Title: Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
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(Date Posted:04/06/2017 18:45)


 


  



It is with such great pride and joy that after many years of trying, I have finally gotten back into print (and released on CD for the very first time) the two classic and legendary Decca Records Christmas albums by the great Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians: 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and Christmas Time. And they both will be released with their original Decca album jacket artwork – and for 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, that means that famous cover with the great American artist Norman Rockwell's sweet and poignant "Caught Napping" drawing (a rendering of Santa and his elves discovering two small children asleep in a chair on Christmas Eve night). It is actually this album jacket cover that I consider to be the greatest Christmas album jacket cover of all-time.


These two great iconic Christmas albums not only reside in the 1st Tier of my Top 500, but in my Ultra Top 10, where they occupy the #5 and #6 positions respectively.


This Fred Waring 2fer CD release, along with my two Percy Faith releases (in 2012 and the previously announced big one for this year in 2017), as well as my Mantovani release (in 2009) are the ones that I have worked the longest and hardest for and are the ones that I am the most proud.


It was a long hard road to finally get UMG (Universal Music Group) to cede over the release/distribution copyrights to these two great Christmas albums (and we actually came close a couple of times), but it was well worth the wait and perseverance in the end. The last stumbling block came earlier this year when, after UMG agreed in principal to the deal, they couldn't find Mr. Warings's contract! I thought I had seen everything up to then, but that was a new low – even for UMG. I have stated publically many times on the board what a difficult company they are to deal with. And they drive a hard bargain – money, control over production, etc.


By the way, for younger folks not familiar with the Christmas music of The Pennsylvanians, they will certainly recognize the group's classic version of “Jingle Bells,” as that is the song that's playing in the background in the scene from the movie A Christmas Story when Ralphie and Randy visit with Santa at Higbee's Department Store!


The street date for the new CD is not yet set as of the writing of this post; but as soon as it's available, I will post it on this thread. So stay tuned.


As for Fred Waring, what can I possibly say that I haven't said already in my many writings on the message board over the years? Therefore, I am going to let the music speak for me by virtue of four music videos from my YouTube channel; as well as links to three previous writings that I have posted over the years on the message board.


For my previous writings on the board, the first link is to an In The Spotlight tribute that I did to Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians in August of 2010 (click here); the second link is to a post, also from August of 2010, that is dedicated to The Teen Trio, who are prominently featured in three of the four songs on Side 1 of the album 'Twas The Night Before Christmas (click here); and the third link is to a Christmas In July spotlight that I did for the Pennsylvanians back in July of 2008 (click here).


And for the music, I am posting below from my YouTube channel all four songs from Side 1 of the album 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. They are in the order of their appearance on the album: “Jingle Bells; Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer; Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town” and, of course, the title song, “Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Enjoy!!










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rsteven
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/07/2017 00:39)


Hello Chip,

Well you are really outdoing yourself for Christmas 2017.  In August, while my lady and I were anxiously getting ready to see Adele in concert at Staples arena for the first time, I decided to check out the yule message board and there it was in blue shiny highlights: You had secured the rights to get Percy Faiths masterpiece, Music Of Christmas, released and remastered properly for the first time in cd format and in all its digital and stereo glory. Oh, how we traditional music lovers had been waiting for this day.  Seeing Adele and getting this news was one of the greatest nights of my life, I'm not kidding.

So now you add to this amazing splendor by announcing that the two magnificent albums by Fred Waring, 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and Christmas Time, are also getting their maiden release on cd format with those amazing album covers, especially that unsurpassed Norman Rockwell cover on the former album.  How you got pass the bureaucracy at Universal Music to finally get this done we will probably never fully appreciate or understand the amount of intestinal fortitude and sheer guts it took to accomplish these feats, but know this: You are greatly loved and appreciated by all members of this board even though we have never met you and most likely never will, but to us you are like family!

God Bless you Chip, from your extended family on the Yule log board.

Steve
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/07/2017 03:25)

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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/07/2017 07:20)

Bravo Chip - now we have to get through the tortures of the Summer heat to get to the Christmas season to enjoy these treasures you have released from the vaults!
Bob Grippo
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/07/2017 13:21)


Thanks, Bob. I just hope this summer's not as torturous as last summer, which was the hottest on record. But I have a feeling we're in for a scorcher. Heat Miser will definitely rule the day.




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rsteven
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/08/2017 13:13)


Hello Chip,

I just realized with the coming releases of Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas and Fred Waring's twofer of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas with Christmas Time, we traditional Christmas music lovers will now have all ten of your First Tier Top 500 top ten albums available on cd format for the first time.  I believe that eight of those cd's are directly made available to us due to your efforts over the years.

I also believe that out of the top twenty of you First Tier we are only missing the original stereo version of Leroy Anderson's A Christmas Festival with original cover artwork on cd as well as Andre Kostelanetz's Wonderland Of Christmas, although the latter is available on a CDR that has pretty decent sound as I recall.

When we get to the rest of your top 30, particularly numbers 21-30 there are a great deal of these classics that have never been available on cd format such as The Jack Halloran Singers Christmas Is A Comin', Bert Kaempfert's Christmas Wonderland, StanleyBlack's Christmas Holiday For Romance and Frank Chackfield's Music For A Merry Christmas among others if I am correct.

And that's just dealing with your magnificent top 30 of your glorious Top 500 list.  So while we are very blessed with what you have made available to us already, we are truly excited about what you have in store for us in the future.  Just getting Percy and Fred is really all we should need, but I have a feeling you and Real Gone Music will have a few more surprises in the coming months.

Best Regards,

Steve
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/08/2017 17:34)

Thanks for sharing the wonderful news Chip!  Now the countdown begins waiting for this and the Percy Faith release!!!


Jim

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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/08/2017 19:30)


Steve:

Rest assured I'm working to release all those titles you mentioned. Also working on a proper digital re-release of the Jim Reeves and Kitty Wells.

By the way, the Bert Kaempfert was in print for a while on CD: it was released by Taragon Records in 1996 by special arrangement with PolyGram. However, it's now out-of-print and going for big bucks. I'd like to get this back in print as well.



Jim:

It'll be here before you know it.



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rsteven
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/09/2017 10:42)


Hello Chip,

Oh yes that Jim Reeves 12 Days Of Christmas is ripe for a proper remaster as he had one of the smoothest and most velvety voices that ever graced a studio as you and I have talked about in the past.  I think its been close to eighteen years since RCA did a sort of budget line release of that classic on cd. What a treat it would be to have Real Gone Music re-release it in their customary and glorious fashion.

It would also be great to have the Kitty Wells Christmas album released in the same fashion as I had forgotten that she even made a full Christmas album. Of course it would be great to have the Bert Kaempfert Christmas Wonderland album even at a higher price, but since it doesn't have the original album cover artwork I am going to be patient and wait for Real Gone Music to release it properly even if that takes a year or two.

I think it so interesting that these marketing genius's at the record labels in the past few decades never really took  into account how much we traditional Christmas music lovers desire to have their albums released with the original artwork even if it seems dated or hokey to these modern executives.  It really took you and Real Gone Music to make it in vogue to get these albums re-released in their original cover album artwork, something else we have to be grateful for thanks to you and Gordon's efforts.

Best Regards,

Steve



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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/09/2017 12:26)


Steve,

I'm hoping that I'll be able to get the Jim Reeves out this year.

By the way, it was originally released on CD twenty-nine years ago in 1988 by BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group), which was before Sony's acquisition of the company.

As for the 1996 Taragon Records Bert Kaempfert CD, it was indeed released with the original cover artwork (click here).


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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/09/2017 13:26)


Hello Again Chip,

Oh my, I'm very excited about the possibility of Jim Reeves beautiful 12 Days Of Christmas album being released this year.  Wow, and as you well know Chip if that album hasn't been remastered since the eighties when even the good engineers were sometimes having trouble getting use to transferring analog to digital albums without losing the warmth of the former, than we will be in for a real treat if Real Gone does their usual stellar remastering job, probably at Battery Studios I would imagine since its under the RCA Label domain originally.

I did not realize that Bert Kaempfert's Christmas Wonderland album was the original cover as I must have gotten it confused with the mono cover version.  I guess the only thing that stereo version is missing on Amazon is the black Decca label arrow at the top right hand corner of the album cover if I'm correct.  I will have to re-think that purchase, but it is pricey even for a nearly new, but used copy.

Thanks for the information as always Chip, and I am truly thrilled about the possibility of the Jim Reeves Christmas album coming out this year!

Best regards,

Steve


(Message edited by rsteven On 04/09/2017 13:31)
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/09/2017 22:04)


Yes Steve, since the Jim Reeves LP is a Sony property, it will be remastered here in New York at Battery Mastering Studios. The quality of the remastering (what little there was of it) of the 1988 BMG CD release was atrocious. That will now happily be corrected.

As for the Bert Kaempfert LP, the mono cover artwork for the original 1963 Decca Records release (catalog #DL-4441) was the same as the stereo release (catalog #DL-74441), only without the stereo logo. The only other domestic cover came in the late 1960s and it sported a drawing of a snow globe. Aside from these two domestic covers, there was a Polydor Records cover that was used for releases of the album in Germany and other countries around the world like Mexico.



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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/18/2017 17:47)

Chip - Was the Bert Kaempfert Christmas LP ever issued with a mandolin on the front cover or am I mixing that up with another LP? I am almost positive I have a version with the mandoiln cover in my collection...
Rich
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/18/2017 23:09)


That cover you alluded to was not for the original album under the Christmas Wonderland title, but rather for one of many reissues of the album that was released by Polydor Records over the years.

Among these reissue titles were Christmastide, Christmas With Bert Kaempfert and A Drop Of Christmas Spirit.

There were four different covers for the Christmastide reissue: a church scene (catalog #46-408), a lighted house (catalog 46-408 & 237-608), an ornament (catalog #825-143-1 & 2372-044), and finally the mandolin cover (catalog #SPH-37608).

The cover for the reissue entitled Christmas With Bert Kaempfert was the church scene (catalog #104-693); and the cover for the reissue entitled A Drop Of Christmas Spirit was a woman with a drink (catalog #2418-208).

By the way, the cover for original Christmas Wonderland LP in Europe and other countries around the world was with the church scene (catalog #2372-044).


 Follow-up to above message:

Sorry, but there was a Polydor Records reissue that I forgot to mention above: it was a French reissue on the International Polydor Production label entitled Joy
eux Noel (catalog #2512-GU). The cover for this French reissue sported a house covered with snow.






*[Edited 04/19/17 to add info on French reissue]


(Message edited by Christmas Music Guru On 04/19/2017 11:44)
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/30/2017 13:00)


Hello Chip,

While I have been thinking with great anticipation about the pending Percy and Fred Waring albums coming out this year on the Real Gone Music Label thanks to your huge efforts over the years, the beautiful Fred Waring cover with the Norman Rockwell artwork made me wonder about the possibility of ever getting the original Merry Christmas From Brenda Lee released on proper remastered format with that great front cover artwork with Brenda's picture.

I know that Universal has released various incarnations of this classic album with missing songs and extra songs, but has it ever been released on cd with the original front cover album artwork?  I would think it would be ripe for a remaster as well.  Of course I know this fantastic album in under the Universal umbrella which might make it difficult to secure the copyright from as we know they are testy to negotiate their great catalogue for release to other record companies.

I would love to know your thoughts on the Brenda album in general though as I know it places high in your Top 30 of your glorious Top 500 Christmas albums of all time.

Best regards,

Steve


(Message edited by rsteven On 04/30/2017 13:20)
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:04/30/2017 23:14)


Yes Steve, I do indeed think highly of the album -- as evidenced not only by its #22 position in my
Top 500, but also by the inclusion of two of its songs in my new 5th hour that I created and produced for the Yule Log telecast last year.

UMG did a fairly good job with their reissue of the album, but not only was I not happy that they didn't use the original LP cover artwork, but also that they intermixed the bonus tracks within the songs of the regular album.

And yes, I'd like to get a proper reissue of this album out someday; but it would be another tall order with UMG.



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rsteven
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:06/18/2017 09:54)


Hello Chip,

Since we will have so many of your top twenty Christmas albums of all time available on cd in the near future, specifically the great Percy Faith Music Of Christmas and the Fred Waring twofer cd covering his two great Christmas albums,  I was wondering if we might get the great Kate Smith Christmas album release in proper remastered form with original cover.

I know its available as a CDR, but I understand that although its complete it does not match up the songs on the back correctly with the actual medleys that are played on the cd. I also noticed that the great Peter Matz arranged this masterpiece and he did a magnificent job on the splendid John Gary Christmas album as well as I recall.  Any chance that this classic will get a proper re-release one day by Real Gone Music?

Best regards,

Steve
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:06/18/2017 20:42)


Steve,

Kate Smith's classic 1966 RCA Victor Christmas LP was actually remastered and released on CD directly by RCA (BMG Music) in 1992, and it had the complete original artwork. That current blue border around the current artwork was added in 2010 when the album began to be offered as an officially sanctioned CD-R.

But yes, this is one that I'd also like to get re-released with a brand new remastering job from Battery Studios here in New York and the full, unfettered original artwork, without that added blue border.



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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:08/27/2017 21:03)

This is FANTASTIC news, Chip! Jim Reeve's Twelve Songs Of Christmas is a classic holiday album in its own right! Existing somewhere between country, pop, and easy listening, I believe a few tracks from that LP were included in the infamous 1986 The Time-Life Treasury Of Christmas compilation that I grew up with as a child of the '80s. Hearing the full Twelve Songs Of Christmas album really transport me back in time, like the best Christmas albums always do.
Another Christmas album from that era (my 1980s childhood) that I will always treasure is Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton's Once Upon A Christmas! The accompanying television special wasn't too shabby either.  Since the currently in print version of that album on CD makes several song substitutions and therefore isn't the full LP as it was originally released in 1984, I'm holding fast to my parents' original CD copy. Someone will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands. LOL!

As for the Bert Kaempfert Christmas Wonderland album possibly coming back in print on CD, well, I couldn't be happier about that, too! The walking bass lines heard throughout the LP are sublime. They were everywhere in 1960s song arrangements! What great song selections on that album, as well! Such happy Christmas music! 
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:08/28/2017 20:37)


Hello Get2Me,

Yes, it will indeed be fantastic if Chip and Real Gone Music are able to get that great Jim Reeves Christmas album remastered and restored in its original configuration. As Chip has previously pointed out, it was a less than stellar remaster that RCA did back when it was first released.  The only good way to hear that album, though one song was out of order due to when it was recorded, was on the Bear Family box set of Jim Reeves, Welcome To My World, which now costs several hundred dollars now on Amazon or Ebay.

It will be fantastic to have that whole album with original artwork and Battery Studios unsurpassed remastering if Chip manages to pull this off for this year. Oh, and that Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton album, Once Upon A Christmas, featuring a great mixture of Christmas standards and some absolutely amazing original songs written by Dolly herself, is fantastic as well and yes getting that original CD version with Kenny's amazing version of The Christmas Song (Chesnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) is indeed hard to find as they shortened the length of the CD by a couple of songs when it was re-released later.

Jeremy Lubbock did many of the orchestral arrangements and the great David Foster co-produced the project with Kenny Rogers himself.  Besides Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gormé's fantastic Christmas album, I do believe that Kenny and Dolly's Christmas album is the greatest "duet" Christmas album ever, although Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood's duet Christmas album from last year wasn't "too shabby" either to quote you.

Best regards,

Steve







(Message edited by rsteven On 08/28/2017 22:25)
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:08/29/2017 02:10)


Peter and Steven,

Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Jim Reeves CD done this year.

The reason is that Gordon ideally likes to release his Real Gone Music reissues with bonus tracks -- especially for albums that are currently in print by the parent record label; in this case, SME (Sony Music Entertainment). He doesn't feel that a new remaster of the recording alone would be enough guarantee sales success of the CD.

The only exception to this was my Percy Faith release this year. This was by virtue of the fact that it's the #1 album in my
Top 500. I got it green-lighted by Gordon even before he knew that I had 8 stupendous bonus tracks to package with the album.

But getting back to the Jim Reeves, I tried very hard to come up with just a few bonus tracks that I could package with the album -- just two or three would have been enough for me to get the project approved, but no luck.

I even consulted with my friend Ethel Gabriel, the legendary RCA Records producer who was good friends with Jim -- or as she calls him, Jimmy. But regrettably, Ethel didn't know of any either.

But no worries, it's not completely dead as I'm going to make another push for release of the album in the future. In the meantime, I'll continue to search for something that Jim did that I can package with the album. If not, there's still a chance that I might be able to convince Gordon to just release it as a straight reissue with a new digital remaster.


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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:08/30/2017 18:01)

As to Jim Reeves, I can think of a couple possible bonus tracks off the top of my head:

"Scarlet Ribbons" (from Songs to Warm the Heart, 1959)
"Snow Flake" (A-side of single, 1965)



(Message edited by Motown Mike On 08/30/2017 18:04)
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:08/30/2017 19:53)


Board member Steven already contacted me about these last night via a private email; and as I told him, I already know about these two songs and have already proposed them to Gordon, along with several of Jim's gospel/spiritual oriented songs.
The problem is that Gordon isn't really big on using gospel/spiritual songs as bonus tracks on Christmas CDs. I need bona fide Christmas bonus tracks to offer him; and regrettably, there just aren't any. As for the winter song "Snowflake," it is the only song of all that is the closest to a bona fide Christmas carol. But it alone will not get the project approved.

Unfortunately, Jim died in 1964 at the very young age of 40. And he had recorded his only Christmas album just a year before in 1963 at age 39. If he had lived longer, I'm sure that he would have eventually recorded more Christmas music. It's still hard for Ethel to talk about "Jimmy" because she still misses him. Ethel had kept in touch with his wife Mary until she died of Alzheimer's in 1999.


But getting back to Jim's gospel/spiritual songs, the one that does come the closest to a Christmas song per se would indeed be "Scarlet Ribbons." But it's still a stretch -- along the same lines as when recording artists use "My Favorite Things" as a Christmas song (something I'm against).

But beyond "Scarlet Ribbons," there are several other gospel/spiritual oriented songs that I also thought could work as possible bonus tracks for the CD. Among them:

"May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You"

"Take My Hand Precious Lord"

"Have Thine Own Way Lord"

"Teach Me How To Pray"

"I'd Rather Have Jesus"

"God Be With You"

There's still a chance that the release might happen, perhaps with a smattering of these spirituals (if Gordon should agree). If not, I'm still going to try to just get it released as a straight reissue with a new digital remaster, which is the most important thing in the first place.


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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:09/02/2017 11:30)





Even though it's early and we're still embroiled in this year's releases, I spoke to Gordon again about "Gentleman Jim" (as he was called), and I'm pretty confident that it will be my first conquest for 2018 as I think I sold him on the idea of using Jim's gospel/spiritual material as bonus tracks.

If Gordon should use everything that I originally proposed, then the CD would sport 8 bonus tracks. But in the end, he'll probably give me 6 of the 8; so between my top 5 gospel/spiritual songs and the seasonal winter song, I think that'll do it.



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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:09/02/2017 11:39)


Hello again, Chip,

This is just fantastic news, as Gentleman Jim Reeves Christmas album is one of the greatest country-pop masterpieces ever with Jim's velvet voice and stellar production from Chet Atkins. Great song selection and sorely in need of a proper re-master as we have previously discussed.  Wow, with three of your top ten Christmas albums coming this year with Percy and Fred and now a great start on 2018 you must have been working overtime this year!

Best regards,

Steve
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RE:Fred Waring's Decca Christmas albums finally to be released!
(Date Posted:09/02/2017 13:26)





Yes, this is a big one, Steve. Jim's Christmas album ranks #11 in my all-time
Top 500, just missing my Ultra Top 10.

I included two of the stellar songs from this album in my new 5th hour of the Yule Log that I produced last year for Tribune Broadcasting and WPIX-TV.

It is those two songs that I also featured in my 2009 In The Spotlight tribute to Jim.


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