24 December: The Swingle Singers: White Christmas

Published December 24, 2016

And so this year's Advent Calendar comes to an end. This year's finale is provided by the magnificent Swingle Singers and their version of White Christmas, from their 1968 album Christmastime (the original French title is the much better Noëls Sans Passeport).

Listen here.

Thanks for joining me on this fourth journey through the Advent Calendar. Merry Christmas!

 

23 December: The New Christy Minstrels: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Published December 23, 2016

As the Advent Calendar nears its end, I thought we should take a listen to The New Christy Minstrels' version of 'Do You Hear What I Hear?' from their 1966 album Christmas With The Christies. This song is usually delivered quite slowly and solemnly, at least in the versions I've heard, but this folked-up interpretation is quite refreshing. I'm sure it went down a storm at US colleges at the time. And hey, with an album cover like that, how could you possibly go wrong?

Listen on Spotify or here.

22 December: The Beginning Of The End: Gee Whiz It's Christmas

Published December 22, 2016

Time for some soul-flavoured music in the Advent Calendar again. The Beginning Of The End had hit in 1971 with 'Funky Nassau', and released their version of Carla Thomas' 'Gee Whiz It's Christmas' the same year. It doesn't seem to have been a hit, but it's a great and groovy recording nonetheless.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

21 December: Esquivel And His Orchestra: Sun Valley Ski Run

Published December 21, 2016

Stockholm is grey on this Wednesday, but in Sun Valley, Esquivel and his merry companions are out on a cheery ski run. As well they should be.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

20 December: Floral Pops 70: Silent Night

Published December 20, 2016

Floral Pops 70 have been featured in an earlier Advent Calendar, and now they're back to delight us with their off-beat interpretation of 'Silent Night'. Enjoy!

Listen here.

19 December: James Last: Petersburger Schlittenfahrt

Published December 19, 2016

OK, so it's Monday and the Advent Calendar might need something with a little extra energy to it, to see us through the week until the holidays begin. Something with a strong, unmissable, marching beat... Hmm... James Last to the rescue! His 1966 recording of 'Petersburger Schlittenfahrt' is exactly what we need.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

18 December: Living Guitars: Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers - Toyland

Published December 18, 2016

Nothing says Christmas like a slightly weird medley of two holiday-season tunes. Or at least not in this blog. Living Guitars share much of their aural space with a Live Electric Organ on this recording from their 1969 album The Joy of Christmas.

Listen here.

17 December: The Temptations: My Christmas Tree

Published December 17, 2016

Is there any rule that says you can't have two Jimmy Webb songs in one and the same Advent Calendar? I should think not. We've already had Frank Sinatra's 'Whatever Happened To Christmas?' and today it's The Temptations' turn as they take on 'My Christmas Tree'. It's from their 1970 album Christmas Card and features Eddie Kendricks singing as if his life depended on it.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

16 December: Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson: Swingin' Sleigh Ride

Published December 16, 2016

Why not take a relaxed sleigh ride with Joe "Mr Piano" Henderson and the Peter Knight Orchestra and Chorus? 'Swingin' Sleigh Ride' proves that all you have to do is add some sleigh bells to parts of your recording, call it something holiday-season-like, and voilá, you have A Christmas Record.  This single A-side was originally released in 1960. (Not pictured here.)

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

15 December: The Golddiggers: Winter Wonderland

Published December 15, 2016

OK, enough with all the normal stuff performed by acknowledged A-list recording artists. We've featured The Golddiggers in the Advent Calendar before, but I'm sure you'll agree they're well worth hearing from again.

Check out their groovy version of Winter Wonderland here.

 

14 December: Clarence Carter: Back Door Santa

Published December 14, 2016

Time for something soul-y with a touch of the blues - or is it blues-y with a touch of soul? You be the judge as Clarence Carter sings 'Back Door Santa', first heard on a single released in 1968.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

13 December: Andy Williams: It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Published December 13, 2016

To me, 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year' by Andy Williams, with its jubilant jazz-waltz arrangement, sounds like the promise of the wonders of the holiday season. Christmas doesn't always live up to that promise, but that doesn't mean you can't let yourself be swept away in dreams about it for a few minutes.

The song was first issued in 1963 on The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

Listen on YouTube or on Spotify.

12 December: Davitt Sigerson: It's A Big Country

Published December 12, 2016

Davitt Sigerson's 'It's A Big Country' was first released on ZE Records' 1981 Christmas album. Although the arrangement isn't especially Christmas-y it's still a great song about the problems of living in a vast continent like America where your friends and relatives might not be as near to you as you'd like during the holiday season.

Listen on Youtube or Spotify.

11 December: Hugo Winterhalter And His Orchestra: The Christmas Song Cha Cha

Published December 11, 2016

This year's Advent Calendar kicked off with a cha cha, so after yesterday's somewhat doleful ballad, let's perk things up with another cha cha. I'm sure this arrangement wasn't what Mel Tormé had in mind when he wrote the melody for this song, but it's great all the same.

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

10 December: Frank Sinatra: Whatever Happened To Christmas?

Published December 10, 2016

I love the songwriter Jimmy Webb and have compiled my own 3-CD box set of my favourite songs of his. One of the tracks on it is this 1968 recording by Frank Sinatra of 'Whatever Happened To Christmas?', which I believe is the original version. It was released on the album The Sinatra Family Wish You A Merry Christmas that same year, which also features performances by Frank's children.

I seem to remember reading an interview with Jimmy Webb where he told the story of having dinner with Frank Sinatra to discuss the recording of an entire album of Webb songs. But Webb's father was also there, and Sinatra and daddy Webb got caught up in comparing memories from their younger days, so the discussion about the album, and indeed the album itself, never happened. What an anecdote!

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

09 December: The Mills Brothers: Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town

Published December 09, 2016

Some truly great singing from The Mills Brothers in today's Advent Calendar post. The song is very familiar but their swingtastic version, from their 1959 album Merry Christmas, may not be. I dare you not to tap your foot when you hear this.

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

08 December: The Glad Singers: Good King Wenceslas.

Published December 08, 2016

Enough with the rockers of the past two days of Advent Calendar posts. Here are the incomparable Glad Singers with their swinging interpretation of 'Good King Wenceslas'. Utterly irresistible.

Listen here.

(An earlier Glad Singers Advent Calendar tune is here.)

 

07 December: Nick Lowe: Christmas At The Airport

Published December 07, 2016

I don't go to many concerts these days, but I do read the reviews from time to time. Nick Lowe performed here in Stockholm the other night and one of the reviews highlighted his 'Christmas At The Airport', originally released on his 2013 album Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family, which I knew of but hadn't bothered checking out. What a lovely recording! And the video is cute too.

Listen on Youtube or on Spotify.

06 December: Bob Seger & The Last Heard: Sock It To Me Santa

Published December 06, 2016

Let's up the energy levels a bit in today's (tonight's) advent calendar post. Here's some Detroit rock from half a century ago with Bob Seger & The Last Heard: Sock It To Me Santa. Play loud or not at all.

(If the Youtube link above doesn't work, try Spotify.)

 

 

05 December: The Hollyridge Strings: Jingle Bells / Jingle Bell Rock

Published December 05, 2016

Why did anyone bother going to free-form jazzers and LSD-soaked psychedelic rock bands in their search for wild experimentation and mind-blowing avant-garde musical experiments? Didn't they realise that it was already there to be explored in the so-called easy-listening music beloved by the suburbia they so desperately wanted to escape from? Just listen to this frankly insane medley of 'Jingle Bells' and 'Jingle Bell Rock' as performed by The Hollyridge Strings on their 1965 album Christmas Favorites.

04 December: Carpenters: Merry Christmas Darling

Published December 04, 2016

This Advent Calendar usually devotes itself to songs that are a bit unusual in style or not so well-known, and perhaps Carpenters' 'Merry Christmas Darling' doesn't quite fit that description. But who cares when the song is as lovely as this one - the vocal harmony arrangement towards the end is to die for. Originally released as a single in 1970, 'Merry Christmas Darling' was also included on the 1978 album Christmas Portrait, and performed on the television special The Carpenters: A Christmas Portrait the same year.

Listen here.

03 December: The Hollyberries: Santa's Supersonic Flying Rocket Sled

Published December 03, 2016

Day three and time for something with vocals. The Hollyberries is a project instigated by one Kip Brown, for the specific purpose of releasing Christmas tunes. 'Santa's Supersonic Flying Rocket Sled' was released in 2012 and features sisters Alyssa (age 11) and Jo Anna (age 13) Edmison on lead vocals. The two singers sound like they're a bit shy, which only works in the favour of the song. Well done, girls!

Surf-type music with a Beach Boys-style guitar solo and a super-catchy (supersonic?) tune - what more do you need to know? Listen here.

02 December: John Klein: We Three Kings Of Orient Are

Published December 02, 2016

After yesterday's cheerful kick-off, a pretty eerie Advent Calendar selection today: 'We Three Kings Of Orient Are' as played on carillion by "distinguished carillonneur" John Klein, from his album Noel Bells. This interpretation makes the arrival of the three kings sound pretty ominous, and surely that wasn't the intention?

Listen here and see what you think.

01 December: Hernando Hopkins: Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer Cha Cha

Published December 01, 2016

Welcome to this year's Advent Calendar at Carl Magnus Palm.com. Long-time devotees may remember that there were calendars here in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (click on the years to access previous Advent Calendars). Last year's calendar didn't happen, but I'm pleased to announce that it's back for the 2016 season!

The point has been made in previous Advent Calendars that the appeal of most Christmas songs can only be heightened if they're performed to a Latin rhythm. Let's prove that as we kick things off. The first song on the first Advent Calendar, back in 2012, was Cha-Cha All The Way by Capitol Studio Orchestra, so we'll open with something similar here: 'Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Cha Cha' by Hernando Hopkins, originally released in 1958.

Enjoy!

 

ADVENT CALENDAR 2016