While our website does not have Mitch Miller’s innovative bouncing ball technology, you can still sing along with the lyrics provided below.
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The Jets were a Minneapolis pop group, who were all members of a Mormon family of Tongan heritage. The group had five singles in Billboard’s top ten during their peak years, but none from their 1986 holiday record, Christmas with the Jets. AllMusic graciously describes the album as “somewhat charming.”
We once had an employee who thought it was time to start playing the Christmas records on November 1st. We’re not sure what the standard cut-off time is, but today seems like as good as any day in December to start posting some of the Christmas records we found over the past year. Here’s a fun one from George Thorogood and the Destroyers.
Hymie’s Records will be open 11am to 3pm on Christmas Eve. We are closing early so we can take our kids to see Star War and we apologize for the inconvenience … but seriously, Star Wars! What could possible be more fun than taking your kids to see Star Wars!
The news that Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen was among the six US service members killed by a terrorist bomber in Afghanistan on Monday really broke our hearts yesterday. Vorderbruggen, who was a Minnesotan and a 1998 graduate from Wayzata High, was nothing short of a hero. In addition to her distinguished career in the Air Force, she was a pioneer in the movement to support GLBT acceptance in the military. Her work with the Military Families and Partners Coalition predates the repeal of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” five years ago.
Our hearts are heavy with sorrow for Major Vorderbruggen’s wife and child, and the rest of her family. As well as for all of those families who have sacrificed in our fight against Islamic terrorism. There are Americans all over the world who would love to be “home for the holidays” (to a place Perry Como described in Monday’s post) and we owe them our deepest thanks.
Historically we have posted musical versions of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, “A Visit from Saint Nick” on Christmas Eve, and we have a few below. We just hoped to reach a few people, and to remind them of the sacrifice our service people are making overseas.
Louis Armstrong read the famous poem in his home on February 26, 1971 as part of a promotion for the Lorillard Cigarette company. Aside from the very rare LP of his performance at the National Press Club (recently reissued by Smithsonian Folkways) it is his last recording. The home in Queens where the recording was made, and where Satchmo passed away that July, is now a museum.
There have been many jazz interpretations of the poem, and we’ve collected our favorites below. The first is by Wynton Marsalis, from his album Crescent City Christmas Card, which we imagine was recorded in part to prove the stuffy and serious trumpeter had a little heart in there somewhere, just like the Grinch. The album’s jazz arrangements of holiday standards are fantastic, and its larger group (a sextet on most numbers) suggested the direction Marsalis would move in the 90s, which included some of his best recordings.
Edd “Kookie” Byrnes was an actor from 77 Sunset Strip, and also had a small role in Grease. His goofy version of A Visit from Saint Nick was titled “Yulesville.”
The Sesame Street album featured in yesterday’s post also included this jazzy reading of the poem by David, the long-running character played by actor Northern Halloway.
This year we were excited to discover a record with this last version of the poem, read by beat poet and jazz vocalist Babs Gonzales. His “Be Bop Santa” is a riot!
Here is a Christmas story that we’ve loved since we were children, and we now enjoy sharing with our children. Watching the original 1978 special, Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, has become a tradition in our home.
Bert and Ernie’s story, told by Mr. Hooper, is very similar to O. Henry’s famous story “Gift of the Magi,” first published in the New York Sunday World in 1905. The gifts in the original story are different, but the message is the same — the Biblical Magi (the “Three Wise Men” we visited earlier this month) are invoked by O. Henry:
The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men – who brought gifts to the new-born King of the Jews in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.
Our little ones are pretty wise themselves. Once again, when asked what they’re looking forward to this holiday, it’s spending the day together as a family first and all the presents second. We couldn’t be more proud of them.
Your friendly neighborhood record shop will be open its regular hours today (11am to 7pm) and short hours tomorrow (11am-3pm). And we know a lot of our regular friends have gift certificates under the tree, so we’ll see ya this weekend!
Season’s Greetings from Perry Como is a favorite in our fairly small collection of Christmas albums. It’s one of the first we play every year. He had first recorded “Home for the Holidays” a few years earlier, but the arrangement on this LP is the one which became a seasonal standard.
We’ve always imagined Christmas at the Como house was pretty awesome, but that’s just based on how awesome he seemed to be.
Even though Perry Como was a huge recording star and had his own television show, he was different from today’s celebrities in that he kept his personal life private. He was seventeen when he met his wife, Roselle, and when she passed away they had been married for sixty-five years. They raised three children together, but kept their family out of the limelight.
“Home for the Holidays” first appeared as a single in 1954, but was re-recorded in stereo for this 1959 Christmas album. The song makes reference to Como’s home state Pennsylvania.
One of the many things we love about Christmas day is that it is one of the handful of days each year when we close the record store, so our family can stay home together. There’s still a few busy day between now and then, and we sure aren’t looking forward to going to the post office tomorrow, but it will be worth the wait.