04 December: Postflickorna: Juldanser I

Published December 04, 2019

Postflickorna ("The Post Girls") was a Swedish vocal choir formed in the 1950s, the members all being employees at the bank branch of the Swedish post office. They became quite popular for a number of years.

The choir had a big fan in ABBA's Benny Andersson. "I love Postflickorna," he said in 1993. "I remember thinking even when I was a child that the sound they made was very special. I'm not quite sure if it was because of their spirit or if it was the way they harmonised, but I thought it was very uplifting and I still do." High-register female vocals were of course a feature of ABBA's recordings, so the influence was certainly there, and in 1987 Benny recorded a deliberate homage to the Postflickorna sound, on the vocal part of the song 'Klinga mina klockor', featuring an all-star Swedish female choir.

The track in today's Advent Calendar post is a medley of traditional Swedish Christmas songs, entitled 'Juldanser' ("Christmas Dances"), recorded in 1957 and included on the EP Jul med Postflickorna ("Christmas With Postflickorna").These are the type of songs you would hear when you were dancing around the Christmas tree. I'm not sure how many Swedes still do that - I know I never did when I was younger, at least not at home, as our living room wasn't big enough to allow dancing around a tree.

On the EP, the medley is actually two medleys. I've featured the first one here, maybe part two will be heard in a future Advent Calendar.

Listen here.




03 December: Dottie Evans With The Brigadiers Quartet: When Christmas Comes To Our House

Published December 03, 2019

It's hard to find Christmas songs that haven't been done to death, but I think this one has seldom been recorded after this original version, which I believe hails from the mid-1950s. Neither Dottie Evans nor The Brigadiers Quartet seems to have made much of an impression in the music industry, but this song is quite pleasant and its tone is mirrored by the "ideal family Christmas" image on the album sleeve pictured here.

'When Christmas Comes To Our House' was written by Enoch Light and one Kurzhene. Light went on to form the record company Project 3 Records, which released the recordings by The Free Design, whose song 'Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas)' was featured in the Advent Calendar back in 2012. You see - everything is connected.

Listen here.





02 December: Nina & Frederik: Christmas Time In London Town

Published December 02, 2019

Wouldn't I want to spend Christmas Time In London Town some time? I would, and maybe I will some day. I guess this early 1960s recording symbolises what I would hope that Christmas would feel like, although I know that in the 21st Century it won't be quite like that (and maybe it wasn't back in 1961 either). But I can dream, can't I?

This recording was first released as the B-side of Danish duo Nina & Frederik's 1961 single 'Little Shepherd Boy'. It was also included on a Christmas compilation album issued in 1966 and pictured here. I have to say there's something quite desperate in Nina's countenance in the sleeve photo, as if she foresaw the gruesome end her then ex-husband Frederik would meet in the 1990s, when he got in to drug smuggling and was shot dead. Nina herself became an actress and you may have seen her in films such as American Gigolo.

But let's not think of any of that as we enter the world depicted in Christmas Time In London Town.

Listen here.






01 December: Ricky Vera and Steve Allen: How Can Santa Come To Puerto Rico?

Published December 01, 2019

After a 2018 hiatus, the Carl Magnus Palm Advent Calendar is back. This year I have an interesting selection of tracks lined up, which I hope will entertain the brave souls who make it a habit to follow my Advent Calendar posts.

I usually kick off with a Latin-tinged track, and this year is no different. First out is the 1953 recording 'How Can Santa Come To Puerto Rico?' as performed by Ricky Vera and Steve Allen. About Ricky Vera, I know absolutely nothing. A quick internet search provided this biography from Imdb: "Ricky Vera was born on February 1, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is an actor, known for Playhouse 90 (1956), The Leather Saint (1956) and The Colgate Comedy Hour (1950)." So he would have been all of 10 years old when this song was recorded.

Steve Allen is more well-known: a musician, band leader and many other things, perhaps most well-known as the host of The Steve Allen Show in the 1950s and 1960s. Exactly how this collaboration came about, I do not know, but it's a fun track.

Listen here.