05 December: Dusty Springfield: O Holy Child

Published December 05, 2020

The magnificent Dusty Springfield calms things down for Saturday's Advent Calendar entry. 'O Holy Child', written by her brother Tom Springfield and Peppi Borza, was released as a Christmas charity single in 1964.

Somewhat surprisingly, given Dusty's stardom at the time, it didn't chart, and can't have been much help to Dr. Barnado's London Centenary Fund in building a new home for physically handicapped children. I don't think the song appears on many Dusty compilations or box sets, so it remains something of an obscurity, which is a pity.

Listen to 'O Holy Child' here.

Or listen on Spotify, where I've created a playlist for this year's Advent Calendar.

04 December: Al Hirt: Hooray For Santa Claus

Published December 04, 2020

It's the 1960s! It's a time to be groovy! And here's trumpeter Al Hirt to be exactly that!

This catchy 1964 single reached number six on Billboard's Christmas chart. That same year the song was also featured in the movie Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, which apparently is one of those films that turn up on "all-time worst movies" lists: it has a rating of 2.7/10 on IMDb. No such low grades for the song, though, which enlivens the spirits on what is a grey and rainy day in Stockholm.

Listen here.

This song is not available on Spotify, but the 2020 Advent Calendar entries that are, are collected in this playlist.


03 December: Fleet Foxes: White Winter Hymnal

Published December 03, 2020

As this century progresses, I get progressively less interested in new pop/rock music. But every now and then I stumble across a band I really like, such as Fleet Foxes. 'White Winter Hymnal', from their first album, was originally released as a single in July 2008, so it doesn't seem it was intended as a Christmas song - the lyrics refer to snow, that's all. Since then it has become one, however, covered by quite a few artists, including Kim Wilde.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to the physical release of Fleet Foxes' new album, Shore, in February 2021.

Listen to 'White Winter Hymnal' here.

Or listen on Spotify, where I've created a playlist for this year's Advent Calendar.


02 December: Eddy Duchin and his Orchestra: Don't Wait 'Till The Night Before Christmas

Published December 02, 2020

Since it's only about three weeks until Christmas, I thought it might be wise with a word of warning to everyone who expects a visit from Santa Claus this year. In the words of band leader Eddy Duchin and his vocalist Stanley Worth: Don't wait 'till the night before Christmas to be good!

This recording was first released in 1938, at which time it reached the Top 10 on Billboard's Christmas chart. Pianist Eddy Duchin was quite a popular band leader at the time, but died in 1951 at the age of only 41. A commercially successful film about his life, entitled The Eddy Duchin Story and starring Tyrone Power, was released in 1956.

Listen to Don't Wait 'Till The Night Before Christmas here.

Or listen on Spotify, where I've created a playlist for this year's Advent Calendar.







01 December: Little Bobby Rey and His Band: Rockin' "J" Bells

Published December 01, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 Carl Magnus Palm Advent Calendar, my seventh exploration of the high and the low of Christmas music, where I try to avoid the most familiar recordings of the genre. So no 'White Christmas' by Bing Crosby, no 'Last Christmas' by Wham!, no...well, you get my drift.

Let's set the mood with this rocked up version of 'Jingle Bells', released as a single in 1959 (some sources say 1960). Bobby Rey began playing the clarinet at age 12, and at 14 taking saxophone lessons from saxophonist Earl Bostic. I'm not sure how old he was when 'Jingle Bells' was recorded, but I guess the "Little" label suggests he may still have been in his teens.

This recording doesn't seem to have been much of a hit, but in 1960 Bobby Rey became the band leader for the Hollywood Argyles, who scored a US number one hit that year with 'Alley Oop' (I don't think there's any saxophone on that, though).

Listen to 'Rockin' "J" Bells' here.