Saturday, July 09, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 8

Sorry I missed yesterday, I was at the shuttle launch and didn't get back until much later than expected.  By the time I got home, I was in no shape to share any Christmas music.  I'll catch up either later tonight or tomorrow, and then we'll be back on track.  For tonight, I've got a stack of stuff, much of it from artists we've already visited once or more already this month.  Let's dive in.

Track one is Carol Of The Shepherds, a very seldom, if ever, heard Christmas tune performed by Drexel Park Presbyterian Church Senior Choir-T.C. Barg, Choir Director-Mary A. Prischman, Organist, from their album Sacred Reflections (Drexel Park Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois, No Label, No Number, Mono, 1962).

Track two is The Christmas Song (yes, the Nat King Cole song) as played by Brookside Jr. High School Music Department-Symphonic Band-Bernard Rightmyer, Conductor, a local middle school right here in Sarasota, FL.  The album is Winter Concert-Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 1971 (Brookside Jr. High School, Sarasota, Florida, United Sound USR 4026, Stereo, 1971).  Very, umm, unpolished.

Track three is Fantasy On Westminster Quarters, which confused me until I actually listened to it and realized it's based on the sound of Westminster chimes.  You'll recognize it.  This is by The Wesleyan Ringers, Lloyd R. Pilkington-Director, from their LP The Glory Of Bells (Silver Crest Custom STJ-111882, St. John's United Methodist Church, Hazlet, NJ, Stereo).

Track four is Hot Toddy, certainly not a Christmas song, but you could make the argument that it's a drink fitting for the winter season.  It's by Ira Ironstrings (later purported to be Alvino Rey) and it's from what I think is his first Warner LP Ira Ironstrings Plays: "Music For People With $3.98" (Plus Tax, If Any) (Warner Bros W1204, Mono, 1958).  If you haven't heard the Ira Ironstrings Christmas album, do yourself a favor and go buy it now!

Track five is Les Brown and His Band Of Renown performing a song that they had an earlier hit with, I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm.  This is a later, hi-fi rerecording from The Les Brown Story (Capitol T1174, Mono, 1959).

Track six (how many tracks I'm I sharing tonight?  I forget...) is Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring (Jesus, Lover Of My Soul) by Paul Mickelson And Tedd Smith from their LP Open The Gates Of The Temple (RCA Victor LPM-1098, Mono, 1955).  Not sure who Tedd Smith is, but Paul Mickelson has been seen around here already this month accompanying a vocalist.

Track seven is March Of The Toys by Johnny Kemm from yet another organ demo LP, The Invisible Brass Band-Johnny Kemm Brings It To Life With The Revolutionary Lowrey Brass Symphonizer (Concert Recording CR-E112, Stereo).  I don't hear much brass here, invisible or not.  Is it just me, or does the last little bit of this song remind you of that Air Force song?  You know, "Nothing can stop the US Air Force!"

Track eight, and I think the last, is Skating In Central Park by The Modern Jazz Quartet, another selection from heir album Patterns (United Artists UAL 4072, Mono, 1960).

And that does it for the evening.  Not too much snarky to say tonight, I'm watching Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade in the other room, so I want to get back to it.  Here's the download link, have a blast.

Launch Crowd

How many people were at the final space shuttle launch yesterday?  I don't know, upwards of a million I hear.  I got there almost five hours before the launch took place, so I had to find a way to occupy my time.  Rather than counting all the people, I started counting cars.  Well, sorta.  I decided to put my camera to good use and started collecting license plates.  I thought I might be able to get all fifty states, but I didn't quite make it.  Alaska and Hawaii were two of the expected no-shows, but I also failed to find a few others that were a whole lot closer.  No DC or Puerto Rico, either, but I did get two Canadian provinces.  Let's take a look...

1. Alabama-Some states were easy pickin's, like Alabama.  It borders on Florida, and it has a huge space industry, so they were everywhere.  I tried to find the most interesting one I could, and this firefighter plate was it.
2. Arizona-This was one of the last ones I found late in the day.  Arizona was a long drive, but probably not the longest.
3. Arkansas-That's not too far away. There's a diamond on there for the only diamond mine in the US, and it's a national park You can go there and try to mine your own diamonds.
4. California-Now that's a long drive, but still not the longest.
5. Colorado-The heat at the launch must have been murder on these poor folks.  They even have snow-capped peaks on their plates.
6. Connecticut-Wherever possible, I tried to get vanity plates, or at least something out of the ordinary.  I'm not sure if this was a human driven car or not.  I, for one, welcome out new robot overlords.
7. Delaware-Does Delaware have anything other than plain plates?  I don't think I've ever seen anything other than this color scheme.
8. Florida-I had my pick of Florida plates, so I went with a Gator plate.  Go Gators!
9. Georgia-No idea what he meant by Faction.  I tried to find a Gator plate from Georgia (they do make them), but I couldn't.
10. Idaho-All they have to push with their plates is potatoes?  Come on...
11. Illinois-Boring...
12. Indiana-Still pretty boring.  These 'In God We Trust' plates really proliferated after 9/11.  I guess people didn't trust in God much before that...
13. Kansas-This appears to be the only plate I shot twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  I thought there's be more duplicates, but I seem to have done a pretty good job of remembering what I had shot and what I hadn't.
14. Kentucky-Another good vanity plate.  If memory serves, this was on a Honda Insight.
15. Louisiana-Is it just me, or do Louisiana plates look an awful lot like California plates?
16.  Maine-Lobster.  Figures.  We have lobsters here in Florida, too, but they don't have the big claws like that.  I guess they fight less down here.
17. Maryland-Entropy, eh?  Chaos.
18. Massachusetts-Another state with boring plates.
19. Michigan-When I was little, the only colored plates you saw were Michigan, and they were blue.  Nowadays, every state seems to have every color.  Hard to tell at a glance what you're looking at.
20. Minnesota-Maybe if we use out imagination, this could be a vanity plate.  Perhaps there were 176 girls in this car.  Maybe.
21. Mississippi-Is DN an RN, or is DN married to RN?  I guess we'll never know...
22. Missouri-Show me something more exciting that this one.  At least there's a little bird on there, but why is it hidden and small?
23. Nevada-The west coast turned out to be well represented.  I thought those would be hard to find, but I think I got all but the northern plains and rockies.
24. New Jersey-Ha!  Jersey represents with a nice vanity plate.
25. New Mexico-As far as I remember, this was the only plate from New Mexico I saw, and I was pretty excited when I found it.  I guess I'm pretty easily excited.
26. New York-Another good vanity plate from New Jersey's neighbor.
27. North Carolina-A surfing plate from the East Coast?  That's just wrong.  You may as well have a NASCAR plate from Pennsylvania.
28. Ohio-Ohio is a pretty common plate in Florida.  During the winter at certain spots, I think they outnumber Florida plates.  I'm serious...
29. Oklahoma-This is a big improvement over the old 'Oklahoma is OK' plates.
30. Oregon-This makes two of the three west coast states.  Did I find a Washington?  You'll just have to wait and see...
31. Pennsylvania-Yes, folks, it's a NASCAR plate from Pennsylvania.  Sigh...
32. Rhode Island-I cheated just a little on this one.  All the other plates were on parked cars, but I saw this one while driving out of town afterwards.  I knew I needed it, so I shot it as he drove by.  Then I drove by him, then he drove by me, etc, etc, as I sat in traffic for two and a half hours.
33. South Carolina-Yes, I know you can't read it, but it says South Carolina on the bottom of the plate.  Trust me.
34. Tennessee-Probably my favorite of the fancy plates, but likely not a favorite of police officers who are trying to read it.
35. Utah-This plate has been on this car for a while if it really came out in 96.  Here in Florida, they send you a new plate every few years whether you need it or not.  I guess the license plate people need something to do.  Do convicts still make plates?  I doubt it.
36. Virginia-This was the only plate whose owner I spoke to.  He was sitting there outside the car, so I asked for permission before I shot it.  He told me it was his wife's plate.  It was a bright yellow New Beetle, in case you're curious.
37. Washington-And here's the last of the west coast states.  Didn't think I was going to get them all, did you?
38. West Virgina-I put this in the same category as the 'In God We Trust' plates, very popular after 9/11, but not so much before.
39. Wisconsin-Last but not least, this is Wisconsin.  I thought I was going to get to 40, but I guess not.  Now, what states am I missing?  Alaska and Hawaii, obviously, North & South Dakota, Vermont, Montana, New Hampshire, I'm drawing a blank here on the last four...  While I'm thinking about that, how about those two Canadian provinces I mentioned.
Not just plain old Manitoba, but Friendly Manitoba.
And Ontario, another common sight here in Florida.  Now what other states am I forgetting about?  Wyoming?  Iowa (I'm cheating now and looking at a list...), Texas.  Wait a minute?  How did I not shoot a Texas plate?  They were everywhere!  Texas has a huge space industry, so they came out in droves.  Surely I shot one of those...  Nope, I guess not...  Somehow I suspected while I was shooting that I would overlook something simple, and there you have it.  Does this count as messing with Texas?  I hope not.  That leaves one more state...  Nebraska.  There, that's all fifty, of which I shot 39 and saw one more but didn't shoot it.  Not a bad haul, and a good indicator of just how many people came out for the big show.

Friday, July 08, 2011

The Last Shuttle

OK, here they are, my pictures from the last shuttle launch earlier today. I can't believe they got it off the ground. The weather looked horrible, the sky was full of thick grey clouds, the wind was whipping along at a good clip and the air was hazy and damp. But I guess the folks at NASA didn't want to let down the million or so people who gathered to see the final launch.

That's Atlantis from I think 12 miles away shot with a 400mm lens and a 2x teleconvertor on a crop-sensor 7D Canon digital camera. It'd be a great shot if not for the haze in the air.

Note how the orbiter is rotating around as these shots progress. It spun around fairly quickly this time, much faster than I remember it doing during other launches.

I was on a pier behind a new bridge when I was shooting. I caught this when it came out over the top of the bridge. Not long after, she entered the thick clouds and we didn't see the orbiter again.  (If you want to see what the shuttle would have looked like on a much nicer day, check out my shots from 2008.)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 7

Day 7 and I'm cheating just a bit.  I'm writing this on day 6 and setting it to pop up tomorrow sometime.  I hope to be getting ready for a trip to the final shuttle launch on Friday, and I won't have time to do anything tomorrow with the blog.  So instead of being a day behind, I'm going to try to get a day ahead.  Hope you guys don't mind the canned post, but if I didn't tell you, how would you know???  On with the show.

We begin with another track from The Wesleyan Ringers, Lloyd R. Pilkington-Director, and their album The Glory Of Bells (Silver Crest Custom STJ-111882, St. John's United Methodist Church, Hazlet, NJ, Stereo).  This time it's, appropriately enough, Carol Of The Bells.

Next up is another version of Greensleeves, this time from When Love Is Young (Dot DLP 3806, Mono, 1967), performed by Jimmie Haskell's French Horns.  When I first picked this record up, I thought it was by The Beaver's neighbor, but I guess that was Eddie Haskell.  Too bad, that would have been a more interesting record, I bet.

Third is a non-Christmas song that I found on a Christmas record once, so I associate it with Christmas now, for better or for worse.  It's called In A Clock Store, and it's by Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra-James Walker, Conductor.  I pulled it from the big Reader's Digest set, Wonderful World Of Music For Children (Reader's Digest 6xLP RDS38-M, Stereo).  No, I'm still not done with the tracks from that set.  Oh, the place I first heard this song is here.

My rerun of the evening is Ethel Smith performing Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring.  This comes from her LP Seated One Day At The Organ (Decca DL 78902, Stereo, 1959).  Her Christmas music from non-Christmas albums is much better than the Christmas music on her Christmas album.  Sorry, someone had to say it.  (And in answer to my own question from 2006, yes, this does exist in stereo.  Here I am, sharing it in stereo.)

Fifth is the ubiquitous My Favorite Things, this time as performed in a somewhat jazzy style by The Norman Paris Quartet from the LP The Sound Of Music (Harmony HL 7235, Mono, 1959).  Not a bad little version, but if you want to hear a jazzier version, keep checking back...  (Hmmm, looks like this is a rerun, too...  I've shared out so many things over the years that I have a real hard time remembering it all.)

Even more ubiquitous when it comes to Christmas music is Waltz Of The Flowers, and this version comes to you courtesy of Leopold Stokowski And His Symphony Orchestra-Lucile Lawrence, Harp Solo from the LP The Heart Of The Ballet (RCA Victor Red Seal LM-1083, Mono, 1950).  Not bad, but nothing special.

Is that it?  No, one more track, The Skaters' Waltz performed on The Belgian Band Organ, the second and final Christmassy track from The Wonderful Belgian Band Organ At Paul Eakins Gay Nineties Village, Vol. 2 (Audio Fidelity AFSD 6118, Stereo, 1963).

No time for chit-chat, gotta run.  Here's the download link.  Wish me luck!

Blasting Off

I'm leaving soon to head over to the Space Coast and hopefully shoot the last shuttle launch. Last time I saw Atlantis take off, in November of 2009, I had passes to get on Cape Kennedy, so I was only about 7 miles away at lift-off. I won't be that close tomorrow, but I still hope to get some good shots. Now if they can just get it off the ground... Weather is only showing about a 30% chance of favorable launch conditions, but I have to try.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 6

Greetings!  Big thanks to all of you out there who have been downloading the first few days of my Christmas In July celebration.  I don't keep track of the numbers year to year, and the previous year is usually gone by the time I start the next one, but this year feels like it's going better than previous years.  For some reason, I do know that day one always gets more downloads than any other day.  Not sure why that is.  People seem to pick that day to check out the series and see if they're interested or not.  And then, unfortunately, I guess a lot of them don't come back.  Shame, that.  And double big thanks to those of you who've left a nice comment.  You know who you are.  Thanks!  Enough blather, on to the music.

Track 1:  We start with Greensleeves on the pipe organ performed by Eric Rogers from his LP King Of Sound (London Phase 4 SP 44068, Stereo, 1965).  Something about organs and Christmas...

Track 2: The Hallelujah Chorus by The Billy Graham Los Angeles Crusade Choir, Directed By Cliff Barrows from their self-titled LP (RCA Victor LSP-2788, Stereo, 1963).  RCA sure did release a lot of albums from Billy Graham, I wonder if they were huge sellers or if they just thought it was something they should do?

Track 3: I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Al Goodman And His Orchestra from the budget label LP Cheek To Cheek (Pirouette FM10, Stereo).  I think this is tonight's rerun/remaster, albeit from a different LP.

Track 4: The Little Drummer Boy by Brookside Jr. High School Music Department-Concert Chorus-William Bent, Conductor, and their album Winter Concert-Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 1971 (Brookside Jr. High School, Sarasota, Florida, United Sound USR 4026, Stereo, 1971).  You've already heard at least one track from this one, and I think there are still some more in the can.

Track 5: March Of The Toys by Lew White At The Organ With His Orchestra.  Yes, it's more organ.  The LP is Famous Melodies (RCA Camden CAL-132, Mono).  More to come from this one, too.

Track 6: Can you tell I'm just throwing things up completely at random this year?  Some years I bunch things together by title or theme or even sharing all the songs I've got by an artist at the same time, but not this time around.  I've thrown it all into a little felt-lined Yatzee cup and given it a good shaking, then whatever comes out first gets shared.  Track six is Perry Como With Mitchell Ayres And His Orchestra With The Ray Charles Singers performing that old semi-Christmas chestnut, My Favorite Things.  This comes from his album By Request (RCA Victor LPM-2567, Mono, 1962), my copy of which came all packaged up like a Stereo Action LP, even though it's mono.  Am I the only one who gets Perry Como and Andy Williams confused?  I must be, because they don't really sound much alike...  Anyhow, moving on...

Track 7: Reindeer-A Ragtime Two-Step by Ian Whitcomb from what seems to have been some sort of mini-revival of old music hall tunes.  This LP, Ian Whitcomb's Mod, Mod Music Hall! (Tower ST 5042, Stereo, 1966), his second, seemed to be the end of the very short-lived trend.  Do two records define a trend?  OK, maybe not.

Track 8: Snowfall by Earl Grant, another great rerun, from the LP Fly Me To The Moon (Decca DL 74454, Stereo, 1963).  Great version, well worth this revisit.

And that's it.  Eight more tracks, but two reruns, so it's really only six new things.  We're making good progress this year, both in the sharing department and the recording division.  Still plenty of items in the pipeline to bring you a whole month's worth of goodies.  So keep coming back for more.  Oh, here's the download link, I bet you were wondering where that was...

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 5

Whew, I did not want to go back to work this morning.  Three days off can really put the lazy in you.  But somehow I drug myself out of bed, went in, got my work done and came home, only to do more work for you guys.  Which means I've got more Christmas music to share with you here in the month of July.  This make 5 for 5, so I think I'm doing pretty good.  Let me check, did I get the first five days up last year without missing any?  Yes, I guess I did.  I'd better quit patting myself on the back and get with the show...

Track one is Away In A Manger by The Wesleyan Ringers, Lloyd R. Pilkington-Director.  I've got a whole LP side from these guys to share with you throughout the month.  Hope you like handbells.  This is from the album The Glory Of Bells (Silver Crest Custom STJ-111882, St. John's United Methodist Church, Hazlet, NJ, Stereo).

Track the second is Coventry Carol by some nameless orchestra and chorus directed by James Walker, Solo bass vocals by Owen Brannigan.  This is from that 6-LP set I've been doling out to you since day one, Wonderful World Of Music For Children (Reader's Digest 6xLP RDS38-M, Stereo).

Number three is Doll Dance by Vincent Lopez, His Piano And Orchestra.  Have I shared this before, the cover looks familiar.  Nope, doesn't look like it.  I grabbed this from the LP Lopez Playing (Columbia CL 1433, Mono, 1960).

Numero fouro I know for sure is a rerun from many years ago, Greensleeves by Los Admiradores as played on the bongos.  I recorded this from a compilation Lp on Command, A Stereo Sound Spectacular (Command 16101 SD, Expressly Produced For E.J. Korvette, Stereo), originally it is from Bongos, RS 809 SD.  Well, I thought I'd shared it before, but searching is failing to turn anything up.  Odd...

Five was something I thought was pretty good, it's I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Paul Anka, Orchestra By Sid Feller from the LP Swings For Young Lovers (ABC-Paramount ABC-347, Mono, 1960).  Have you ever given a listen to Paul Anka's Christmas record?  It's really pretty good.  Sometimes his nasally voice just grates on me, but not in this case, especially side one.

Track six (sure are a lot of tracks tonight, hope I can keep this up) is Jingle Bells as played on The Belgian Band Organ.  Yes, it's another one of those Audio Fidelity records, this time called The Wonderful Belgian Band Organ At Paul Eakins Gay Nineties Village, Vol. 2 (Audio Fidelity AFSD 6118, Stereo, 1963).  Paul Eakins must have known someone at Audio Fidelity...

Lastly, track seven is another polka from Jimmy Sturr.  It's a little ditty called Polka Holiday, again from his 4xLP, The Best Of Jimmy Sturr (Bruno-Dean Enterprises R-BS-117 (4 Records), Stereo, 1979).

I think that's it for tonight.  Here's the download link, have at it.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Christmas In July 2011-Day 4

Hello!  And welcome to the Fourth of July!  Not just any fourth of July, mind you, but the fourth Christmas In July of 2011!  Let's jump right to it.

Track one is old favorite Fum, Fum, Fum by St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir-Melville Tully, Director-Dorothy Tully, Organist, from the LP St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir 1962 (Locations Recording Service LRS-1262-765, Mono, 1962).  I think this is the second track I've shared from this LP, and it's not the last.

Track two is a story called Little Grey Rabbit's Christmas by Alison Uttley, narrated by Tammy Grimes and orchestrated by Don Heckman. The album is titled Little Grey Rabbit's Christmas And Little Grey Rabbit Goes To Sea (Caedmon TC 1510, Stereo, 1976).  It's a long, long story, so make a little time when you go to listen to it.

Track three is Mid-Winter by Claude Rhea With The Concert Orchestra Of London, Conducted by Paul Mickelson, the second track I've shared from the LP Majestic Themes (Word WST-8029-LP, Stereo, 1960).

Track four takes us into polka territory with Snowflake Polka from the accordion of Johnny Pecon And His Orchestra and the album Johnny Pecon's Juke Box Favorites (Dana DL 1282, Mono).

Track five is Variations On A Theme By Prokofieff, which I'm sure you'll recognize as the same music used elsewhere as Midnight Sleighride.  This is brought to us by Brookside Jr. High School Music Department-Concert Band-Bernard Rightmyer, Conductor, now a middle school, located down in Sarasota.  The album is Winter Concert-Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 1971 (Brookside Jr. High School, Sarasota, Florida, United Sound USR 4026, Stereo, 1971).

Track six is a remastered rerun, The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy by The Robert De Cormier Folk Singers from the album of the same name (Command RS 853 SD, Stereo, 1963).

The seventh and final track tonight is Helen Morgan with Winter Overnight, recorded in 1935 and for my purposes ripped from Encores From The 30's, Volume 1 1930-1935 (Columbia Special Products 2xLP P2 12854, Originally Recorded 1/9/35, Mono, 1975).

And that does it for tonight.  No goofy bonus tracks, sorry, couldn't come up with anything I liked.  Maybe tomorrow.  Anyhow, here's the link, now go have a safe Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Third

Happy Third of July from Bradenton Beach! We got chased off the beach for half an hour by some dark clouds and lightning, but in the end, they shot off the fireworks and I shot them from underneath somebody's condo.  Not sure if I'll go out tomorrow for the big show, but at least I got some shots tonight.