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From: USA
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Posted on 12/04/2017 11:59

Because you're all as obsessive about these things as I am, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask...

Does anyone here have hi-res, original, front LP artwork scans for Ray Conniff's three Columbia Christmas albums? I'm looking for Christmas With Conniff, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, and Ray Conniff's Christmas Album (Here We Come A-Caroling). Albumartexchange.com only has the 1980s-era CD reissue artwork for these albums, which have all been altered (poorly) in one way or another.

I've been enjoying Real Gone Music's The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings 2-CD set a lot recently, but I don't love the modern cover art they created as much as I love the music. These albums are so entrenched in the era of classic Christmas music that seeing something other than those iconic LP covers while listening to these songs makes my Christmas-loving heart sad. I'd like to remedy that, if I can, if only in my iTunes music library.

Thanks for your help, fellow Yule Log-ers!

Posted on 11/18/2017 12:24

That's truly disappointing that CD reissues of Christmas Candy and/or Christmas Favorites are a slim to none possibility. I'm glad I was able to purchase a copy of the latter when it was initially released by Collectors' Choice Music.
Thanks for the info, Chip. As always, it's very much appreciated.

Posted on 11/17/2017 09:35

I know I've talked about this album before, but out of the three Christmas LPs organist Eddie Dunstedter released, Christmas Candy is, in my humble opinion, a lost lounge holiday classic.

Released in 1965 on Capitol records, I first became aware of this album through the handful of songs that appeared on Capitol's own Ultra-Lounge: Christmas Cocktails compilations. Since then, I've sought out multiple copies of the album on vinyl and enjoy listening to them a few times each Christmas season. For those who might be averse to instrumental, organ-based, Christmas albums, rest assured: there are plenty of other instruments to round out the songs and keep the tone lighthearted and upbeat, rather than church-like or funereal. The whole affair was quite well recorded (Christmas Candy WAS released on Capitol records, afterall) and the arrangements have a distinctly "hip" Now Sound feel with tight rhythm sections, walking bass lines, and a slight bossa nova bent, all of which tends to be just shy of kitschy. But therein lies the charm of this overlooked album!

Although there's no connection between the two other than the original record label and release year, I think Eddie Dunstedter's Christmas Candy would make a wonderful twofer CD reissue with The Hollyridge Strings' Christmas Favorites LP. It's a darn shame that the Collectors' Choice CD of the latter has long since fallen out of print.

The cuts from Christmas Candy and Christmas Favorites that made their way onto the Christmas Cocktails CDs are among the best of the bunch and full album reissues of both would be a welcome addition to any Golden Age of Christmas Music afficionados' collection.

Posted on 11/16/2017 16:59

That's wonderful news, indeed, Chip! Here's hoping it actually happens for next year!

As I said before, the stereo version of A Christmas Sound Spectacular is the ONLY way to go with this album. The mono LP sounds lifeless and claustrophobic by comparison - and not just because it's mono. Something must've gone awry in the mixing. It's truly dreadful! But the stereo LP is practically in surround sound!

Fingers crossed the powers that be let this happen! The cover art alone should sell a ton of copies! 

Posted on 11/16/2017 10:58

Hey Chip!

Is there any chance that Gordon at Real Gone Music might one day be interested in reissuing John Klein's wonderful 1959 LP A Christmas Sound Spectacular on CD?

Schulmerich Bells, the company that recorded the album and manufactured the grand Carillon Americana, produced their own CD reissue a number of years ago. However, they used the vastly inferior mono version of the album. The RCA LIVING STEREO version is the ONLY way this album should EVER be heard. Besides, I no longer see that CD offered for sale on Schulmerich Bells' web site so it might, in fact, be out of print.

Between the iconic cover art and the instantly recognizable song selections, performed brilliantly by John Klein at the Carillon Americana, a full orchestra, and chorus, I think A Christmas Sound Spectacular would be a sure-fire hit for Real Gone Music! More people deserve to experience this album in its full sonic glory!

Posted on 10/29/2017 19:24

According to the liner notes, the 2008 Barnes & Noble exclusive "compilation" (which was really just a straight reissue of The Dean Martin Christmas Album), titled A Very Cool Christmas, was mastered/remastered by Erick Labson at Universal Music Studios-West. Is it possible the new Sony CD (which I hope to add to my collection soon) is the same master just reissued under the Sony label? A Very Cool Christmas came out on Hip-O Records, a Universal Music Company.

Posted on 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! 

Posted on 07/31/2017 07:47

Thanks for chiming in, Chip. I just love the vibe of this late-60s Christmas album. Maybe one day it will see a reissue from Real Gone Music or some other label. Hey, I can dream, right?

Posted on 07/28/2017 08:22

Hi Chip! I hope summer is treating you well!

Since the Living Strings/Voices/Guitars easy listening CD reissues were hits for Real Gone Music, is there any future hope of bringing Al Caiola And Riz Ortolani's Sound Of Christmas to the CD format?

I've loved this album ever since I was exposed to the handful of tracks from it that wound up on Capitol Records' Ultra-Lounge: Christmas Cocktails compilations. Fans of Bossa Nova rhythms, lounge, late-60s guitar instrumentals, easy listening orchestral pop, and slightly off-beat renditions of holiday classics would find this 1968 United Artists release a jewel to behold. They seriously don't make Christmas albums like this anymore!

<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cn5Luu1imjs" allowfullscreen="" height="355" frameborder="0" width="425"></iframe>

07-28-17 @ 09:26 PM
Follow-up to above message:

Here's another dreamy song from Sound Of Christmas. Talk about holiday magic!
<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vpnGz_IL7Jc" allowfullscreen="" height="355" frameborder="0" width="425"></iframe>

Posted on 01/03/2017 22:01

Does anyone know why the artwork was altered for these two copies of Jo Stafford's Happy Holidays: I Love The Winter Weather CD compilation? I purchased them about a decade apart (the older copy has a black CD tray and the newer copy has a white CD tray) and both bear the catalogue number: COR-114CD.

As you can clearly see, the colors on the front cover of the newer copy (white CD tray) have shifted to a much darker tone (most noticeable in the green drapes) and there's no red in the title or Jo's name. On the back cover, the Corinthian web site address is absent on the newer copy (bottom jewel case), and the artwork printed on the CD itself is different - there's no white line beneath Paul Weston's name and the Corinthian logo is just gone!

I know I'm getting a little lost in the details here. After all, the music is what matters and it is sublime! However, I find it strange that the differences in these two copies of Happy Holidays: I Love The Winter Weather exist at all. If both CDs were issued by the same label, shouldn't they look identical? They're so similar it's like one of those newspaper/magazine games: can you spot the differences in these two photographs?

Can you offer any insight, Chip?

Posted on 12/09/2016 09:37

Hi Chip! I was wondering if you could shed some light as to why you urged Real Gone Music to reissue the Living Guitars/Living Strings The Joy Of Christmas/The Sound Of Christmas on CD this year.

Let me preface my above statement by positively proclaiming that, next to The Jack Jones Christmas Album, The Joy Of Christmas/The Sound Of Christmas might just be my favorite of the 2016 Real Gone Music Christmas album reissues!

Unlike the other albums in the bunch, I'd hardly heard mention of either The Joy Of Christmas or The Sound Of Christmas on any of the Christmas album fan sites that I frequent (Ernie (Not Bert), Falalalala.com, etc.). I know quite well that you have a huge list ranking the classic Christmas LPs you'd like to bring back to circulation on CD. I just find it surprising that these seemingly forgotten LPs rose to the top of that list - enough for you to bring them to Gordon Anderson's attention.

Was there a huge demand for either The Joy Of Christmas or The Sound Of Christmas? Were they that fondly remembered from the days of their original release? RCA Camden was a budget record label, correct? How amazing, and wonderful, that such seemingly obscure albums can get reissued on CD!

Can you please recount a bit of the backstory surrounding Real Gone Music's Living Guitars/Living Strings The Joy Of Christmas/The Sound Of Christmas reissue? Thanks again for all your hard work!

Posted on 08/29/2016 13:47

The Living Stereo version of John Klein's A Christmas Sound Spectacular is indeed spectacular! I, too, have the official CD reissue and bemoan its mono sound every time I listen to it. While mono can be recorded well, with depth and clarity of instruments, this isn't a good mono recording. Or else, the remastering is muddy on this CD. Comparing the mono CD to the stereo LP, there's no question about which is better and how this album should always be heard; the stereo LP is a REVELATION!

Regarding the Ray Conniff Singers Real Gone Music reissue... If I'm remembering correctly, the original Columbia CD reissue of Christmas With Conniff reordered the tracks from it's vinyl counterpart, right? Hopefully this new edition will restore the original tracklisting and song sequencing for this classic of classic Christmas albums! I mention it only because of the error made with The Andy Williams Christmas Album track sequencing from Real Gone Music's Complete Christmas Recordings 2-CD set. Thankfully, Real Gone Music did correct the mistake but I'd hate for something similar to happen with the Ray Conniff Singers reissue.

Posted on 12/04/2015 08:31

Thanks for clearing the air on this matter, Chip. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and am THRILLED to hear that the future of Christmas LP on CD reissues is a positive one, at least in terms of Real Gone Music.

This year's crop of releases truly offered something for everyone and I appreciate the diversity in the title selection. Being a fan of mid-century Christmas albums, I'm especially grateful to have the George Melachrino and The Three Suns albums as part of my proper collection. That the John Gary, Bobby Vinton, Johnny Mathis, Living Voices, etc. discs got released was just icing on the cake! And who doesn't love a rich, buttercream frosting?

Here's hoping that next year Real Gone Music does right by finally reissuing The Jack Jones Christmas Album in its entirety thus bringing it into the lives of Christmas music fans everywhere. Those who know how good it is can experience it anew and those who've never heard it can wonder where it's been all these years! The album is a lost-to-time classic, for sure!

Thanks again for all your efforts, Chip. My Christmas-loving heart thanks you a million times over. Keep up the great work!

Posted on 12/03/2015 09:25

Dear Chip,

I was recently alerted to a troubling review for George Melachrino's Christmas Joy that was posted on Amazon.com. It reads:


How do you kill Living Stereo? Ask the murderess, Maria Triana of Battery Studios..., December 1, 2015
This review is from: Christmas Joy (Audio CD)

What Ms. Triana has perpetrated on George Melachorino's fine "Christmas Joy" is nothing less than first degree murder. What takes all the life out of this heretofore Living Stereo triumph is the absolutely over-the-top, heavy handed, amateurish compression that Ms.Triana inaptly used to remaster this album. And if that wasn't enough, the death blow comes from a huge dose of artificially accentuated treble that turns the sheen of beautiful strings into unlistenable fingernails grating across a chalkboard.

Reading Ms.Triana's credits shows she is way out of her element. High audio compression has become all the rage with the current crop of soulless studio engineers, and Ms. Triana used that approach on this music, which is wholly different than what she is used to remastering. Her bio states that she has "a unique musical sensibility" and "a keen ear for detail." Her "unique musical sensibility" and "keen ear" was most definitely left at home when she "remastered" this album.

A good remastering first "does no harm." And second, allows the beauty of the music to speak for itself, not try to turn it into something it was never meant to be. There is a reason that people have been complaining so much about this CD that amazon has removed it for sale exactly when it should be selling the most: there is no market for Living Stereo that's been murdered.

PS I may be the lone dissenter, so far, but if you buy this audio train wreck, you will hear what I hear.


This sounds more like a beef with Maria Triana than the George Melachrino Christmas Joy Real Gone Music reissue CD. Although both are pretty heavily lambasted! I have yet to listen to my copy in full, but what I did sample sounded fine to my ears. Nothing is glaringly wrong or botched with the reissue as far as I can tell.

Since you worked closely with Gordon Anderson in getting Christmas Joy released on CD, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this matter - especially since it looks like the extremely negative review got the CD pulled from Amazon.com. That will REALLY hurt the sales figures for this album and not bode well for future Christmas LP on CD reissues. That makes me angry! Sigh.

All the best,

Posted on 11/23/2015 12:27

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of the 2012 import CD reissue of Christmas Sing-In by The Gunter Kallmann Choir a few years back. Originally released on vinyl in the early '70s, it's the perfect mix of Now sound-meets-easy listening instrumentation, Ray Conniff Singers/Living Voices-esque vocals, and Christmas cheer both sacred and secular. Christmas Sing-In is truly a unique, feel good Holiday album that's got something for EVERYONE and is way better than I thought it would be! The thing is, it's nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find in the secondhand market on vinyl. The aforementioned 2012 CD is also quite scarce (read: non-existent!). Does anyone also remember/know of this album besides me? Why is it so difficult to track down? Clearly the import CD reissue was popular. I wonder if Gordon at Real Gone Music would ever entertain a proper domestic reissue? I just love this album!

Posted on 06/05/2015 07:31

Yowza!And Bravo, Chip! These are two stellar releases, if a little obscure for the non-Christmas music obsessed general public - who besides us have even heard of these artists? But that's what makes them GREAT! I NEVER thought The Three Suns' A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas would EVER see the light of day on an official, domestic (non-European public domain) CD reissue. What wonderful news to read on a Friday at work! Multiple copies of each release will be arriving at my house come fall 2015!

Posted on 05/28/2015 09:28

The John Gary Christmas Album reissue is, indeed, a GREAT triumph for us Christmas music lovers. I can't believe this is seeing the light of day on legit CD. What an underrated, oft-forgotten vocalist and what a wonderful Christmas LP! Could a CD reissue of The Jack Jones Christmas Album be far behind?

I'm wishin' and hopin' and prayin' that Christmas Favorites by The Hollyridge Strings makes its way back in print on CD one day. It's been a staple of my Holiday celebrations since discovering an LP share of the album almost a decade ago. Even though I own multiple copies of the Collectors' Choice Music reissue, I would buy multiple copies of a Real Gone Music edition, too. The album is just THAT good! LOVE The Hollyridge Strings!

Once more, thanks for your untiring efforts in getting these obscure yet classic Christmas albums reissued on CD, Chip! It seems like Gordon "gets it" and us. Thanks to him, too, for releasing albums no other record label would dare touch. Looks like Christmas 2015 is going to be a dream come true for us Christmas music fans!

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