Monday, December 24, 2007

Great Songs of Christmas...created exclusively for Goodyear

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Columbia Special Products created exclusively for Goodyear.

Artists: Barbra Streisand, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, The King Family, Pablo Casals, Jan Peerce, Ray Conniff, New Christy Minstrels, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Bing Crosby, Mahalia Jackson & Percy Faith.

Just realized this is the third LP by the Columbia Special Products Division. The Barbra Streisand and Friends for Maxwel House and another one for Grant's Department Stores. For all you who complain about me not playing enough classical Christmas music, here you go. This is one of a handful of records from the mid-60s that were played continuously in our household...until the Jackson 5 Christmas album came out and I redefined what "classical" meant for me.
From the back cover:
This is the sixth in the Goodyear Series of the Great Songs of Christmas; 22 selections to enrich your holiday. A pleasing blend of the great music of the season, the old and the new.

Thank you, Goodyear. I will think of you the next time I need tires. I miss the good ole' days when the giants of commerce offered gifts for you patronage. Unlike all those compilation Christmas CDs put out in the 90s to raise money for some obscure cause. You know, like cancer, or the homeless, or gimpy children. Sometimes I just want to listen to a song without having to save the world.

Twenty-two songs is a bit much, so I'll just offer three.
  1. Jan Peerce, Noel Nouvelet
    Each year the Great Songs of Christmas is enhanced by a few traditional carols which are melodious and well-loved in other countries, but unfamiliar here. Noul Novelet is one of these. It is a traditional French carol, whose melody is in an ancient Greek style. Marcel Dupre's famous composition for organ, Variations on a French Noel, is based on this melody.

  2. Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. Not a huge fan of this song or the vocals, but I love the arrangement. I need to clip those first 6 seconds and just loop them.
    Still another festive, cheerful song of the season is Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow and this warming performance by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme is hearty enough to chase away the most fearful weather.

  3. Mahalia Jackson and Percy Faith, Away in a Manger
    Mahalia Jackson and Percy Faith each are outstanding artists in their own right; on the rare occasions when the two record together, the result always is a rare treat. For this album they have recorded an especially moving performance of Away in a Manger.

    For many years this carol was thought to have been written by Martin Luther for his children. But, this belief seems to have originated with the American harmonizer of the melody. The true origin of the carol is unknown, but is believed to have been composed by a member of the German Lutheran colony in Pennsylvania.

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