Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Calendar 2011 - Please Don't Play That Christmas Album Again!

[Note: This post originally ran during the first Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories in December, 2007]

As I grew up, it seemed there was only one Christmas album available not only in our home but in the world. My mother would play it incessantly - to the point of frustrating and angering me and my brother.

The album was A Christmas Sound Spectacular by John Klein and was released in 1959. Klein had done much of the arranging for the Your Hit Parade shows and this album, when released, was (and still is) one of a kind. Mom would bring out the album, with its tattered cover and some scratches, place it on the Victrola and we'd begin decorating the Christmas tree. And since it was a four hour ordeal (due to the rule of placing each strand of tinsel individually on the tree), we heard the album at least six times.

When I cleaned out Mom's house this past year, I could not find the album for the life of me, and as much as I detested it, I really wanted to hear it one more time. So I resolved to find a digital version if possible. When I did find it (see below), boy did it bring back memories. And I called Mom, and despite her advanced Alzheimer's, she can recall every little detail if it is at least pre-1995. So she said "Oh, you have 'the album' on. You must be decorating the tree. I'll have to stop by to see it."

So I play my favorite track Medley: I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day/Carol Of The Bells and now wonder why I hated these songs so much. I knew if back then Mom had said "You just wait - you'll be older and you'll miss these songs," now she could rightfully say, "See? What did I tell you?"

You can download a preview of A Christmas Sound Spectacular at a neat Christmas music blog called Bongobells. But since the album was reissued in CD format in 2002 and is no longer "out of print," you really should order a copy of this great album for a modest $8.00 at Schulmerich Bells. In fact, John Klein performed all the songs on the 1,143 bell carillon of Schulmerich bells where they are based in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.

© 2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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