Living Strings and Living Voices- We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Here is a Christmas record for the holiday season straight from the Big Al collection of records.  Last year, I filled December up with Christmas tunes.  This year, not so much.  I think this is mainly due to the fact that I have too many records right now and I believe I only made 12 trips to look for new ones.  If you are in a jam and need some Christmas tunes, feel free to use this webpages’ handy search function.

Hey, I went to the Zoo during my trip to Amsterdam last month.  After 11 years of walking by the place and taking pictures of flamingos thru the gates, I decided to break down and spent the 21 Euro or so to take a proper visit.  I went on a Saturday.  The weather was pretty cold.  I had walked there from Vondelpark.  I should have known better since I see my friends with kids posts on Facebook, but it was filled with Dutch children.


Overall, the zoo was pretty fun.  It had a lot of indoor exhibits so you could look at some out the outside animals for awhile until you froze.  Then you could go to an indoor exhibit to warm up.  Indoor highlights included the bird house, insect house, reptile house, and aquarium.  The aquarium, in particular was my favorite.

I also found it funny that they had a raccoon exhibit.  The same animals that are pests here in the US are exotic animals abroad.  Either way, a fun time had at the zoo by all.

Not much to say about this.  Re-released in 1976, it is a generic Christmas album.Maybe there is more to say but I am tired.  I think I posted Christmas tunes from Living Strings/ Living Voices last Christmas. Here is a nifty collection of two Christmas medley’s.

Merry Christmas to all.

Andy Williams- The Andy Williams Christmas Album

DSCN3600Happy Christmas everybody.  This was a dollar.  I almost overlooked this and did not play it this month.  That would be a shame.  This was probably the best overall Christmas record I posted. Nelson Muntz would be happy.


There are a lot of swinging numbers on this.  For samples, I went with “Jingle Bells and “The Little Drummer Boy”.


Well this is the last of the Christmas records for better or for worse.  Not looking forward to having to write posts again.  I will be glad to listen to different records again as opposed to all Christmas ones.


VA- A Country Christmas

DSCN3598This was $3.00.  I don’t like it when labels lump folk music on country compilations.  The inclusion of Burl Ives and The New Christy Minstrels is evidence of this.  Otherwise, there are some good moments on the album with Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, and Ray Price.


For a sample I went with this rolling number from country singer Stonewall Jackson.  Here is “Blue Christmas”. My favorite song on the record, however, is Tammy Wynette doing a song I posted last month, “Count Your Blessings”.  It really isn’t Christmas, per se, but here it is as well.  I think it is the best track on the record.


VA- On This Christmas Night

DSCN3596This was $3.00.  It is a compilation from mostly religious and inspirational singers.  None of the songs are Christmas staples so that is pretty cool.

Saw the new Star Wars The Force Awakens today.  It was pretty good.  I admit, I tried my hardest not to like it.  There were some real cool parts in it. There were still same corny parts but not as many as the last three movies. I still felt the character introductions were too long but not as long and drawn out as the last three movies. The people in the audience who clapped at the key parts in the movie did not help.  I felt they demeaned us all as human beings.  Also, I saw it in a crowded theater.  Normally, I like to wait until I can see it during a “Lee Harvey” matinee (during the day and by myself).  However, my coworker has seen it and I am pretty sure he wants to talk about it.


I went with “Santa’s Reindeer Ride” from Amy Grant which is one of the albums few secular moments. So there you go, free Christmas MP3 and movie review.  What more could you people ask for?


Living Strings and Living Voices- The Most Beautiful Sounds of Christmas

DSCN3594This was a dollar.  It is selections either by choir or string sections.  It was remarkably better than I thought it would be when I bought it. It was released in 1978 from previously recorded material.Johnny Douglas Colour0001

This was arranged and conducted by Johnny Douglas, a London based bandleader.  He is a key contributor to easy listening music.  He also composed the music to the TV cartoon GI Joe.  You know the one, “Greatest American Hero”.DSCN3595

Submitted for a sample is the first medley on the album consisting of “Jingle Bells”, “Rudolph”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Silver Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.  I thought it was a snappy number.



VA- Best of Christmas Vol. 2

DSCN3592This was one dollar.  It is a collection of mostly easy listening Christmas music.  Between Liberace, Ferrante and Teicher, and Lawrence Welk, this leans heavily on the cheesy side.  The glaring exception or perhaps the worst example, depending on how you stand is the inclusion of The Chipmunks.The_Chipmunks_(60s_version)

That is of course the old school Chipmunks and not the current incarnation.


And it is indeed, the Chipmunk’s “The Chipmunk Song”.  It was their first big hit.  It is also my favorite Christmas song.  I mean, Alvin really wants that hula hoop.  Especially in the cartoon.



VA- Something Festive

DSCN3530Here is another compilation album but this one actually looks good.  It is 10 Christmas tunes from A&M record.  I believe it was released in 1968.

It is in fact a pretty swinging album with tunes from label co-founder Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, and the three acts who I will use as samples today.

Link to earlier Herb Alpert album

The Herb Alpert cuts are actually from the record I posted earlier this month.  Oddly enough, they use what I felt were the best two songs on the record.DSCN3531

For a sample, I went with three acts who are not strangers to my blog or the used record bins.  First off, here is “The Christmas Song” by bossa nova king Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66.  Next we have “Snow” by the French Claudine Longet.  Finally, rounding it out are The Tijuana Brass’s bastard cousins, Julius Wechter & The Baja Marimba Band with “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”


The Lennon Sisters- Christmas with the Lennon Sisters

DSCN3528This was either $3 or $4.  I should remember this since it was two weeks ago around since I bought it but no.DSCN3529

Here are the Lennon Sisters, those darlings of Lawrence Welk.  There were a lot of songs I liked on this but I felt “I Saw Mother Kissing Santa Claus” was the best number.  It is a solo piece.  I really wanted to use something that was more ensemble but I really liked this song.


VA- Parade Christmas Sampler

DSCN3526This was $2.

I was really excited about this album because it was a sampler but that excitement wore quick.  I do not know who is singing what on the album.  There is not really much variety here.  There are some choir tunes, strings, instrumentals, and a Bing Crosby-type singer.DSCN3527

For a sample, I went with “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. Since it is a organ driven instrumental, I am assuming this is by Milton Page.


Avon Promotional Christmas Record- 1970

DSCN3524This was $1.00.  Apparently the cosmetic giant Avon put out a few Christmas albums for their Sales Associates as both a present and a motivational tool.  DSCN3525

A bit of research has shown me that this was put out in 1970 and features the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

Further information on the Album

For a sample, I went with “Here We Come A-Caroling”.