) What Christmas music did you always plan to listen to, or share with others this year, but never found an opportunity to do, or perhaps, got shut down before you had a chance to lay it on them?

    Before we take that tree down and put the Sinatra and Carpenters back into the cabinet...howabout you share with us your musical ups and downs of this Christmas past!
     
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  4. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    For instance...this year I had a flash drive in the Mini Cooper from Thanksgiving to tonight...but we had limited travel needs, used the Mazda because the weather was colder...and, once we had that big snowstorm, the 'Cooper stayed in the garage this whole time, and I doubt my wife even got the chance to hear anything on it!

    Meanwhile, she was so enjoying the music on CD I already had in the Mazda, I didn't get around to switching-out the discs for holiday CD's in there until the last few days. So, she had only ONE Christmas CD on for all of our last-minute errands: Mary Fahl's Winter Songs. And, she wouldn't change it out, because she loved it so much.
     
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  5. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    this shines in wide stereo...I love playing this album.
     
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  6. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    still spinin' Christmas...
     
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  7. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I found two brand new holiday albums this year that just blew my away by their sheer beauty, artistry and magnificence. Carrie Underwood's first full fledged Christmas album, My Gift, is everything I hoped it would be. Producer/arranger Greg Wells brought a beauty to the orchestral accompaniment that never gets in the way of Carrie's evocative and gorgeous vocals. Her version of O Holy Night is now one of my top two versions of that sacred carol. Carrie's version of Little Drummer Boy with her five year old son is sure to bring a smile to your face. Her brand new duet with John Legend on Hallelujah, not the Leonard Cohen song, but a gorgeous original composition by The Voice coach, is probably the prettiest new original Christmas song that I have heard since Mary Did You Know in 1991. She also co-wrote two other fine originals for the album, and three songs from the album hit the trifecta on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart by holding down the top three positions at the same time. Wow!

    The other holiday nugget for this year was a totally unexpected find for me, and I discovered it thanks to this great thread. Jamie Cullum's The Pianoman At Christmas is an album of all original songs, something I am almost always disappointed by, but this is an absolutely stunning holiday album, full of songs that you feel like you cannot live without hearing again, until they get burned in your brain. It is another album that was immaculately co-produced by Greg Wells once again, and captures both the romance and melancholy nature of the holidays. What a gem of an album, so gorgeously arranged and produced that I am sure I will be playing it well into the new year. And to think that this singer was barely on my musical radar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  8. WHMusical

    WHMusical Chameleon Comedian Corinthian & Caricature

    I'll bite DD:

    1) A friend turned me onto Elize Gilkyson's sublime "Christmas in Paradise." A really well written and recorded Christmas song akin to John Prine's (RIP) "Christmas in Prison" and Steve Earle's "Christmas in Washington", all three titles of which seem so pertinent to this year and Christmas 2020!

    2)
    Strangely, John Fahey's Christmas album ( I forget which one of his). The Cd sounded way too tinny and thin. I'm also way over any Christmas song with Beats... UGH!!!

    3) Emmylou Harris's Light of the Stable. The LP and CD both went missing for a while, until right before Christmas, and thus only got one spin, not ten! Likewise, I have a very fave obscure top 5 Christmas song called "Years" by Beth Neil Chapman, from a Reprise 1994 promo only Christmas CD. Sadly that Cd got ate by my wives car Cd player and now wont play thru, so I have to go find the song on an original source Cd, I guess. Only heard it once this year, and instant water-works, romantic olde father sod I am,

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  9. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    I'll look for "Hallelujah"; for me, Kathy Mattea's take on "Mary Did You Know" is the one that beats Kenny & Wynonna's by a longshot (and as always, one can always find a better a cappella recording that smokes Pentatonix' overwrought performances; The Blenders also knocked this one out of the park).

    Yeah, Cullum is the stuff..like Buble, only with some real zazz, no "housewife-friendly" treacle (chart positions are only good for demonstrating how little imagination the Christmas Radio format continues to disappoint with).

    @WHMusical, you may or may not be aware, Gilkyson shows up infrequently with Andreas Vollenweider, and in fact, is on his Christmas album. Worth looking into, particularly for "beats" that are actually there because they belong there. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
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  10. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I would dare to say that Pentatonix's version is highly overrated. I find their vocal harmony just sounds too over processed to my ears. I know they are a talented group as I have seen them sing live in person (the group opened for a Kelly Clarkson concert I attended). I have hardly met a version of Mary Did You Know that I did not like, Lol, and I admit to liking the Kenny and Wynonna duet a lot, but my favorite version might be by country singer Clay Walker. Clay is a very talented and gifted singer from the 1990's, although he certainly does not have a phenomenal vocal range, his emotive baritone was always a pleasure to hear. I just love the opening instrumental overture by Nashville arranger Bergen White (Elvis Presley's favorite Nashville maestro). It lasts almost 3o seconds and feature an orchestra the size of a football team (over 50 musicians in all), all pretty rare for a Nashville based recording.

     
  11. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    1. I actually fully listened to both Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song album and Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas album for the first time this year and I need to listen to them in the years to come.
    2. Not really wore out it's welcome, but more so that it lost it's magic, Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song (song not album), as I overplayed it during this season, and I now need to fast myself on it until next year to see if that "magic" will come back.
    3. I planned on sharing Bing Crosby's 1962 Christmas album with some friends online in a 'listening party,' but time constraints did not allow for it sadly.
     
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  12. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Two of my top ten holiday albums of all time. Percy Faith's use of counter melodies is so hypnotizing and mesmerizing to me that I could never tire of that album. There is so much going on with the instruments and melodies that I feel like I hear something brand new every time I listen to it. I really love Nat's album as well. Arranger Ralph Carmichael and Nat were both the son's of ministers, so musically and spiritually, it was just a match made in heaven.
     
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  13. Jack White

    Jack White Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    1. "Seasons Greetings' by The Fantastic Strings of Felix Slatkin. It may be a golden oldie, but it's new to me. I'd never heard it before. Simply a beautiful recording and a beautiful sounding CD.
    2. I'm probably coming across as Scrooge, but ... 'Do They Know It's Christmastime'. Also, I have a duplicate copy of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' soundtrack just for the car, which I played practically non-stop every time I drove. I think I over-did it.
    3. This name probably is only recognizable to Canadians, and of a certain age, but Catherine McKinnon's 'Christmas Album' (circa 1966). (Americans may remember her husband, Don Harron, a regular as the Charlie Farquharson character on 'Hee Haw'.) Nostalgic for me; I didn't get around to listening to it this Christmas. I ordered a CD version (and I was surprised it had been issued on CD) and that should be delivered today or tomorrow. (Hopefully the Christmas season delivery backlog has cleared up.) Also, another nostalgic listen I didn't get to this Christmas, 'Shell's Wonderful World of Music' by The Longines Symphonette Society.

    I went over this thread again, to catch up on any new titles to purchase or keep my eyes open for over the next eleven months.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  14. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    You just made my new year! This album was not on my radar either until a couple of years ago when board member @MaestroDavros first brought it to my attention on What Are Your Top Five Christmas Albums From The Golden Age (1950's to 1960's)? thread that I created. I made the proposal to Gordon Anderson at Real Gone Music and little did I know that this would end up being our only new holiday CD reissue for this year. I am a huge Frank Sinatra fan as well and I sure knew who Felix Slatkin was (Mr. Sinatra's first chair violinist and favorite in studio conductor of choice for his Capitol concept albums period of the 1950's), but I was totally unaware of the fact that the two time Grammy winning musician had made this spectacular holiday album in 1961. 90 musicians spread across two separate stereo channels! Talk about wide stereo, LOl.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  15. David Fischer

    David Fischer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm going to buy this Felix Slatkin on vinyl thanks to your recommendation, and I wonder if the mono or the stereo would be the better option. I always liked the 50s, early 60s orchestral in mono (such as Percy Faith and Andre Kostelanetz), but not sure of your thoughts on the stereo (though I know you have the CD version).
     
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  16. Armjim

    Armjim Music is indeed a gift from Heaven

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    I had forgotten that in January 2020 I had bought a copy of Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas Vol. 2 from a local classical station who was thinning out their library. This past Christmas I played my cds primarily rather than vinyl, and found the Faith album when I was looking at my Christmas albums as I was putting up the Christmas things for the year. I played it for the first time right around New Years Eve, and enjoyed it so much that buying the first volume is on my list for next Christmas.
     
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  17. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I would definitely go with the stereo vinyl as I secured a virgin copy myself, which Real Gone Music ended up needing to borrow from me, since Universal Music had somehow lost the front cover artwork. Mr. Slatkin put 45 musicians on each separate stereo channel for full effect, so I would think stereo would be the way to go, and my backup vinyl sounded pretty darn good. You might just want to get a CD copy of Seasons Greetings before it goes out of print as well, since Felix's Grammy award winning son, Leonard Slatkin, wrote some fantastic liner notes for the project ( I was actually set to write them myself as I had done for the John Klein and Jim Reeves holiday albums, but once the Maestro's son stepped up to the plate, we just could not turn him down).
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  18. David Fischer

    David Fischer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Out of curiosity, have you ever heard the mono version? I'll probably get whichever first I can that is great condition, then find the other as it comes available. These older Christmas LPs are often difficult to find in really clean condition, I've come to notice. Thanks for the info.
     
  19. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Percy Faith's two holiday albums from the 1950's are probably my two favorite instrumental Christmas albums of all time. I highly recommend the Real Gone Music versions of these albums on CD, especially the Music Of Christmas Expanded Edition, which not only has some great bonus cuts, but features an absolutely glorious remastering from Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York. Vic is well known around this forum for his stupendous remastering work on Elvis Presley's iconic album catalogue, and I believe Sony Music was trying to makeup for their terrible remastered CD version from the early 1980's, so they assigned their very finest engineer for the CD reissue for Real Gone Music.
     
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  20. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    No, I have never heard a mono version of the Felix album. Please let us know how it sounds after you get it as I am a bit curious myself.
     
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  21. After discovering it only a few years ago, the Ames Brothers' There'll Always Be a Christmas has become one of my absolute favorite Christmas albums. Hard to find at the moment on CD unless you want to drop serious cash. Real Gone put it out in mono but the older CD sounds very good as well.
     
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