24 December: Elvis Presley: Silent Night

Published December 24, 2014

Another hectic day. As you may be aware, Christmas Eve is the Big Day of the holiday season in Sweden, as opposed to Christmas Day, which is the main day in many other countries.

So, I'm gearing up for watching Lassie Come Home on DVD with a good friend, while stuffing ourselves silly with sweets. After that I'll be dressing up as Santa Claus for the benefit of my five-year-old godson - please cross your fingers that he's still too young to see through the disguise. This will be followed by dinner and relaxation at another friend's place.

And by that time I will be good and ready for a Silent Night as described here by a performer who would have turned 80 in just a couple of weeks, had he still been with us.

All the best for the holidays, everybody!

Listen to Silent Night here.

23 December: Big Tiny Little: Here Comes Santa Claus

Published December 23, 2014

No time to write anything witty or intelligent today (stop smirking!), so I'm simply offering you this piece of Yuletide enthusiasm to ponder upon.

Listen to Here Comes Santa Claus here.

22 December: Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Published December 22, 2014

Caught up in the Christmas rush? Then look no further than Herb Alpert's ultra-relaxed take on 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' Guaranteed to stop your heart racing, which can only be a good thing.

Listen to Let It Snow! Let It Snow! here.

21 December: Waldo de los Ríos: The First Noël

Published December 21, 2014

In the early Seventies, Argentine arranger Waldo de los Ríos had quite a bit of success with his pop versions of classical pieces, such as 'Mozart 40'. I seem to remember we had that particular track on a single when I was little, but listening to it today it sounds a little too pretentious-kitschy for my tastes.

In 1973 de los Ríos recorded a Christmas album, which includes a version of 'The First Noël' that certainly is no less kitschy, but in a fun way. Although he may of course have aimed for pretentious. Hmm... Well, you be the judge.

Listen to The First Noël here.

20 December: Adam Faith: Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop)

Published December 20, 2014

The late Adam Faith was quite a big star in the UK in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I have to confess that I've never investigated his recording career thoroughly, but I love this recording from 1960. And really, with a song about a lonely animal and an arrangement by the great John Barry, how could you go wrong?

Listen to Lonely Pup (In A Christmas Shop) here.

 

19 December: Bobby Goldsboro: A Christmas Wish

Published December 19, 2014

Stressful times at CMP quarters. In addition to worrying about the upcoming crowdfunding campaign for the revised and updated edition of ABBA - The Complete Recording Sessions, I've just experienced an epic meringue failure in my endeavours to prepare tasty treats for tomorrow's glögg get-together with childhood friends and their significant others.

I need something soothing, such as the dulcet tones of Bobby Goldsboro performing 'A Christmas Wish'. Perhaps you do too.

Listen to A Christmas Wish here.

18 December: Ferrante & Teicher: Brazilian Sleigh Bells

Published December 18, 2014

I think it's been made pretty clear from earlier posts in the Advent Calendar that I'm a sucker for Christmas music recorded by easy listening artists. Today, I bring you another example of that, in the shape of the pianist duo Ferrante & Teicher.

'Brazilian Sleigh Bells' was originally released on their 1962 album 'Snowbound'. It's a bit mad but that's the way I like it. The link below will take you to a performance by the duo on The Dean Martin Show - to think that there was a time when this passed for television entertainment. Ferrante & Teicher come across as geekier versions of Liberace, completely lacking his flamboyance. I love it, of course. And I also like the reel-to-reel tape recorder that's visible throughout Dean's introduction. How very bachelor-pad-y.

Watch and listen to Brazilian Sleigh Bells here.

17 December: The Beach Boys: Little Saint Nick

Published December 17, 2014

From the early Sixties up until 1966, The Beach Boys were really on a roll. The ear for a catchy tune and general sense of creativity of Brian Wilson during this period is still hard to grasp - how was he able to churn out this never-ending string of masterpieces?

'Little Saint Nick', recorded and released in 1963, is perhaps not the best thing The Beach Boys ever did, but its fun, inventive and catchy. It's one of my favourite pop/rock Christmas recordings - so there.

Listen to Little Saint Nick here.

16 December: Rhys O'Brien: Christmas Morning

Published December 16, 2014

I know absolutely nothing about this track, nor about Rhys O'Brien, except that they're both great. By the sound of it, I guess it must be a late Sixties/early Seventies release. Apparently it was produced by Phil Ramone. And Mr O'Brien wrote it himself. That's it.

Listen to Christmas Morning here.

Update 22 December 2016:

I was contacted on Facebook and received the following info about Rhys O'Brien:

Mr O'Brien was a junior high music teacher (West Islip Junior High School---Udall Road in West Islip NY.) The record was released in the fall of 1967, the A side a somewhat anti-Vietnam Christmas song called "The Sound of Christmas", also featuring Mr O'Brien singing and playing his harpischord!

 

15 December: Kay Starr: (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag

Published December 15, 2014

One advantage of doing this Advent Calendar is that I learn a number of things about the songs and the artists. Looking up Kay Starr on Wikipedia, for instance, I learned that she's still out there performing at the age of 92. I had no idea.

But then my knowledge of Kay Starr would fit on the back of a stamp. I'm familiar with her 1955 number one hit '(The) Rock And Roll Waltz', which I love, but that's about it except for 'Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag', a catchy find from the first volume of Capitol Records' Christmas Cocktails CD series. The booklet credits simply mention that the track was recorded in June 1950, without mentioning the catalogue number for any original issue, suggesting the track was previously unreleased when it was included on this CD in 1996. It also says, the orchestra was conducted by Frank DeVol, who would go on to write the theme song of The Brady Bunch. See, I told you I was learning things.

Listen to Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man With The Bag here.

ADVENT CALENDAR 2014