I found a copy of Christmas Country for 50p:
|Various Artists - Christmas Country (1974)|
Released on RCA's budget imprint Camden and distributed in the UK by Pickwick, this 12-track compilation came out in 1974, the year I was born. The gems here come from Charley Pride (Santa & The Kids), Willie Nelson (Pretty Paper) and Chet Atkins' twangy I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day. Props too for pianist Floyd Cramer's excellent rendition of Jingle Bell Rock.
1. Jim Reeves - An Old Christmas Card.
2. Skeeter Davis - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
3. Porter Wagoner - Frosty The Snowman.
4. Chet Atkins - I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.
5. Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper.
6. Hank Snow - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
1. Eddy Arnold - Silent Night.
2. Dottie West - You Are My Christmas Carol.
3. Charley Pride - Santa & The Kids.
4. Floyd Cramer - Jingle Bell Rock.
5. The Browns featuring Ed Brown - Blue Christmas.
6. George Hamilton IV - Natividad.
Another 1970's budget album, this time on Ronco, A Christmas Present cost £1:
|Various Artists - A Christmas Present (1973)|
In typical Ronco style (As Seen On TV!) a total of 22 tracks are squeezed onto this single LP. These are a mixture of easy listening, classical and traditional Christmas songs, highlights including Percy Faith's Carol Of The Bells with his Orchestra & Chorus, another great version of I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day, this time from the inimitable Johnny Cash, and Aretha's cheeky Kissin' By The Mistletoe.
But perhaps the best thing about this record is the sleeve. Not the rather drab cover photo, but the wonderful pop-up model of Santa's North Pole that hides inside the gatefold, still in fantastic condition 41 years later:
Although possibly not for much longer:
|Dottie has escaped and is terrorising the village|
1. New York Philharmonic - The Twelve Days Of Christmas.
2. Anita Bryant - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.
3. The Ray Coniff Singers - Greensleeves (What Child Is This).
4. Julie Andrews - Silent Night, Holy Night.
5. Peter Nero - Ave Maria.
6. Jim Nabors - O Little Town Of Bethlehem.
7. Mahalia Jackson - Joy To The World.
8. The Brothers Four - The Little Drummer Boy.
9. Robert Goulet - God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.
10.John Davidson - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
11.The Mormon Tabernacle Choir - The Hallelujah Chorus from Handell's Messiah.
1. Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme - Winter Wonderland.
2. Tony Bennett - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).
3. Patti Page - Jingle Bells.
4. Percy Faith, His Orchestra & Chorus - Carol Of The Bells.
5. Mitch Miller & The Gang - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
6. Johnny Mathis - White Christmas.
7. Andre Kostelanetz with The St. Kilian Boychoir - We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
8. Doris Day - Toyland.
9. Johnny Cash - I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.
10.Aretha Franklin - Kissin' By The Mistletoe.
11.The New Christie Minstrels - Sleigh Ride.
Ronco produced a similar album the following year called A Christmas Gift, a 20-track collection this time featuring a pop-up nativity scene: http://www.discogs.com/Various-A-Christmas-Gift/release/1615472
In both cases Ronco made a special Christmas donation to the Save The Children Fund.
Be sure to pop back tomorrow (Weds 17th Dec) for a couple of Yuletide instrumental belters.
You can hear me playing my favourite picks from all my Christmas vinyl finds on the Car Boot Christmas Special 2014. Listen to the show with the widget below or click the link to go to the cloudcast page.