Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Car Boot Vinyl Diaries

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Car Boot Christmas Countdown 2016 - Day 4

It's already Day 4 of this year's Car Boot Christmas Countdown, and after yesterday's trio of country gents it's time for something completely different.

Budget labels abound at car boot sales and charity shops, and Non-Stop Christmas Disco by The Roller Disco Orchestra is on Pickwick Records, a subsidiary of Pickwick International Inc. (GB) Ltd.

The Roller Disco Orchestra - Non-Stop Christmas Disco (1979)

I know that for some folks the words budget + disco + Christmas = nightmare, but in my world the sheen and glitter of disco go well with the joy and triumph of Christmas music, and are a match made in Greenland.  This two-disc set is all I'd hoped it would be, i.e. funky orchestral disco with the whiff of fromage and a liberal sprinkling of sleigh bells.  I'll let the slightly deranged sleeve notes explain more:
"A chance to whiz round the disco in your own living room!... Could you ever believe you'd be bopping to GOOD KING WENCELAS (sic) or WE THREE KINGS? 
THE ROLLER DISCO ORCHESTRA present 10 tracks to roll into your hearts and leave you steaming on the carpet. Hang on to your mistletoe lovers - this one's guaranteed to keep you floored!

Reissue cover image
The non-stop segued set is a mostly frantic affair aside from Deck The Halls with its reggae beat and fart-along Moog, plus a few chilled grooves like Little Drummer Boy with whispered "rum-pum-pum-pum", and a sort of bump 'n' grind We Three Kings.  It's largely instrumental apart from some occasional breathy vocals as decoration, and has become a firm favourite in the Car Boot Vinyl household, being one of the first records I reach for when December arrives.

It's now available on CD as well as to download or stream. The updated cover art is rather generic, but thankfully the music is untouched and just as batshit.

I picked up The Bells of Christmas by Eddie Dunstedter back in April of this year for a pound.

Eddie Dunstedter - The Bells of Christmas (1959)

American composer and organist Dunstedter was active through the 1930s to the 1960s, and The Bells of Christmas was recorded after he'd already established a career scoring and playing music for TV and film.  This version of the album was reissued in the UK in 1965 by Music For Pleasure.  Eddie presents 18 carols played on a "4-manual, 24-rank organ containing approximately two thousand separate pipes", accompanied by xylophone, glockenspiel, celeste, marimba and vibraharp.

Original US cover art
The sleeve notes claim "Any voice, even the thin wavering tones of a child, can give meaning to Christmas carols; but the majestic voices of a great pipe organ* give them the most fitting expression of all."

It's a curious recording, quite muffled and very slow-paced, except for a brief step up in tempo on second track March of the Three Kings, after which it returns to a ponderous plod for the remainder.  It might be quite good for lowering the blood pressure, but I find it far too samey to maintain my attention, and I'd say it's probably best enjoyed in small doses (and perhaps accompanied by large doses of cherry brandy).

Do swing by the blog tomorrow (Monday the 19th of December) for Day 5 of the Car Boot Christmas Countdown where we'll be going Totally Tijuana!  Until then you can hear me playing tunes from Eddie, The Roller Disco Orchestra and loads more on the 2016 cloudcast; use the player below or click the link to go to Mixcloud.


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