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CHRISTMAS 2020: Santa's Pandemic.

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

  1. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    I know the Ray Conniff "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" album includes a mix of secular and traditional/religious song, I can't tell you too much about it, but @RSteven would probably be able to give you more information.
     
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  2. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I am so glad to hear you and your wife are enjoying the John Klein twofer CD. It is such a thrill to know that our hard work and persistence paid off in the long run.

    There are some great choices for Christmas choral music out there and certainly the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of them, but I would also recommend two other splendid reissues from Real Gone Music that I really love. The Robert Shaw Chorale is just a terrific group of singers and the vocal arrangements are stellar. The same goes for the very highly regarded Norman Luboff Choir, which also features some nifty brass arrangements with their fine vocal work. All of these iconic albums are from the Golden Age of Christmas as well, and the Luboff CD actually has two albums included in the RGM compilation. Both of these collections have been remastered in superb fashion.


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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
    Davmoco, JohnO, frightwigwam and 5 others like this.
  3. Timothy Fiacco

    Timothy Fiacco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Melbourne, Florida
    Thanks for the suggestion of the Ray Conniff recording but that is actually one that is already in my collection. It is in my top 10 Christmas Albums, one of my faves that I found in a thrift store for a quarter!
     
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  4. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

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    Right now I am listening to my favorite Crosby Christmas album, I Wish You A Merry Christmas. Which in the Christmas Classics CD release by Capitol routinely does very good on the iTunes album charts.
     
  5. Timothy Fiacco

    Timothy Fiacco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Melbourne, Florida
    I will definitely check both of these out, I believe we both have the same taste in Christmas music. That John Klein twofer is a absolutely gorgeous recording and the liner notes are very informative and very interesting. Thanks again for your suggestions.
     
    RSteven likes this.
  6. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    Well I tried :laugh: , I'm not the biggest listener to choral Christmas albums, as I prefer solo artists for Christmas albums more, but I wanted to try and help and Ray Conniff seemed a fine choice due to me hearing some of the recordings on the radio.
     
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  7. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Oh yeah, that Crosby Christmas Classics CD is my favorite Bing compilation by far. It includes my very favorite Bing recording ever. No it is not his iconic version of White Christmas, but his far better produced and arranged version of Do You Know What I Hear? from 1963. This was the only time I know that Ralph Carmichael, Nat "King" Cole's conductor and choral arranger on The Christmas Song and album, ever worked with Bing on a Christmas single. I wished they had followed this beauty up with a full holiday album. Just listen to the way Mr. Carmichael builds up the brass at the 2:00 mark and Bing responds majestically with some of his most powerful vocals ever.

     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  8. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    The best version of Jim Reeves stellar Twelve Songs Of Christmas used to be the one included in the great Bear Family box set, although since one song was recorded out of order chronologically, you had to re-produce the album yourself to get his complete Christmas album on one playlist in a row. Bear Family did a very fine remastering on the whole box. I personally think the stereo version is the only way to go.

    Real Gone Music just did an Expanded Edition of Jim's Twelves Songs Of Christmas last year and frankly our new remaster by Vic Anesini took the remastering of the CD up another notch and to be quite honest, I was not sure that was possible as I loved the remastering on the Bear Family box set a lot. Nevertheless, Mr. Anesini is a wizard in his remastering studio in New York at Battery Studio's and Jim's holiday album has never sounded so rich, vibrant and dynamic to these ears. I cannot recommend the Real Gone Music version of Jim's classic holiday album enough, but I am a little biased, as I actually wrote the liner notes for the project.


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  9. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    This and Bing’s Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas are some of my favorite Christmas recordings from him. One of my favorite parts is how the first part ends with “until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow” and then the second part ends with “hang a shining star upon the highest bough.” He also shows some powerful vocals on that performance. The 59-64 Christmas recordings from him are probably my favorites from him, with the 1962 album showing his voice in wonderful form. What are your though on the album itself?
     
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  10. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Oh yeah, I like that he does the original lyric and the later rewrite that Mr. Sinatra insisted on, if I am remembering that correctly.

    I think that time frame is the sweet spot for me as well. Bing's voice was as smooth as a glass of bourbon and the recording technology had improved dramatically with stereo and such. I am going to have to revisit the album itself, because when I first bought it, I wasn't even aware of that great version of Do You Know What I Hear? and I did not know the Ralph Carmichael connection to it. You can also count me in as a huge fan of the Bowie/Crosby duet. I think it is just terrific, and I can certainly see why it continues to get a lot of airplay on radio during the holidays. I will try to report back to you after I've taken in the album a little more completely. How do you find the overall mastering on Crosby's Christmas Classics?
     
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  11. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    I find the 2006 remaster to fine which I believe was done by Kevin Bartley but don’t quote me on that. There was also a remaster in the early 90s I believe by Bob Norberg, I can’t report on the sound quality on that issue. In fact I wish there could be some more remasters to Crosby’s early 50s/late 40s Christmas recordings that was done to Rudolph as I can actually tell it’s high fidelity unlike in some releases.
     
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  12. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    The 2006 disc credits Kevin Bartley but oddly enough it is digitally identical to the 1999 Norberg remaster. Even more bizarre is that it uses (based on spectrographic analysis) lossy sources. The best sound is on the 1988 Larry Walsh CD, which unfortunately has less tracks.
     
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  13. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    I didn’t realize Larry Walsh did a remaster, although I believe the 1988 CD omits one of the tracks from the original I Wish You A Merry Christmas album, Pat-A-Pan/While Shepard’s Watch. I’ll have to get this CD sometime, I find Norberg’s stereo remixes/remasters less problematic than his mono remasters, so it doesn’t bother me as much as, say, his Songs For Swingin’ Lovers remaster which sounds muffled. Could someone send a sample of one of the tracks from the 1988 CD?
     
  14. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Does that 1988 CD version with the Larry Walsh remastering have Do You Hear What I Hear on it?
     
  15. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    No, it has only the original I Wish You A Merry Christmas track listing with Pat-a-Pan/While Shepherds Watched missing from the lineup sadly. I'm not sure if Larry Walsh ever remastered Do You Hear What I Hear although someone on this forum probably knows, or knows what the besting sounding version of it is.
     
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  16. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Last night I wasn't able to check things and was posting from memory, so I'll fill in the gaps here.

    No, sadly the 1988 Christmas Classics CD does not feature Pat-a-Pan/While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (from the original 1962 I Wish You a Merry Christmas album) nor does it feature Do You Hear What I Hear or Christmas Dinner (the a and b sides of a non-album single from the same era). The original Christmas Classics LP was a truncated 10-song collection released in 1977, and the 1988 CD mirrors its original tracklist.

    To get the three "missing" songs mentioned above in best sound quality, you need the 1992 release Christmas With Bing Crosby.

    As noted, the 1999 Christmas Classics features all the above songs plus the Bowie duet, but it's mastered by Bob Norberg and doesn't sound as good. And the most bizarre thing of all is that it comes from lossy sources! Some sort of error must have happened along the mastering chain, which is pretty amazing and inexcusable. And the more recent 2006 reissue (which restores the original I Wish You A Merry Christmas cover artwork) mirrors this Norberg mastering.

    And I should mention that Larry Walsh is not credited on the 1988 CD. It's likely his work given he was the go-to guy for this stuff at the time, but I can't say that for certain. It sounds very good, whoever did it.
     
  17. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Don't have time now, but I'll try to post a sample today or tomorrow.
     
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  18. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Once again you come to the rescue my friend. I am crazy about Bing's version of Do You Hear What I Hear? and Larry Walsh is one of the better remastering engineers for Universal Music. I love what he did on the Dean Martin A Winter's Romance CD in 1989 and much of what he has done on Sinatra's catalogue. I have already ordered the 1992 Christmas With Bing Crosby CD on eBay for less than ten bucks. Thanks again!
     
  19. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    Meanwhile, in this century... a nice 2020 Christmas offering from The Marias, a nice downtempo band from California:
     
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  20. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
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    Two superb jazz trio Christmas CD's by a sadly mostly forgotten great jazz pianist.
     
  21. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
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    Wonderful solo Christmas Cheer from one of the great (mostly "stride") pianists. After Mr. S's A Jolly Christmas, this is the 2nd album I play at the start of each Holiday Season.
     
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  22. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    The late Kenny Rogers made a slew of best selling holiday albums during his great seven decade recording career. Two of his holiday albums reached 2x platinum status and two others earned gold record status. The Dolly Parton duet album is just fantastic as Rogers himself was shocked when Dolly came into the project with "four or five of the best original Christmas songs that I've ever heard," including the great title cut, Once Upon A Christmas. I am quite partial to Christmas Without You and With Bells On, but the whole album is just terrific. Kenny's first solo holiday album, Christmas, is no slouch either in the sales or quality department. Rogers wisely brought in the very talented conductor Gene Page (You've Lost That Loving Feeling) to help him with the stellar orchestral arrangements and they are all quite beautiful, but he always leaves great space for the rhythm section and singer. Check out Kenny's jazz influenced harmonies on Carol Of The Bells below:

     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  23. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Here are two Christmas icons, one from the past and one from the present. Both seemed to be able to touch multiple generations with their music, but especially their holiday music. Without Bing Crosby's Merry Christmas album, we might have never even heard of Michael Bublé. Along with Andy Williams, Perry Como and Johnny Mathis, those two artists just really represent the season to me, along with the great maestro's like Percy Faith, Mantovani, and my personal favorite, John Klein (sorry for the plug once again, but I do truly love his iconic A Christmas Sound Spectacular album, even if I hadn't written the liner notes for the reissue by RGM).

     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  24. ModernBingFan0377

    ModernBingFan0377 Crosby ‘Connoisseur’

    I was planning on sending you this, although I should've guessed you already knew about it. Really without Bing recording Christmas music, it may not have ever got as popular as it did. He didn't even want to record Silent Night at first, but once Bing recorded White Christmas a genre was defined. There were some Christmas recordings before hand, but none popular enough to really open up the market like Bing's recordings would.
     
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  25. Porkpie

    Porkpie Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    My wife loves Buble but he irritates me. Everytime I see him interviewed he comes across as a frustrated comedian. Every sentence ends in a badda-bing!! Constantly cracking awful jokes. I know, I know, bah humbug, but really, just sing and then do us a favour and shut up Buble.
     
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