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rsteven
http://forum1.aimoo.com/theyulelog
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From: USA
Joined: 07/05/2015


Posted on 02/06/2018 23:59


Hello Chip,

Yes indeed, cheers to Real Gone Music and their belief and success in the CD format. The death of the CD has been greatly exaggerated for many years as consumers simply get their music in a number of different ways, but according to Billboard Magazine, the Bible of the recording industry, the CD format is still the number one way consumers purchase albums across the spectrum. Almost half a billion dollars in revenue on almost 100 million physical sales in 2017 are not small numbers.

Yes, the young whippersnappers  tend to stream, but I remember when the industry thought digital downloads were going to be the future salvation of the industry. The good news is that the large labels, including most recently Sony Music, are reporting large profits again because of their diversified income and their death was greatly predicted several years ago. 

I think the demand for CD's will remain with a dedicated, but significant fan base and there will always be people that want a physical product with artwork and liner notes for their very favorite artists and albums. The resurgence of vinyl, though I think is close to reaching its apex, has demonstrated that in spades. I think CD's will eventually be perceived like vinyl is today as a superior audio format that is sought out by dedicated collectors in surprisingly significant numbers even though the market will be greatly fragmented with streaming and possibly a new a new digital format that we cannot even predict what form it will take.

Best regards,

Steve




Posted on 01/10/2018 00:12


Chip, 

It is my absolute privilege and honor to promote the great maestro, Percy Faith, and his iconic Christmas album, Music Of Christmas, as well as your fantastic liner notes for this historic release by Real Gone Music. We have all waited so long for this masterpiece to get released on CD properly and the fact that it got done in such grand fashion with such beautiful artwork, absolutely stellar remastering by Mr. Vic Anesini and with your splendid liner notes was beyond our wildest expectations.

It has been such a thrill and pleasure to share this special release by Percy with family and friends. The manager at my bank is going through some serious health issues with her eldest adult son and she is a very sweet person and a true professional when it comes to her job. I brought her a copy of Music Of Christmas after finding out that she loves Christmas music. I told her about your key role in getting this the greatest of all Christmas albums released and how Vic Anesini, who has been in charge of remastering Elvis Presley's catalogue of albums the last several decades, did such an amazing job restoring this album to its true sonic glory.

She told me that she had a long drive to a nearby city during the holidays and she played Percy's Music Of Christmas the whole way there and back and it gave her great pleasure and comfort during such a difficult time for the family. Her son is hanging in there, but it has been tough. I know another board member has mentioned a similar experience for himself and how soothing and comforting Mr. Faith's Christmas album is to him as well.

I know you are acutely aware of the healing and soothing powers of music and particularly Percy's Music Of Christmas. I hope that Gordon Anderson at Real Gone Music realizes how important and significant his Christmas releases are to the fans who buy these great albums. I hope like you and Mr. Anesini feel that it is a "true labor of love" for him as well.

Best regards,

Steve





Posted on 01/09/2018 01:29


Hello Chip,

That is such a great comparison you make between the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Golden Age of Christmas music in the 1950's and 1960's. My father was a television director for a period of time before the family got in the radio business and he and my mother would always talk about the old Hollywood system whereby the studios would nurture the stars and train and educate them in multiple skills like singing and dancing as well as acting. The writing was so incredible and the directors were not the slaves to CGI and computers like they are now.

Yes indeed, I remember back many years ago when I use to get really excited about the latest country music or pop Christmas album coming out, and now even though I do buy some of those albums, my real excitement and joy is finding out what absolute gems from the Golden Age of Christmas you are going to get released through Real Gone Music. Everything from this truly iconic time is better; bigger orchestra's, almost always far better voices and more natural sound. The new millennium just cannot hold a candle to the albums released during the Golden Age of Christmas.

In particular, I think the quote I borrow most from you when trying to describe the great Percy's Faith's magnum opus, Music Of Christmas, is where you say it sounds like his music is "piped down from heaven" and that it has a "heavenly, celestial" feel to it. As you so well say, its hard to put the beauty and passion of Percy's music into mere words but you articulate it better than anybody and I really treasure those liner notes you wrote for the Expanded Music Of Christmas release for RGM. I tell all my friends to read your liner notes first before they actually listen to the album.

I feel the same way about this Golden Age of Christmas. It just seems magical and unmatchable no matter how hard anybody tries. I thank God that you and Gordon have rescued this iconic music from being lost forever!

Best regards,

Steve




Posted on 01/08/2018 15:09


Hello Chip,

This was such a great question proposed by Tom and one that I have been curious about myself. Do any albums released after the Golden Age of Christmas qualify to make your top 300 or 500 list? You have pretty much answered that question, but let me say that I for one find the fact that your list almost exclusively concentrates on the Golden Age Of Christmas during the 1950's till the early seventies to be one of its best qualities, but like yourself Chip, I would hate to rule a great album out just because it was not recorded in that very iconic time period.

There is just something totally special and sonically unique about these albums. I do not think our love for them is merely for nostalgic reasons as I know many of these albums that I came to love, in fact most, were not albums that I grew up listening to as a youngster. Oh sure, there is a component of that as I grew up listening to Johnny Mathis Merry Christmas album and that of course brings back great memories and feelings of long ago, but I did not grow up on Mantovani, John Gary and of course the Maestro himself's masterpiece, Music Of Christmas and its spectacular follow-up, Hallelujah, yet these are some of the albums that I treasure the most. Yes indeed, surely Percy's great arranging on the Mathis album was burned into my brain early, but clearly I have sought out other albums by Frank DeVol, Jack Jones, and the Hollyridge Strings that I had no real prior experience listening to as a child.

I read a brilliant analysis by someone who speculated that part of the splendor of these albums is the way they were recorded themselves. He said that instead of the microphones being placed individually on each instrument, one microphone was on each section of the orchestra, like one for the saxes and one for the trombones and one for the violins etc. He said the sound you got by recording this way was a beautiful blend where one instrument might slightly stand out or disappear altogether, but it was richer and more like the natural sound you would hear if you were in front of the orchestra live.  A truly brilliant analysis of one of the many reasons that these fantastic albums from the Golden Age cannot be matched by modern recording engineers in my humble opinion.

Now having said the above and strongly believing that music geniuses like Percy and Monty only come along once in a lifetime or so I am going to go out on another limb and admit there are several albums that fall well outside the Golden Age Of Christmas that I think are splendid examples of having some of the great components that these albums had, great sound, great arrangers and truly great vocalists.

The first one is Michael Bublè's Christmas album from 2011, the only album in the history of the Billboard album chart to make the top ten every year for seven years in a row since its release. It is now sold almost 12 million copies worldwide and more importantly than its commercial prowess is the fact that it was cut "live on the floor" at the Capital Records Tower in Hollywood with the singer, rhythm section, orchestra and arranger all there in person at once, something that is almost never done anymore. Secondly, great arrangers like Patrick Williams, William Ross, and Chris Walden, who have worked with people like Frank Sinatra, Barbara Streisand, and Herb Alpert respectively, produced great arrangements harkening back to the Golden Age of Christmas. Just listen to Mr. Walden's fantastic brass charts on Jingle Bells with the Puppini Sisters doing their very best to spur on Mr. Bublè to do his best version of Bing's classic arrangement. Terrific stuff.

The second more "modern" classic, and God I hate to even use that word, would be Kenny Rogers Christmas album from 1981. The truly fantastic arranger Gene Page, who did both the iconic string and horn arrangements on You've Lost That Loving Feeling by the Righteous Brothers as well as Kenny Rogers own number one, Lady, is known for his intricate arranging style with strings and particularly French horns. People often forget that Kenny was once a well regarded jazz singer with a three octave vocal range and his version of O Holy Night shows his voice off to amazing effect with Mr. Page's truly stellar orchestral arrangement. There are a couple fantastic original songs on this classic album as well, Christmas Everyday, which is a beautifully written and melodically gorgeous song that you will have on repeat once you hear it. Kentucky Homemade Christmas is a sad song with a slightly upbeat melody that ends on a slightly hopeful note. Best country Christmas song since Merle Haggard's If We Make It Through December.

The last album is really a hidden gem from one of country music's best vocalists, Collin Raye. The Gift also features a 60 piece orchestra and was also recorded "live on the floor" in Nashville with the great piano player, John Hobbs producing and the brilliant arranger, Ron Huff, doing much of the orchestral work. His version of White Christmas features the seldom recorded opening verse about "being in Beverly Hills L.A." I love that opening verse and wish that more artists would include it in their respective versions of Irving Berlin's masterpiece. He has a couple of beautiful duets with his daughter on Away In A Manger and Silent Night, but the true highlights are a stellar vocal and separate instrumental version of The First Noel and one of the greatest versions of O Holy Night I have ever heard. I believe that only Johnny Mathis's iconic version with the great Percy Faith arrangement equals or surpasses this magnificent and glorious version by Collin Raye!

Please let me know what you think, Chip, as your taste and opinion on all such matters is always impeccable and without question.

Best regards,

Steve











Posted on 01/03/2018 10:58


Hello Chip,

Thanks so much for sharing with the board your incredible knowledge and insight into the legendary Percy Faith and his magnificent Music Of Christmas album. My first exposure to Mr. faith's brilliance was with Johnny Mathis's Merry Christmas album, which I still believe without a doubt is the greatest vocal Christmas album with orchestra ever recorded as that is the one my parents worshipped and the one I grew up listening to along with the John Klein album.

The thing that always struck me about Johnny's Merry Christmas album, besides his fantastic voice and vocal range as well as the stellar arrangements of the strings by Percy, was the fact that sonically the album was so incredibly recorded and the sound so pristine. I could never understand why the sound on that album was so unique and rich until I started learning about the importance of recording engineers and particular recording studios like 30th St. in New York.

I learned of course as a huge Elvis fan the importance of certain recording studios, like Studio B in Nashville, and the fact that they had a certain signature sound and great engineers like Bill Porter that made their records really stand out for their sonic beauty. The Tower Recording Studio at Capital Records in Hollywood is another great one with its signature reverb chambers built below the building and designed by Les Paul I believe. Of course as we all know, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra made some of their greatest recordings at that facility.

Percy was such a musical genius as well as a very smart man to know that "Chappie" was a very important element of his great sound. As a huge Roy Orbison fan I have learned that many music historians trace his rather sharp decline in record sells after the middle sixties to his new record contract that left both his producer, the great Fred Foster, and Fred's fantastic engineer, the previously mentioned Bill Porter, out of the recording process. Many experts say that Roy recorded some great songs after this period with even some of the same musicians, but his signature sound with Bill Porter's great engineering and Foster's stellar production was lost.

Best regards,

Steve



Posted on 01/02/2018 12:49


Hello Chip,

I am very excited at the prospect of "The Harry Simeone Lost Christmas Album" by Real Gone Music for 2018. Hopefully you can tract down those master recordings, but I am sure it will not be an easy task.

Meanwhile, I am still basking in the glory of your iconic releases for this year, particularly that glorious release of Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas Expanded Edition with the maestro himself's brilliant use of counter melody and Mr. Vic Anesini's phenomenal remastering of this masterpiece. I have well over 100 albums that Mr. Anesini has remastered including some deluxe box sets by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Ronnie Milsap and I have got to tell you that his remaster of Music Of Christmas is my favorite one he has ever done.

I know Chip that you and Vic would be the first to acknowledge Percy's favorite recording engineer, Harold "Chappie" Chapman, who did such a fantastic job as the original recording engineer on that magnum opus by Mr. Faith if I am correct. I know this was part of the frustration with that original lousy remaster by Sony in the early eighties was the fact that the original vinyl recording was a sonic splendor to behold as Columbia was known for their great recording facility in New York and their fine recording engineers like Chappie.

A question for you Chip that I have never been able to verify but assumed was true. Did Chappie also engineer that great Merry Christmas album by Johnny Mathis with the magnificent Percy Faith arrangements too? The sound on that album is fantastic, particularly on that great remaster by Vic's associate at Sony Battery, Mike Piacentini for the fantastic Complete Christmas Album Collection that RGM did a few years ago and for Johnny's current The Voice Of Romance box set this year. I read a quote from Mr. Mathis where he said that the 30th Street Studio where he cut that album and many others had a fantastic recording quality and reverb that he could never find anywhere else when he recorded at other studios later in his career.

Again, the fantastic RGM releases that you got out this year including Percy, Fred Waring, Connie Smith, Robert Shaw, Ames Brothers and the Supremes have just made me so excited for the 2018 Christmas releases. Wow, we might get Jim Reeves, Harry Simeone and that great John Klein A Christmas Sound Spectacular album in Living Stereo for the very first time on CD. I am sure you will have a few more gems up your sleeve as well as you always seem to surprise us with something we did not even see coming.

Happy New Year, Chip, and thanks again for all you do to get the greatest music ever recorded back out to us in such splendid and glorious fashion!

Best regards,

Steve




Posted on 11/30/2017 18:52


Hello Chip,

Wow, I noticed today that Percy Faith's glorious Expanded Edition of Music Of Christmas is listed on Amazon as "temporarily out of stock" and Real Gone Music has it listed as "sold out" on their site. I hope that more copies are on the way, but I've got to say the interest on Christmas in general this year and this amazing remaster by Vic Anesini has been extraordinary. It seems like most people on our block have their Christmas trees up already.

I have also dealt with a tremendous amount of questions and excitement on sound engineer Steve Hoffman's website, particularly when I reignited on old thread called "Favorite Christmas albums" and I put Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas at the top of the list along with The Complete Music of Christmas with the great Hallelujah album that RGM put out a few years ago.

In fact, my list of favorite Christmas albums was dominated by RGM versions of my favorite albums including Mantovani, Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones, John Gary and Frank DeVol among others. What surprised me was the interest in hearing about the new Percy remaster by Vic of Music Of Christmas and why the old one was so terrible. I did my best to explain the issues involved and of course Vic himself is very well known on that site for his great work on Elvis's music library over the years so I think that generated a whole new interest with some people that might not have been predisposed to normally purchasing Christmas instrumental music from this era. I tried my best to further explain the extraordinary work that Mr. Anesini had done on this album as compared to the old 80's remaster, yet at the same time I referred to you, Chip, as "knowing more about this Golden Age Of Christmas music than I will ever learn in a lifetime."  So you have probably gained some new members or it least some new viewers on my account.

Speaking of "new" fans of Percy's masterpiece, Music Of Christmas, my 31 year old daughter called the other day from her car while her husband was driving and said, "Hey Dad, guess what I'm listening to right now?" I said, "That sounds like Percy Faith" and she replied, "You know, Dad, I have never really cared for instrumental music without vocals, but this is the most beautiful music I have ever heard."  I was very proud of her taste in music at that point and realized that Percy's music is now touching a completely new generation of fans with this amazing release by RGM, thanks in large part to your efforts, Chip.

Best regards,

Steve









Posted on 11/16/2017 19:39



Hello Chip and Peter,

It is such a thrill and honor that Chip has made it possible for me to be involved with the possible release of this iconic album and its splendid follow-up by John Klein through Real Gone Music. I have loved A Christmas Sound Spectacular dearly as it was my father's go to record at Christmas time along with the great Johnny Mathis Merry Christmas album with the great Percy Faith arrangements. Peter, you are so correct about the mono version of this amazingly beautiful album being so inferior to the Living Stereo version. Chip and I have had more than one conversation about why Schulmerich Bells would go to the trouble of securing a release of this iconic album on CD only to get the mono version instead of that great Living Stereo LP.

I really noticed the difference when I played the Living Stereo version of A Christmas Sound Spectacular as posted on YouTube on my laptop Apple computer and it sounded far superior than the mono version that I played on my high end stereo system with B & W speakers. That great orchestra with the Carillon Americana and its almost 1500 bells is a sonic masterpiece when heard in stereo, but really loses some magnificence when transferred in its mono version.

I want to personally thank Chip and Gordon Anderson of Real Gone Music again for trying to get this project done this year and hopefully, God willing, it will happen next year. These two gentlemen have brightened our lives so greatly with the great Golden Age of Christmas music that they have managed to get released on CD over the last few years. Without their dedication and tremendous effort we would not have that absolutely glorious Vic Anesini remastered classic from Percy Faith, Music Of Christmas, Mantovani's fantastic Christmas Carols album and of course that amazing twofer by Fred Waring featuring his iconic classic with the Norman Rockwell cover, Twas the Night Before Christmas, and so many other albums too numerous to mention. 

Best regards,

Steve


Posted on 11/11/2017 11:08



Hello Rich, 

Though I'm not familiar with that radio station, I admire the great choice of songs on their playlist of course many ones in common with the classic YuleLog repertoire. What struck me is a couple more "modern" hidden gems from the early 1980's from Kenny Rogers great multi-platinum selling Christmas album from 1981 produced by Kenny himself with the great arranger Gene Page conducting the awesome orchestra. He was known for his great work with the Righteous Brothers and Barbra Streisand among many others. He was famous for his beautiful string and intricate horn arrangements.

Kenny has several great albums, but this one featuring Christmas Everyday, which is one of the most gorgeous original Christmas songs in the last 30 or forty years, is a real treat. Yes, he has that gravel voice, but he was also originally a jazz singer with a nearly three octave range that aided him greatly in his stellar version of O Holy Night from that same great Christmas album.

Best regards,

Steve



Posted on 11/11/2017 10:49



Hello Rich,

I have both versions of this masterpiece by Mantovani, and I believe that Chip in a previous post a while back verified that the same exact remaster was used by Collectors Choice and Real Gone Music for both releases. Remember that Collector's Choice was Gordon Anderson's old company before he started Real Gone Music. By the way, the remastering is beautiful on this classic.  If you were lucky enough to purchase RGM's new expanded version of Music Of Christmas and appreciate the fantastic and magnificent remaster that Vic Anesini did with that one by the one and only Percy Faith, you will love this indispensable classic.

Now the artwork is slightly different as the RGM 2016 version is superior and more accurately reflects the original London Stereophonic labeling across the top of the front of the cover and it has the FFSS labeling on the CD itself and it also fixed the color of the Christmas bulb with the angel from red to the original gold as seen on the front cover as well. Small details, but to serious collectors like Chip and I, important ones.

I hope this helps, either way you can't go wrong, but I prefer the newer version from RGM.

Best regards,

Steve


Posted on 11/05/2017 17:17


Hello Chip and Everyone,

Well, the Christmas tree is going up early this year in direct tribute to receiving Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas masterpiece on Friday and the rest of the Real Gone Music slate.  We usually put the tree up a couple of days before Thanksgiving, but with these iconic releases by Percy, Fred Waring and the rest of the gang, my gal and I decided the tree was going up early to commemorate and celebrate the historic occasion.

I have already played the Percy release three times and it just gets better every time, but I need to comment on a couple of the other fantastic releases. The Fred Waring twofer is a thrill for me as I was not particularly familiar with it until reading the YuleLog site a few years ago and seeing how high you ranked it on your top 500 list.  I of course scanned the internet to hear excerpts and it piqued my interest.

Wow, that man was way ahead of his time in so many ways. Let me first say that for a 1955 mono album the remaster is pretty damn amazing! This album features some absolutely amazing voices, how about that angelic soprano on O Holy Night, and the harmonies, orchestral flourishes and musicality of the entire music ensemble is breathtaking. And can I say again that the artwork on this iconic album is worth the price alone even if the music inside was not as magnificent as it is to hear.

Just got through listening to the great Connie Smith Christmas album and although it does not feature an orchestra accompanying her one of a kind voice, it does feature some of the greatest musicians to ever grace a Nashville recording studio, such as blind piano legend Hargus "Pig" Robbins, who has played on so many historical records by Patsy Cline, Roger Miller and Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors' single and album, among many others. A truly inspiring set of traditionally delivered Christmas songs.

Just started playing the Robert Shaw Christmas Hymns and Carols CD and its gorgeous as well and a great follow up to the stereo version of the one that was released last year. Again, great artwork on this album and the Ames Brothers album.  I have not gotten around yet to listening to the Supremes Ultimate Merry Christmas CD collection, but the trifold cover art is beautiful and the booklet is amazing with glorious cover photos and great liner notes.

My congratulations to Chip and Gordon Anderson for making these sonic masterpieces available to us and in a way that they never have been before.  I highly recommend all six of these amazing and beautiful releases, but the Percy and Fred CD's are a must for any true Christmas collection.

Best regards to all,

Steve



Posted on 11/03/2017 20:47


Hello Chip and Tom,

What a great idea you have Tom for Chip to interview Mr. Anesini with regard to the remastering of Music Of Christmas and the process he went through to get that iconic album restored in such a grand fashion. It would be most insightful and historic to hear Mr. Arcuri interview and document some of the technical issues that confronted Vic with trying to restore an original master recording that was almost 60 years old.

Steve




Posted on 11/03/2017 15:30


Hello Chip,

Let me start out by saying what you already know Chip, Vic Anesini's remaster of Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas is nothing less than sheer perfection. My hands were actually shaking a little bit when I put that CD into the player. Maybe it would not match my almost ridiculous expectations having waited so long with the rest of us for a proper remaster of the Holy Grail of all Christmas albums.  Once we heard Vic was placed in charge of this masterpiece, the man responsible for restoring Elvis's catalogue back to sonic glory in the last decade, my expectations got even higher.

All I can say flatly is that this is the richest and warmest sounding CD from this time period I have ever heard. It sounds like you are listening to a virgin vinyl album without any distortion and yet with true dynamic range. I am hearing some instruments I have never heard or in a clarity that has never been revealed before. We all know the previous CD version of this album from the 1980's was poorly remastered to say the least. Highs and lows were muffled and some instruments were actually chopped off such as board member Johnny has noted on Percy's marvelous version of Good King Wenceslas with the snare drum at the beginning.

The violins are soaring, the bells ring out brilliantly and the percussive instruments are revealed in their true sonic glory.  May I add that your bonus songs are fantastic and give us almost a whole hour of heavenly music from beginning to end.  The liner notes you have contributed to this legacy project are magnificent as well and I love your informative essay on Percy and particularly his work on the Johnny Mathis Merry Christmas album which is equally heavenly in its own way in no small part to Mr. Faith's stellar arrangements.

The artwork for this CD is fantastic as well, I love the original poinsettia yellow album cover and the way Real Gone Music continued that color scheme to the back cover and used the iconic Stereo Fidelity Columbia Eye logo on the front and back top covers.

Chip, your tenaciousness and perseverance in getting this album remastered properly and back out to the public is to be truly commended.  A lesser man would have surely walked away in frustration after so many years and just said, "The hell with it, let them just sit on their old terrible remaster and make their money!" Fortunately for all the Christmas music lovers of the world, you persisted year after year until you wore them down.  A heartfelt thank you from all of us whom have waited so long with you for this day.

Best regards,

Steve







Posted on 10/31/2017 21:36



Hello Chip,

I just received the new Dean Martin Christmas album through Sony Music today and I immediately did a direct sound comparison with the Bear Family Box set version of the same Christmas songs that are included on the album.  I particularly concentrated on three songs going back and forth between them several times and I have to say that the songs on the Bear Family box set were easily superior sonically. The three songs were Marshmallow World, Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bells.

The songs on the Bear Family box set were warmer, richer sounding and the orchestra seemed to almost be in the room with me, while the Sony disc seemed tinny, thin and slightly less warm.  I totally agree with your theory that there is no way that Sony Battery did a new  remaster for this reissue with its cheap single album cover and no liner notes. This is not the way a legendary Christmas album by a legendary artist like Dean Martin should be reissued as we have both previously discussed.

I hope you will be able to verify this at some point and I hope that Sony Music in the future will cede these great and iconic album reissues over to Real Gone Music as it greatly benefits the legacy and ultimately sales success of these amazing albums from the Golden Age of Christmas Music.

Best regards,

Steve


Posted on 10/29/2017 03:12


Hello Chip,

Great news that the YuleLog Broadcast is available as a streaming program on the internet.  I just love your programing of songs and the choices you make with regard to the Golden Age of Christmas music. Great variety and I can tell a lot of work went into the selection of the different artists, styles and tempos that you chose. Most people have no idea the amount of thought and time that goes into this type of effort.  Wow, 5 hours of programming now!

Yes, Chip, I am very curious about Dino's Christmas album now and Sony's "Budget" release of this iconic album.  I would love to know if you find out whether Sony really took the time to get this properly remastered at Sony Battery Studios or just grabbed some old digital transfer that they already had in their vault or got from Reprise when they did the swap or whatever it was when they took over Dino's Reprise catalogue from Universal Music.

We are so lucky on this board to have someone like you that is so connected with the players involved in this fascinating, but sometimes baffling recording industry, who might actually be able to get to the bottom of this issue.

My Dean Martin Christmas album arrives Tuesday and I will let you know how I feel about the remaster.  I'm starting to feel like its going to be a letdown, but please let us know if you find out anything definitive.

Most importantly, I cannot agree with you more about the three major labels and their seemingly inability to get these iconic albums re-released in the stellar and magnificent way that Real Gone Music always seems to be able to do.  I now get depressed when I see a great Christmas album being released from the past and I don't see Real Gone's name connected with it.  It invariably ends up being a disappointment.  Why can't these labels just realize that you and Real Gone are now the recognized leaders of the world in the formatting and packaging of these historical Christmas albums.  As I have said before, they should have you and Gordon on speed dial!

Best regards, Always,

Steve







Posted on 10/29/2017 00:19



Hello Rich and Chip,

That is a bummer to hear regarding the sound quality of the new Dean Martin Christmas album remaster by Sony Music considering that we have such a great previous history with Dino's iconic Winter Romance album release on CD by both Capital and Collectors Choice music labels, both of whom did a masterful job with their stellar releases in 1989 and 2005 respectively.  I'm particularly familiar with the Capital version of that great album and it is a gem with regard to the sound quality and bonus song choice.

I will be receiving my copy of the new release of the Dean Martin Christmas album on Tuesday and I will be able to compare the new remastering by Sony with the fantastic job that Bear Family Records did with Dino's Lay A Little Happiness On Me box set that includes the entire Christmas album from 1966, unfortunately with Marshmallow World placed out of order from the rest of the Christmas album as it was recorded at a different session or time and Bear Family often puts their sequencing of songs by order of recording date and not by what album it was attached to originally.

I will report back to you both on what my ears tell me as far as the sound being compared favorably or not with the remaster in the Bear family box set and the overall quality in general. I will try not to speculate on who did the remastering as it is apparently uncredited and there is no way to pin that down one way or the other, but I sill say this for the record. 

If the remastering of the Dean Martin Christmas album by Sony Music is anything less than stellar, than it is highly unlikely if not impossible, that Vic Anesini had anything directly to do with the remastering of this album. We also need to keep in mind that no remastering engineer on earth can turn an inferior or second generation master recording tape that has been damaged or degraded to such a point that it is no longer really a master recording at all, and make it sound fantastic. Remastering engineers like Mr Anesini or Maria Triana at Battery Studios in New York are highly admired for their amazing ears, skills and talent, but they are also at the mercy of the skill and talent of the original engineers that were at the original session when these iconic albums were first recorded.

Best regards,

Steve


Posted on 10/27/2017 23:31


Hello Chip,

Yes indeed, I call that a missed opportunity by Sony to get that Dino album into Real Gone's hands as I know you and Gordon would have made it a stellar release.  Thank God, they finally turned loose of Percy's masterpiece, Music Of Christmas, and put it in Real Gone's hands.  We are really very lucky that after all these years you and Gordon managed to snatch that gem up and we are actually getting a full album cover release and a glorious remaster by Mr. Anesini. I cannot even imagine of another budget line release of Music Of Christmas like they are doing with the Dino Christmas album.  I will buy that too just to get the album cover flawed as it is.  Here's praying that Vic did actually do the uncredited remastering for the new release.  Joe Marchese and I both think thats a good possibility, but only hearing the actual cd in a few days when I get it could I even make an educated guess. 

It is such a thrill to get the new Percy release to go along with the previous two-fer with his equally splendid Hallelujah masterpiece that you guys got released a couple of years ago. If you add Montavani's Christmas Carols album and Johnny Mathis's Merry Christmas album arranged by Percy Faith, I believe you could survive on a dessert island and never tire of the awesome beauty of these albums. Wow, thats four albums for the ultimate Christmas collection so if I had to pick one more indispensable Christmas album, it would probably be Nat King Cole's The Christmas Song album with the iconic title cut and my favorite vocal version of O Tannenbaum with that great brass arrangement by Ralph Carmichael.

Okay, it would be hard to leave Elvis, Andy and Jack Jones behind, and oh shoot, what about Bing and Frank DeVol, and John Gary and that Michael Bublé guy, who sounds like he was born in the wrong century. What about the great gal singers too, Kate Smith, Brenda Lee, Lorrie Morgan and Pattie Page, who my Aunt Helen helped early in her career while being the first female GM and owner of a television station in the United States.

God, I truly love this beautiful Christmas music that you, Chip, have promoted, protected, and brought forth for the next generation to enjoy and pass down once again.  Would not have been possible without your efforts and big congratulations on Your Fifth hour of the YuleLog broadcast. I am on satellite out here in Oregon and I am still trying to figure out if Dish will broadcast it out here somehow.

Best regards,

Steve






Posted on 10/26/2017 16:22



Hello Chip,

The anticipation for Friday, November 3, when Real Gone Music releases their most historically iconic albums yet from the Golden Age of Christmas, is starting to really hit me. I have ordered their entire slate of releases, some in multiple numbers, but to say that Percy Faith's Music Of Christmas is the standout is like saying the Hope Diamond is a rather large diamond. It does not begin to describe the importance and beauty of getting this iconic album in remastered fashion by the legendary Vic Anesini, known for the incredible remastering job he has done on Elvis Presley's priceless music catalogue over the last decade or so.

Of course, getting the Fred Waring twofer Decca Christmas album collection would have been the absolute highlight of any other year, particularly with that great Norman Rockwell album cover from "Twas The Night Before Christmas," but this was an unusual year after so many years of waiting for a proper remaster of the Percy album.  The rest of the Real Gone slate is pretty amazing as well, with the Connie Smith Christmas album getting its first release ever on cd being a real highlight too.

This brings me to the release by Sony Music of the Dean Martin Christmas album which apparently has became available recently for the first time with its original front and back cover.  Joe Marchese of the Second Disc site notes properly that the front and back covers are aproximate replicas of the original vinyl covers. Sony for some reason decided to cut off part of Dean's hair at the top and not include the reprise label and stereo heading near the top of the album.  Perhaps the omission of the Reprise label is understandable given Sony's unusual acquisition of Dean's Reprise material through the Dean Martin Family Trust, but why they couldn't get the front cover shown completely is another question. They did more or less use the actual back cover of the original vinyl album, but alas no liner notes or booklet included according to Mr. Marchese.

I have huge respect for Sony Music and I am grateful that they finally let Real Gone Music take hold of the Percy Faith album for a proper remaster with bonus songs, but I wish that rather than do a budget line release of the great Dean Martin Christmas album themselves, they would have secured an agreement with Real Gone Music to do this in their usual uncompromising fashion.  The only really good news about this budget release by Sony is that appears it may have been remastered by Vic himself as he was put in charge of some or all of the Dean Martin catalogue when they secured the rights for digital release of his other Reprise albums, this according to Mr. Marchese as well. Since apparently there are no liner notes with this release we have no real confirmation one way or the other except to listen with our own ears.

Best regards,

Steve









Posted on 10/14/2017 12:22


Anthony,

Yes, indeed that is the one and only cover of the John Klein album with the Santa behind the red curtain with the presents.  That's a funny story about you being scared of the album cover.  Its funny how things like that can make such an impression on us when we were kids.

Yes, I too have three daughters all in their twenties with one in her early 30's and they all have the Johnny Mathis Christmas album and a mono version of the John Klein album in their collection.  They all are excited about the Percy Faith album as well and each will be receiving a copy from me when it comes out in November. My eldest daughter is a huge fan of Frank Sinatra as well so we keep that fire burning as well.  She is also the one that will not let us open any presents until the Johnny Mathis album is playing on the Stereo.

My daughters are fully aware of the giant contribution that Chip has made to the preservation of this iconic music that I think would have just about disappeared completely without the singular efforts of Mr. Arcuri and his good friend Gordon Anderson.  We are all lucky to have them in our world!

Best regards,

Steve




Posted on 10/14/2017 09:32




Anthony,

Let me too express my most sincere condolences for the passing of your father as well.  Your story of your grandfather's passing as referenced in the stories of the YuleLog that Chip sited touched me deeply.

My father too had an absolutely indelible mark on my Christmas music preferences to this day.  His two favorite go to Christmas albums were Johnny Mathis's Merry Christmas and John Klein's A Christmas Sound Spectacular, which features a great orchestra along with the worlds largest Carillon bell system that features almost 1500 perfectly tuned bronze bells.  Of course that Johnny Mathis album featured the amazing and heavenly arrangements of the one and only Percy Faith, which would eventually lead me on my own to discovering his equally spellbinding Music Of Christmas, which of course is finally getting released in remastered glory thanks to our host, Mr. Lawrence "Chip" Arcuri.

My very best to you and your family this upcoming holiday season. 


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