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 Christmas Music Guru's Recent Posts
Christmas Music Guru
Rank: Honorary Member  
Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of
Score: 3493
Posts: 3493
From: USA
Joined: 09/07/2005

Posted on 07/05/2018 02:35

My pleasure, Steve; and yes, Joni definitely puts her unique and charming stamp on the song with that revised line.

Posted on 07/04/2018 20:50

Yes Steve, Kate Smith's greatest effort at a full orchestra backed Christmas album was her 2nd (and by far best) Christmas album from 1966, which comes in at #18 in my Top 500 -- and also happens to be the highest ranking female vocalist Christmas album in my entire collection.

But as to your question of what was the first full-fledged effort of an orchestral backed Christmas album by a female vocalist, the earliest were Jo Stafford's 1955 Christmas album (which was backed by hubby orchestra leader Paul Weston), Patti Page's 1955 Christmas album, and Gisele MacKenzie's 1957 Christmas alum. Even though Jo, Patti and Gisele's respective Christmas albums rank higher in my Top 500 than does Joni's album, Joni had a larger string section backing her up.

As for why Joni changed the lyrics in her version of "The Christmas Song," I've always though the change to be nothing more than poetic license on her part. Even though by changing the lyrics there's no rhyme anymore between the lines "And so I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-two" and "Although it's been said many times many ways Merry Christmas to you," there is a new rhyme of sorts within that first line itself with "And so I'm offering this simple phrase to kids from one to ninety-one." It's cute, but probably not as effective as the original lyrics by Mel Tormé. But Joni's so gosh darn sweet, I'll cut her some slack on that one.

Posted on 07/01/2018 11:10

Being the fine gentleman that he was, Elvis was loyal to a fault. And unfortunately, he felt he owed everything to the Colonel for his success. The Colonel took full -- and I mean full -- advantage of this. And sadly, as a result of the way he managed his career, he basically just squandered Elvis' full potential and talent.

Posted on 07/01/2018 02:08

Exactly Steve and another example of this was Elvis' acting career. He was a far better actor than he is given credit for, largely due to all of the lightweight vehicles that the Colonel negotiated for him. And when a serious dramatic acting role came along, the Colonel usually turned it down. The 1960 film Flaming Star was a rare exception to this. But two years earlier, the Colonel turned down one of the best films Elvis was ever offered: 1958's The Defiant Ones, which eventually went to Tony Curtis.

Posted on 07/01/2018 00:39

Close Steve, but it was actually Elvis' next (and what would ultimately be his last) film, Change Of Habit, that Mahalia visited him on the set. She wanted him to participate in a fundraiser she was organizing. He was willing to do it, but Colonel Tom put the kibosh on it. This is typical of why my friend Ethel Gabriel, the legendary RCA Records producer, who was very close to Elvis having been with him at RCA from the beginning, was not partial to the Colonel. And Ethel wasn't alone, as many people had issues with the Colonel as well.

Posted on 06/30/2018 20:53

Yes, I agree about Burl Ives; but that list was only to show what artists in the 1st Tier of my Top 500 had multiple stellar Christmas albums.

As for Patti Page, her Columbia album was actually her second Christmas album (1965); but it's ranked higher at #20 than her original Mercury album (1955), which is ranked #80.

my ranking of the greatest Christmas album covers of all-time, Leroy
Anderson's "Christmas kitty" (as I refer to it) cover for his 1955
Christmas album Christmas Carols is
#3, behind Fred Waring's great Norman Rockwell cover for his 1955 Christmas album 'Twas The Night Before Christmas which is #1,
and Percy Faith's "Father playing Santa Claus while holding sleeping
daughter" cover for his original version of his 1954 Christmas album Music Of Christmas, which is
#2. For that original thread on the board, click here.

In my Top 500,
in addition to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tiers, as well as the "Notable
Mentions" section, there is my "Bubbling Under" section of 200 albums
that bubble under the Top 300.
For my original announcement in 2013 of the posting of the "Bubbling Under" section, click here.

And lastly, so
glad you appreciate the Christmas music of Mahalia Jackson. Her
Christmas albums are, unfortunately, quite underrated and
underappreciated today. She was the "Percy Faith" of gospel singers, in
that she was able to convey the kind of power, emotion and reverence
with her singing that Mr. Faith did with his orchestra. And just like
with Percy Faith, it's always an emotional experience listening to her
music. I did an In The Spotlight tribute to her in 2009, click here. And posted below is my favorite Mahalia Jackson Christmas song of all-time; her magnificently spirited rendition of "Go Tell It On The Mountain."

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Posted on 06/30/2018 12:25


In addition to Andy Williams, Perry Como and Bing Crosby, other solo recording artists who have multiple albums in the 1st Tier of my Top 500 (albums 1-125) are Jo Stafford, Patti Page, Burl Ives, Buck Owens and Mahalia Jackson.

For instrumental
recording artists, in addition to Percy Faith and Mantovani, they
include The Living Strings, Leroy Anderson, Ferrante & Teicher and
Arthur Fiedler & the Boston Pops.

And for
choir/chorale/ensemble recording artists, they include Fred Waring &
the Pennsylvanians, Ray Conniff, The New Christy Minstrels, Mitch
Miller, Sammy Kaye, Lawrence Welk, The Living Voices, The Ames Brothers
and The Chipmunks.

Posted on 06/27/2018 02:19


Aimoo is doing a major overhaul of its message board platform. I've applied for a complete transfer of all existing forum data to the new apparatus, but I fear this conversion could be even more disastrous than the conversion from version 7.0.1 to version 8.0.1 in 2007. The board was closed for months while I made repairs, and much information was lost and never recovered. So I'm bracing for impact.

As far as the upcoming new releases for 2018 are concerned, I'd ideally like to announce them in July, but since most of the releases are UMG projects, it will take longer to get all the deals worked out.

Posted on 05/31/2018 17:25

Unfortunately, I can't access these songs.

Posted on 05/30/2018 18:58

Glad to hear you got through on their business line; for some reason, all I get is a busy signal.

Posted on 05/29/2018 11:55

Tried to call the station's business number today and unfortunately only get a fast busy signal.

Posted on 05/26/2018 13:50

My guess, Steve, is that it was either part of some kind of sales promotion, or perhaps just a publicity stunt to garner attention from the public and media for the station. If indeed it was a publicity stunt, it was a brilliant move, as I'm sure it created a lot of talk around town. Too bad you don't remember the station; I would have liked to call them to find out.

And for this Memorial Day weekend, I'll share here a little Christmas music in May for everyone to get into the spirit and enjoy from two sets of great singing brothers: Mills and Ames.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Posted on 04/19/2018 02:26

That's such a shame, Susan, that you lost your Superstation package. Dish Network really did you a disservice.

You should write them a strong letter of complaint for doing that to you.

If it's any consolation, yes, Sean (Compton) will continue to air the Yule Log on his Antenna TV network. He made that pledge to me several years ago and has kept it. So as long as he's in charge at Tribune Broadcasting, rest assured it will air on Antenna TV.

Posted on 02/25/2018 00:02

It's neither out of print with Real Gone Music or with Sony Music: another pressing is coming from RGM of our newly remastered expanded edition with my liner notes and bonus tracks; and Sony is still printing their unremastered version.

Posted on 02/25/2018 00:00

were several great scenes that were deleted from the film, Susan. It's a
shame they can't be found. More than likely they were discarded after
they hit the cutting room floor.

On a personal note, it's also a
shame that when Alvin Greenman died a couple of years ago, there went
the film's last surviving member. It was through my research for this
thread about the Books Memorial Home in 2010 that I first became
acquainted with him. We talked pretty regularly after that up to the
time of his death. I miss him and the conversations we used to have,
which were mostly about the Golden Age of Hollywood. His daughter,
Grace, is still active in the business.

Posted on 02/06/2018 14:05

It won't affect the Christmas releases from Real Gone Music; Gordon and I will always be a champion of the CD format.

Posted on 02/06/2018 13:50

Definitely, Gene. And yes, the '60s were the ultimate time for classic Christmas music. We were both lucky to have grown up during that time.

Posted on 02/05/2018 19:52

Ah, the good old days.

By the way, there's a lot of info that is wrong on this discography, but the fourth to last song is "Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers" by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops from 1959.

Posted on 01/28/2018 00:07

That's makes no sense to me too, Susan. I can see showing a holiday-themed episode out of the sequence that episodes for that season were filmed, but not the others.

Posted on 01/28/2018 00:04

I hate when stations do that. I know they have to make their money, so I don't care how many damn commercials they show, but don't cut the doggone movie. They should either show it correctly or don't show it at all.
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