Thursday, December 30, 2010

The End Of Christmas 2010

OK, this is it, the last Christmas share of 2010.  We're having our family Christmas tomorrow, so I'll be busy with that all day, and I'm tired of having to work on these things every night.  Not only have I tried to post something every day since Thanksgiving, I've been recording these since the beginning of September, so I've been at this for a while.  Not that it isn't fun, I enjoy it quite a bit, but I need to take a little break.  Don't worry, though, the Christmas should be back in July with Christmas in July.  For now, I'm closing with a random record pulled from the leftover stack of stuff.  The folder I created for my Christmas vinyl this year has about 1900 songs in it, and as of this record, I've converted a little over 1300 of those to MP3.  They only become MP3s when I'm done with the recording and the artwork, so that means I've finished up roughly two thirds of what I started.  That's a better average than most years. Much of what I record is stuff that I can't share, since it's on CD or available for legal download somewhere.  I enjoy recording all sorts of records, so I usually record what looks interesting then check later if I can share it or not.  Now I need to go through and put artwork with all those leftover albums that I've got in there.  But this is the last one you'll see, at least for this year.  Please have a Happy New Year and download The Canterbury Choir-While Shepherds Watched (MGM 10" E147, Mono, 1952).  Hope you enjoyed all the music this season!

1. Angels We Have Heard On High
2. While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
3. Away In A Manger
4. O Holy Night (Cantique De Noel)
5. In The Bleak Mid-Winter
6. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
7. Coventry Carol
8. We Three Kings Of Orient Are


One Last Remaster

Before I finally finish up with the 2010 Christmas sharity, I have one last remastered recording for you.  I remembered that my old share of this Ethel Smith Christmas record came from some vinyl that had been played pretty long and hard.  There's a reason you're supposed to change those needles occasionally, folks.  I think this copy was in much better shape, but it's still not perfect.  This isn't my favorite collection of Christmas music on the organ, but it's not bad.  Please be my guest and download this new and improved version of Ethel Smith-Christmas Music (Decca DL8187, Mono, 1955).  This record was later reissued in an abridged version on Vocalion entitled Silent Night-Holy Night.  That's the cover you see down at the bottom. Oh, and the original issue on 78 and 45 EP had yet another cover, you can see that one here.

1. Silent Night
2. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
3. O Holy Night (Cantique De Noel)
4. The First Nowell
5. Oh, Little Town Of Bethlehem
6. Angels We Have Heard On High
7. Adeste Fidelis (O, Come All Ye Faithful)
8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. White Christmas
10. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
11. Good King Wenceslas
12. Jingle Bells


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Indulgence

Once again, you'll have to pardon my straying from the pure and simple and into the realm of whatever distracts me for the moment.  I ripped another 78 tonight, and this one is a whole horse of a different color from last night's affair.  Pinning down a date for this one is a bit tough, though.  I found 1908, 1910 and 1911, all of which I'm sure are correct, but I'm not certain exactly which release or take I've got here.  This is a massive single-sided 12" record that spins at 78 RPM on the Victrola label.  After I'd played with the EQ, I did a bit of compression on it, so it plays at something closer to a uniform volume all the way through.  Before I did that, the quiet parts were really too quiet, and the two loud spots were too loud and had what I think was some sort of groove wear in them, too.  I think it sounds better now.  But I just can't get over the fact that this record is 100 years old and I played it!  And to think I almost didn't pay the exorbitant sum of $3 when I found this at the thrift store.  That's way too much for an old 78!  Please be my guest and download a sample copy of Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Contralto With Orchestra-Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night) (Christmas Hymn) (Victrola 88138).  Again, comments, critiques, suggestions, complaints, concerns, all are welcome.


Big thanks to all of you who gave me some feedback on yesterday's post.  I tried using the EQ software from the ClickRepair folks, but I didn't think it sounded as good as the stuff from Audacity.  I didn't know enough about it to change the default settings, so I'll have to go back to it at some point once I have a better idea of what I'm doing.  I did notice that when I ran this file through ClickRepair, it had to do a lot less work than the one from yesterday, so maybe that crack was adding to the noise.  I still need to work on cleaning these things before I record them.  I'm still a little afraid of them, so I am treating them like eggshells.  I think I have the tracking force set at 2.5 grams.  The needle itself on the tonearm looks to my eyes to be cocked a little to one side, but I don't see a way to adjust that.  I wonder if the tonearm itself is bent?  That's what I get for buying pawn shop record players.  And as far as taking pictures of the labels instead of scanning them, I'll have to give it a try.  Maybe I can make it work for something that small.  Shooting LP covers that way never works out very satisfactorily.  I'll try to post a before and after sample soon, too, as soon as I get a better handle on what I'm doing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Minor Indulgence

So, couple of weeks ago, I finally found a nice, modern turntable that spun at 78 RPM.  It was at a pawn shop and the price was pretty good, even without a headshell or needle.  Of course no place local had a needle that would work on the old records, although the guy at Sam Ash tried to tell me I didn't need a special needle.  (He also told me there was a cartridge in the package I bought, but it was just a needle...  Moron.)  So I ordered a cartridge and it arrived today.  I've been playing all evening, figuring out how to remove the old RIAA curve and put a correct curve in place, how to strip out the low frequency sounds, how to remove some of the surface noise without stripping out any of the sound.  All things I do with my usual album recordings, sorta, but all completely different on these records.  So the first recording I got into a pretty decent shape was a square dance version of Jingle Bells that I grabbed the other day from the Goodwill Bargain Barn just before it was thrown in the dumpster.  It's even cracked, but I couldn't hear it in the recording.  I think I did a pretty good job of it, but I'd love to hear some critiques from those of you who have more experience in such things.  I recorded in Audacity in stereo, removed the clicks in ClickRepair, which mixed it down to mono, then back to Audacity for removing the RIAA curve, then some re-EQing.  I don't remember exactly what I did or didn't do to get this final version, since I went back and forth so many times.  I also didn't scan the record 'cause I think it's not gonna do that crack any good to sit on a scanner bed.  Anyhow, please give a listen to Carson Robison And His Pleasant Valley Boys, Calls By Lawrence V. Loy-Jingle Bells (RCA-Victor 10" 78 RPM 20-1832, 1946).  Lemme know what you think.  good, bad, indifferent, whatever.  I want to learn to do this right.  :)


Lundstrom 2

As fate would have it, I found a second Christmas LP from The Lundstroms in the archives, so I had to record it.  I'm always one for complete sets.  So if you downloaded the first one, you have to download this second one.  There are probably more, but they'll have to wait until I find them.  This is The Lundstroms-Colorado Christmas (Tempo/Message R-7230, Stereo).  I wonder if I could get a collection of Christmas songs featuring all 50 states?  Hmmm, I can think of quite a few just off the top of my head...

1. Jesus Christ Is Born
2. Colorado Christmas
3. Beauty Of The Snow
4. I Can Hardly Wait Till Christmas
5. Now I'm Not Lonely At Christmas
6. Why Isn't Everybody Singing Allelu
7. Sing Along Christmas
8. Christmas Medley
9. Christy's Christmas Prayer
10. I Needed A Savior To Care
11. Our Love Is Like The Mountains


Lundstrom 1

I was trying to remember why I ripped this LP and I'm having a bit of a hard time of it.  I've got dozens, no, hundreds of Christmas LPs put out by religious groups, from church choirs to monks and nuns to high schools, you name it.  So why this one?  I think it's because I saw a track by The Lundstroms on an Andy Cirzan mix once, and that immediately makes it something I need.  Problem is, I don't remember which track it was, and this is not the Lundstroms only Christmas record.  But give this one a listen, maybe you'll find something on here that you like.  I'll keep looking to see which track was used by Mr. Cirzan and on which comp.  This is The Lundstroms-Christmas With The Lundstroms (Tempo R-7198, Stereo)

1. The Messiah Has Come
2. I Know How
3. Didn't He Shine
4. Christmas Medley
5. O Holy Night
6. Country Christmas
7. Daddy Will Be Home For Christmas
8. Mr. Snowman  (This is the one that sounds the most like something Andy would use, so maybe this is the track...)
9. Little Stranger In A Manger
10. It's Christmas



Since it's below freezing outside, does this mean I get to go ice skating after work? That's plenty of time for the ponds to freeze over. Now if I only had some ice skates. And if I could skate.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just This Side Of Crazy

OK, here's one I really should have gotten out at the beginning of the sharity season, but I didn't have both records or the picture sleeve.  I'm not even sure where to begin.  Dora Hall was married to the owner of Solo Cups.  She wanted to be a famous singer, so her husband decided to facilitate that.  He gave away her records with the cups and put her on TV in her own specials surrounded by the best stars his money could buy, but all in vain.  As far as anyone knows, no one ever bought a single one of her records, but they're thrift store staples to this day because they were free.  But the ones I have weren't free, I had to buy them, and the owner of the record store looked at me funny when I did.  Actually, before the sharity season began, I had the record and sleeve you see above, and I was pretty excited about finally having a sleeve.  The ones down below all showed up later, including both a new single I didn't have, and another issue of the same single with a new picture sleeve and label.  Some years ago, I shared out the flip side of the one above, Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree.  I shared the Blue Christmas side over at FaLaLaLaLa a few years back, but never here.  The single below was completely new to me a couple of weeks ago, and boy was I excited.  I'd always wondered where all the covers of the great Aretha Franklin song Kissin' By The Mistletoe were, and here I stumbled onto one.  Unfortunately, like all of her releases that I've heard, it's not very good.  Dora Hall was probably in her sixties when she embarked on her singing career, and while the instrumental accompaniment is the best that money could buy, her vocals leave a lot to be desired.  You'll see.  Please download a couple of singles from Dora Hall (Premore PR 10028 & Calamo PR 1024/1025 aka Premore PR 1025).  Is there any more Christmas music out there by Mrs. Hall?  If so, please let me know!

Blue Christmas
Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Give Me Your Heart For Xmas
Kissin' By The Mistletoe


Better Than Most

This little album should scare off those folks who think I'm just sharing the bottom of the barrel stuff here after Christmas.  Truth is, I always share bottom of the barrel stuff, it's just disguised by the occasional halfway decent posting, and this is one of those.  I don't know a whole lot about Muriel Smith, and I don't even remember buying this record, but I found it in my collection one day right next to Mireille Mathieu, so I grabbed and recorded them both. I knew what I was going to get with that other one, but this one, not so much.  Muriel sings with an operatic voice, but it's always nice to listen to.  Sorta reminds me of Marion Anderson.  I don't think you'll be disappointed if female vocals are your thing.  This is Muriel Smith With The Peter Knight Orchestra And Chorus-The Glory Of Christmas (Philips BL7586, Mono, 1963).

1. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
2. This Is The Truth Sent From Above
3. Old French Carol (Quelle Est Cette Odeur Agréable?)
4. The Three Kings From Persian Lands
5. Lullaby (Wiegenlied)
6. Sister Mary Had'a But One Child
7. L'il Boy How Ol' Are You?
8. Ring Out, Wild Bells
9. O Little Town Of Bethlehem (Reprise)
10. Silent Night, Holy Night
11. Christmas Begins With Christ
12. Glory, Glory
13. Sweet Little Jesus Boy
14. I Wonder As I Wander
15. The Holly And The Ivy
16. Christmas Cradle Song
17. Worship The King
18. Silent Night, Holy Night (Reprise)


Holiday Favorites After The Holiday

Time for another record in my desperate attempt to hold on to the holiday for a few more days.  This is one of those records I grabbed strictly for the cover.  I knew Sutton was a budget label, and the back cover of this one being nothing but ads didn't help.  But I liked the cover, and it turns out the singing is quite nice.  There's even a marathon five and a half minute long version of We Three Kings on here that's kinda interesting.  I can almost hear the choral director telling them to do it again, only slower.  So if you're still looking for Christmas music to download, here is The Peter Christianson Choraleers Sing Holiday Favorites (Sutton SU 97X, Mono).  I'm sure that somewhere out there in the world, these same versions have been released as being by The Caroleers.  Who knows what the original artist was named...

1. We Three Kings
2. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
3. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
4. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
5. Away In A Manger
6. Joy To The World
7. Silent Night
8. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
9. The First Noel
10. O Come All Ye Faithful
11. Angels We Have Heard On High
12. O Holy Night


Sunday, December 26, 2010

From Cuba To Puerto Rico

From Cuba we move a couple islands over to Puerto Rico, and more Christmas music that I'm afraid I don't recognize.  Nice album cover though.  Perhaps you'll enjoy Cantares De Navidad (Gay Songs For Christmas) (Marvela-Puerto Rico Record Mfg. Co.  MVLP-48, Mono).  I think this one is much newer than those two Cuban records.  I think the liner notes mentioned stereo releases, so that alone makes it more recent in origin, at least by a few years.

1. Cantares De Navidad-Trio Vegabajeño
2. Vispera De Reyes-Duo Irizarry De Córdeva
3. Cada Navidad-Felipe Rodriguez
4. Los Tres Reyes Magos-Trio Vegabajeño
5. En Esta Navidad-Gloria Y Domy
6. Nuestra Navidad-Johnny Rodriguez
7. Los Reyes No Llegaron-Felipe Rodriguez
8. Noche De Paz-Trio Vegabajeño
9. Lamento De Navidad-Felipe Rodriguez
10. De Tierras Lejanas-Toñin Romero
11. Las Campanas De Navidad-Johnny Rodriguez Y Su Trio
12. A La Zarandela-Conjunto Cibaeño


More Cuban Christmas

To tell you the truth, I think I'd forgotten about all these Cuban Christmas records I'd recorded this year.  They were some of the first records I sat down and recorded for Christmas back in September.  I was excited that I had found so many of them, but after recording the first few, I grew tired of not being able to sing along, or hum along, or even recognize most of the tunes.  So I moved on to more familiar stuff, not even recording the majority of the stack I'd pulled out, and forgot all about them.  But as I shared out more and more stuff, the remaining stuff got less and less and their visibility increased.  So I'm just getting to them now, the day after Christmas.  If this sort of thing excites you, I hope you enjoy them, but they don't do a lot for me.  This next one is a various artists affair straight down the line, and I don't think I recognized a single song on this one.  Please download Noche Buena Bailable Cubana (Christmas Dance Date In Cuba) (Panart LP 3001 (Titles Noche Buena Bailable Criolla on record label), Mono).

1. Noche Buena Criolla-Virgen De Regla, A Toda Cuba Le Gusta El Son-Senen Suarez And His Orchestra
2. En La Noche Buena-Trio La Rosa
3. Recuerdos De Ayer-A La Loma De Belen, La Mora, Si Muero En La Carretero, Si Me Piden El Pescado-Senen Suarez And His Orchestra
4. La Mora-Orquesta De Antonia Maria Romen
5. Mosaico De Congas-Chenchere Guma, Traigo Un Tumbao, Mirala Que Linda Viene-Senen Suarez And His Orchestra
6. Parranda De Navidades-Unknown Artist (This song was listed on the label (see below), but without an artist...)
7. Cha Cha Cha De Navidad-Julio Guiterrez And His Orchestra
8. El Guanajo Relleno-Orquesta De Neno Gonzalez
9. Sueno De Navidad-Orquesta De Julio Gutierrez
10. Alegre Navidad-Orquesta America
11. Noche Buena Guajira-Nico Saquite Y Sus Guaracheros De Orienta
12. Te Deseo Felicidades-Rene Marquez And His Orchestra


The Day After

I've been giving this a lot of thought.  Since our family Christmas celebrations have been moved to at least next Friday, there's no real reason to quit the Christmas sharity here at Ernie (Not Bert).  Well, no reason other than sheer exhaustion, but that's never stopped me before.  I've still got a lot of vinyl in the pile that I've already recorded, scanned and need to get out there.  And I missed a few days of sharing when I was sick, so you really deserve at least a few more items.  Who cares if only a handful of people will see it now that the majority of the season is over?  I can always reshare it next year.  But the lucky few of you who are still around, well, you'll already have it!  So let's spend a little time in Cuba here with one of the entries from Capitol's second go-round of Christmas LPs from around the world from 1958.  Lot's of stuff on here that I didn't recognize, but a few American songs are thrown in for those of us who can't appreciate the Cuban songs.  There are two different artists here, one who does the American stuff (in Spanish though) and a group who handle the local Christmas ditties.  I'm thinking I really should have shared this out with my other Caribbean and South American records, but I must have forgotten.  And maybe I should have shared it for the day when I get my hands on all the Capitol Of The World Christmas records, but that may be a while.  (Some of them are easy to find, some of them seem to be rare as hen's teeth...).  But I'm gonna go ahead and share it tonight, and if I'm not too lazy, I've got some more Cuban Christmas I can share with it.  All pre-revolution stuff, though.  I think Castro outlawed Christmas afterwards, or at least put a serious kibosh on it.  This is Christmas In Cuba (Capitol T10165, Mono, 1958).

1. Pampanitos Verdes-Coro De Madrigalistas
2. San Jose Al Niño Jesus-Coro De Madrigalistas
3. Blancas Navidades (White Christmas)-Fernando Albuerne
4. Canto De Navidad Guajiro-Coro De Madrigalistas
5. Al Niño Le Gusta El Son-Coro De Madrigalistas
6. Noche De Paz (Silent Night, Holy Night)-Fernando Albuerne
7. Flores De Pascua Benditas-Coro De Madrigalistas
8. Pastores A Belen-Coro De Madrigalistas
9. Amor En Navidad-Fernando Albuerne
10. Venid Pastorcillos-Coro De Madrigalistas
11. Cancion Alegre De Navidad-Coro De Madrigalistas
12. Amor Y Paz-Fernando Albuerne