Vintage Christmas : A Nostalgic
CD:PPCD 78200 / CASSETTE: / RUNNING TIME: 70:08
Featuring 'White Christmas'
(a cool alternative to the Bing Crosby version), 'Santa
Claus Is Comin' To Town' and Gracie Fields 'The Fairy
On The Christmas Tree'. This magical collection, with
lush orchestral backing makes a perfect stocking filler.
Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters: Santa Claus
To Town <<
Frank Sinatra: White Christmas
Connie Boswell: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let
Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song <<
Doris Day: Here Comes Santa Claus <<
Perry Como: Winter Wonderland
Judy Garland: Merry Christmas
Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride
Harry Babbitt: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Spike Jones & His City Slickers: All I Want For
Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)
Margaret Whiting: The Mistletoe Kiss Polka <<
Perry Como: There Is No Christmas Like A Home
Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra: Christmas Night
Gracie Fields: The Fairy On The Christmas Tree
Dick Robertson & His Orchestra: Don't Wait Till
The Night Before Christmas
Frank Sinatra: Christmas Dreaming (A Little Early
Fats Waller & His Rhyth: (Swingin' Them) Jingle
Phyllis Robins: The Little Boy That Santa Claus
Sydney Lipton & His Grosvenor House Band: I'm
Going Home For Christmas
Perry Como: That Christmas Feeling
Harry Babbitt: Frosty The Snowman
Judy Garland: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters: The Twelve
Days Of Christmas
Dinah Shore: The Merry Christmas Polka
In the depths of winter
and so soon after the shortest day of the year, the
celebration of Christmas is a sure antidote to those
grey day blues. Particularly so for children, who have
been looking forward to the great day with eager but
impatient anticipation for weeks. To help you get in
the mood we have gathered together a veritable cornucopia
of treats for your delectation and delight.
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - and you'd better believe
it when intoned by Bing Crosby & The Andrews
Sisters, then at the height of their popularity.
This song, dating from 1934, had to wait nine years
for this best-selling version to come along and give
it a new lease of life. The same team gives us The Twelve
Days Of Christmas, a yuletide evergreen with an interesting
history. It is much more than a novelty song for children;
it dates back to the period between 1558 and 1829 when
Roman Catholics in England were not allowed to practice
their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this
carol as a catechism for young Catholics. It has two
levels of meaning: the surface meaning, plus a hidden
subtext known only to members of their church. Each
element in the carol has a code word for a religious
reality, which the children could remember. The 'true
love' mentioned in the song is God himself, and the
partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
Frank Sinatra is the kind of singer who comes
along once in a lifetime - but why did it have to be
my lifetime?' quoth Bing Crosby. But the two
top American crooners were on good terms and had a great
deal of respect for one another. Bing's White Christmas
was the original, top-selling record from the 1942 film
'Holiday Inn'. Frank Sinatra's version from a couple
of years later, whilst not necessarily 'better', is
equally relaxed and perhaps more 'modern' sounding.
In Christmas Dreaming we can well understand why Frank
is doing his 'Christmas dreaming a little early this
The Boswell Sisters were a highly successful
trio between 1924 and 1935 when they all married (Connie
to the trio's manager, Harry Leedy). Connie went on
to achieve fame as a solo performer. Let It Snow! Let
It Snow! Let It Snow! lives on as a perennial Christmas/Winter
The Christmas Song was written by Bob Wells and up-and-coming
vocalist Mel Torm' during a heatwave in July 1945. They
rushed it round to Carlos Gastel, Nat King Cole's manager,
and the upshot was that the Nat King Cole Trio
recorded it with a string backing the following year.
It was worth the wait. With Nat's impeccable dark and
intimate vocal the disc reached No.3 in the Hit Parade.
It has remained a yuletide evergreen ever since.
Singing cowboy Gene Autry was a dab hand at composing
too. With Oakley Haldeman he wrote Here Comes Santa
Claus in 1947 and recorded it the same year. Other artists
covered the song too, including Bing and The Andrews
Sisters and our songstress here, Doris Day. At
the time of this recording, Doris has broken into the
film world and was on the threshold of international
stardom. Two other big record hits for Gene Autry were
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman
but we've elected to use the immediate and fresh-as-a-daisy
sounding versions by Harry Babbitt with The Heartbeats.
A native of St Louis, Harry Babbitt was born in 1913
and became the lead male singer with Kay Kyser's band.
After serving two years in the US Navy, Babbitt rejoined
Kyser awhile before embarking on a successful solo career.
At the time of writing it's pleasing to be able to report
that he is still active in the music business.
The late Perry Como's first job was as a barber.
He used to sing at work and many of his customers urged
him to become a professional vocalist, sacrificing the
tonsorial for the tonsillar, so to speak. Perry took
their advice and served his apprenticeship as a band
vocalist for nine years from 1933 (six of those years
with the high-profile Ted Weems Orchestra). Going solo
in 1942, Perry enjoyed a long and fruitful career as
one of America's top entertainers. In common with Bing
Crosby, his manner exuded an air of supreme relaxation
and for years both crooners were renowned for their
televised Christmas Specials. We can enjoy his friendly,
intimate style in the cheerful Winter Wonderland and
the contrasting, nostalgic ballads There Is No Christmas
Like A Home Christmas and That Christmas Feeling.
Judy Garland sings two seasonal songs from two
different films. From 'In The Good Old Summertime' in
which she co-starred alongside Van Johnson, there's
Merry Christmas. The movie's slight but entertaining
plot tells of the touching romance between two pen pals
who, unbeknownst to each other, work in the same music
shop. One of the best of the Christmas songs, Have Yourself
A Merry Little Christmas features in Judy's 1944 film
'Meet Me In St Louis'. One of her greatest movies, it
centres on a year in the life of a prosperous St Louis
family early this century. Two other song hits from
the film were 'The Boy Next Door' and 'The Trolley Song'.
Like Eric Coates, Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was a
first-rate conductor of his own compositions. Born in
Cambridge, Massachusetts to first-generation Swedish
parents, Anderson began arranging for Arthur Fiedler's
Boston Pops Orchestra in the mid-1930s. Fiedler was
the first to record the highly evocative Sleigh Ride
in 1949, and Anderson's own sparkling recording (complete
with descriptive sound effects) followed a year later.
All I Want For Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) features
George Rock admirably imitating a little boy.
Just as you think he's about to lisp his way through
the well-known poem 'Twas The Night Before Christmas',
all mayhem breaks loose. But that was to be expected
of 'King Of Corn' Spike Jones, who expected his band
members to do the zaniest things. George Rock was actually
a first-class trumpet player. This song reached No.1
in The Hit Parade and stayed there for eight weeks.
Daughter of composer Richard Whiting, and a popular
singer very much in her own right is Margaret Whiting.
Here she gives us the cheery Mistletoe Kiss Polka, composed
by Irish-born Jimmy Kennedy and his second wife, the
actress Constance Carpenter.
We are abruptly yanked off to New York - Harlem in
fact, where we learn that it's Christmas Night In Harlem.
Major league popular lyric writer Johnny Mercer was
also one of the best rhythm singers. Here he's having
a ball, joining forces with Jack Teagarden, at a time
when the great trombonist/vocalist was under contract
to the Paul Whiteman organisation for five years.
'Every little girl would like to be The Fairy On The
Christmas Tree' sings Gracie Fields, and who
are we to argue? There is ample evidence here of Gracie's
pure, bell-like tones so it is easy to understand why
the great diva Luisa Tetrazzini attempted to persuade
her to study opera and forsake the variety stage. It
is fortunate for us that she didn't heed the diva's
words. We get more than a glimpse, too, of Gracie 'guying'
the song by hardening her voice and being typically
'oh so Lanca-sheer'.
Brooklyn-born Dick Robertson (1903-1979) recorded
prolifically with US Decca studio bands in the seven
years from 1935. Dick's pleasing vocal style together
with his flair for picking top jazzmen means that today
many of his records are highly prized by collectors.
On the Dixieland-style Don't Wait Till The Night Before
Christmas there's the bonus of a short muted cornet
chorus from Bobby Hackett.
The 'harmful little armful', or 'Mrs Waller's 285 pounds
of jam, jive and everythin'' as he described himself.
Who else but the irrepressible Fats Waller? No
other artist communicates such an unbridled sense of
joie de vivre through his recordings - what matter that
(Swingin' Them) Jingle Bells was recorded over sixty
years ago? With Fats at the helm it comes through open-armed
and greets you like an old friend. Even the yard dog
enters into the spirit of the occasion (you be a good
yard dog now, mind...). By way of contrast, we have
a song that's mawkish and over-sentimental perhaps;
despite this, the 'ever-so-sad' tale of The Little Boy
That Santa Claus Forgot remains in the seasonal repertoire.
Phyllis Robins puts this number across in an appealing
but straightforward manner.
Following on, we have our only British dance band offering
on this collection, the jaunty I'm Going Home For Christmas
by Sydney Lipton & His Grosvenor House Band.
Sydney (1906-1995) enjoyed a long association with London's
Grosvenor House Hotel from 1931 through to 1972 (save
for a five year stint in the Royal Corps Of Signals
To conclude we have Dinah Shore with Jud Conlon's
Rhythmaires inviting us to join in The Merry Christmas
Polka, a jaunty and fitting number to close written
by Paul Francis Webster and Sonny Burke. 'Kriss Kringle',
referred to in the song, derived from the German 'Christkindl',
strictly meaning 'Christ Child' but accepted in many
regions as an alternative name for Santa Claus (St Nicholas).
It has its uses too in rhyming with 'tingle' and 'jingle'.
So there we have it; may the warm spirit of Christmas
remain with you throughout the year.