Saturday, July 02, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 2

Day two, and we're off to a good start.  Not only have I now posted shares two days in a row, I've also successfully recorded days and days worth of shares, so I'm a little more comfortable about having enough material to see me through the month.  I've got a huge stack of records here that I can pull from, but finding the time to do so is often difficult.  I spend far more time recording stuff than I do posting it, so getting big chunks of the work out of the way like that makes me feel better about the rest of the month.  (And here comes the rain outside.  Glad I didn't drive out to the beach tonight for the first of three nights of fireworks spectaculars.)  OK, let's begin tonight with The Modern Jazz Quartet and A Cold Wind Is Blowing.  This is from their LP Patterns (United Artists UAL 4072, Mono, 1960).  The liner notes tell me this is a soundtrack to some movie I haven't seen, but I didn't find the music to be all that exciting.  This is not the the first appearance of MJQ around here, and it won't be the last.  Next up is Ronnie Aldrich And His Two Pianos With The London Festival Orchestra with the Coca-Cola Christmas song, I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing.  Weird how a single commercial from years and years ago can trick me into believing some hippie folk song is about Christmas.  But I guess it worked because here I am sharing it with you.  This is from the album Invitation To Love (London Phase 4 SP 44176, Stereo, 1972).  What else?  How about I Wonder As I Wander, always referred to as an Appalachian Carol, performed by Claude Rhea With The Concert Orchestra Of London, Conducted By Paul Mickelson.  The record is Majestic Themes (Word WST-8029-LP, Stereo, 1960), and I just found this today at the Goodwill store.  I found a little something special in the sleeve when I opened this one up, and I'll try to share that with you later on once I get a working scanner.  I just got a new computer earlier in the week, and I'm having all osrt of issues with moving from a 6 year old Windows XP machine to this newfangled Windows 7.  Did I really need all 64 of these bits?  Fourth up is a polka called Twinkle Toes by Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra, and is oddly not the same song of the same name found on his Christmas LP.  This song is from the 4 LP box set The Best Of Jimmy Sturr (Bruno-Dean Enterprises R-BS-117, Stereo, 1979).  Fifthly, we have a nice rendition of Carol Of The Bells from the album Sacred Reflections (Drexel Park Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL, Mono, 1962), performed by the Drexel Park Presbyterian Church Senior Choir.  One of the things I wanted to do this year was revisit some of the shares from previous years, re-record them with some of my better equipment and better software (ClickRepair is awesome!), then re-share them with you.  I've got a lot of those items in the can, almost always from newer, cleaner copies of the vinyl, so I hope to give you one or two of them a day.  The first one here is a great version of White Christmas by Bing Crosby cohort Connee Boswell With Warren Vincent's Orchestra.  I first shared this back in 2007, though for some strange reason the original post is gone.  I pulled this from the LP Connee Boswell Sings The Irving Berlin Song Folio (Design (Pickwick) DCF-1023, Stereo, 1958).  And yes, it does appear to be in true stereo.  I don't think I knew who Connee Boswell was when I originally posted this many years ago, but I've since learned to use Google a little bit more.  I hope you enjoy these little blasts from the past.  Oh, and like yesterday, I've got a little non-Christmas bonus for you.  It's another track from that Jimmy Sturr set, a track called Ernie's Polka.  What can I say?  Here's the download link, I'll see you tomorrow with more tunes.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 1

OK, here we go.  I know many of you have been waiting for Christmas in July to start since we celebrated Christmas last December.  Well, here it is.  For those of you who might be new, the premise is simple.  I collect up Christmas, holiday, winter, seasonal or whatever type of music that may or may not have something to do with Christmas.  Sometimes it's just a title that sounds a bit wintery, sometimes it's an established and familiar Christmas song, but it's always something from an otherwise non-seasonal album.  Imagine if George Martin had plunked a version of Rudolph right into the middle of The White Album sung by Ringo.  That's just the sort of track I'm looking for.  Every day, I hope to bring you a few of them, all from vinyl and all sourced from my own record collection.  So, let's jump right in.  For the first day, I wanted to give you a sample of some of the different types of songs you'll hear through the month.  Track one is pretty typical, a performance of a sacred track by a church choir that is associated with the Christmas season, but also performed throughout the year.  It's the Hallelujah Chorus as performed by St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir-Melville Tully, Director-Dorothy Tully, Organist, from their album St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir (Location Recording Service LRS-1262-765, 1962, Mono).  As often happens, there are a few tracks on this album that might count as Christmas music, so you'll have to stay tuned through the month to hear more of them.  The next track is something with a seasonal title, in this case Winter In May, by Carmen McRae from her LP I Want You (Mainstream MRL 387, 1964, Mono).  Track three is the sort of thing that stretches the holiday connection, but it's still connected.  The melody from Greensleeves often features the words to What Child Is This, so I figure an instrumental version could sorta count.  Right?  Well, anyway, this version is by Peter Nero from his live album Peter Nero On Tour (RCA Victor LSP-3610, 1966, Stereo).  You'll find that I really love those RCA Victor albums, so tracks from them pop up a lot around here.  A fourth type of track I look for is pretty much anything with the word Christmas in the title.  This time around it's Blest Christmas Morning, a Christian Science Hymn that shows up fairly often if you know where to look.  This version is by Larry Groce from the vinyl Peace And Joy And Power (No Label 408, Stereo, 1970).  A fifth source of random Christmas songs is kiddie records.  For whatever reason, when a producer is looking to fill up an album of random songs for kids to listen to, they seem to always throw in a Christmas song.  Perhaps that's what happened to me, I heard Christmas music all year 'round on one of these albums and now it's stuck permanently in my psyche.  It could happen.  Tonight's selection is a medley of Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and Jingle Bells, Orchestra Conducted By James Walker, from a 4 record set called The Wonderful World Of Music For Children (Reader's Digest, Mono).  This one also features more music for Christmas that you'll hear later in the month.  Furthermore, as a special beginning of the month bonus, I ripped and included a version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice from the set, narrated by none other than Mr. Magoo himself, Jim Backus.  I thought this pretty interesting, even more-so when I couldn't find it shared out anywhere else on the internets. I know it's not Christmas but I think you guys will really enjoy it.  And there you have it, a not-so-brief introduction to what goes on around here in the month of July.  It took me two and a half months to get through this last year, but I'm hoping to do better this year.  As of right now, I've got over 100 tracks already recorded and ready to share, so I'm a little ahead of the game.  There's a good chance I'll miss a day or two here and there, but not weeks at a time.  And I'm limiting my file hosting to MediaFire this time around.  RapidShare is a pain, MegaUpload has already deleted everything I shared in December, and seems a little flaky for my tastes.  Here's the download link, enjoy yourselves.  See you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


This guy was hanging out on the fence outside my office this morning when I came in this morning. It was still dark, so I grabbed him and brought him inside for a quick photoshoot. Of course, it wasn't much lighter in my office, so that explains the really narrow depth of field you see here (and the reflection of the fluorescent lights overhead). But for the most part, that big gold eye is in focus. Gotta love that macro lens!  For a sense of scale, here, I doubt if that eyeball is more than an eighth of an inch in diameter.