More X-Mas In Black & White
The first Christmas in Black & White retro mix was quite popular (if not so much in numbers of comments than in numbers of downloads). So here is a second volume, as promised. The oldest song here is Paul Whiteman’s Christmas Night In Harlem from 1934 (more of which shortly), followed closely by Tommy Dorsey’s early cover of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, from 1935. The youngest track on the mix is Dean Martin’s A Marshmallow World, which even in 1966 must have sounded a little dated. The best song must be Art Carney’s Santa And The Doodle-li-boop.
Whiteman’s Christmas Night In Harlem is a bit dodgy. It includes some racial stereotyping we would rightly object to today. Louis Armstrong in the ’50s recorded a cleaned-up version of it later, as did Ramsey Lewis. So let it be clearly noted that I do not endorse racial stereotyping, even if it was unremarkable in the 1930s. Even so, it is a song of historical value. Whiteman was one of the big bandleaders of the time, but is rather forgotten now. And yet, Duke Ellington described Whiteman as “The king of Jazz”, a title Ellington has some claim to himself (provided we crown Armstrng the emperor). Singing with Whiteman’s band here are Johnny Mercer, the great Tin Pan Alley alumnus, and trombonist and singer Jack Teagarden. It includes an early usage of the word “dog” (today spelled “dawg”, I believe) as a form of address.
Another remarkable jazz record is Slam Stewart’s take on Jingle Bells; the annoying old chestnut becomes a rather good tune in Stewart’s bass-playing hands.
Fans of originals will appreciate Spike Jones’ 1948 recording of All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth), with the vocals by his band’s trumpeter, George Rock, then 29. The song had been written in 1944 by second-grade music teacher Donald Yetter Gardner after surveying the dental state of his pupils.
The collection ends on a note of bah humbug, with Paddy Roberts voicing some misgivings in 1962 which give lie to the notion that the crass commercialism of Christmas is a recent phenomenon. Of course it isn’t. As we saw on the first mix, Red Foley demanded already in 1953 that Christ be put back into Christmas.
As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and I have banged together another front and back cover, with Norman Rockwell art, for those who have use for them (does anybody though?).
1. Andy Williams – Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season (1963)
2. Frank Sinatra – The Christmas Waltz (1957)
3. Dean Martin – A Marshmallow World (1966)
4. Gene Autry – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949)
5. Art Carney – Santa And The Doodle-li-boop (1954)
6. Nat ‘King’ Cole – Caroling, Caroling (1963)
7. Margaret Whiting & Jimmy Wakely – Silver Bells (1950)
8. Doris Day – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1964)
9. Bing Crosby – God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (1942)
10. Slam Stewart Quartet – Jingle Bells (1945)
11. Frankie Laine – You’re All I Want For Christmas (1948)
12. Eddie Cantor – The Only Thing I Want For Christmas (1939)
13. Louis Prima & his New Orleans Gang – What Will Santa Claus Say (1936)
14. Tommy Dorsey & his Orchestra – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1935)
15. Andrews Sisters with Guy Lombardo – Christmas Island (1948)
16. Louis Armstrong – Christmas In New Orleans (1955)
17. Leadbelly – Christmas Is A-Comin’ (Chicken Crows At Midnight) (1941)
18. Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas (1957)
19. Hank Snow – Reindeer Boogie (1953)
20. The Youngsters – Christmas In Jail (1955)
21. Paul Whiteman & his Orchestra – Christmas Night In Harlem (1934)
22. Michel Warlop with Django Reinhardt – Christmas Swing (1937)
23. The Paris Sisters – Christmas In My Hometown (1954)
24. Gayla Peevey – I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas (1958)
25. Spike Jones – All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) (1948)
26. Art Mooney – Santa Claus Looks Just Like Daddy (1955)
27. Red Foley and the Little Foleys – Frosty The Snowman (1951)
28. Vince Guaraldi Trio – Christmas Time Is Here (1965)
29. Paddy Roberts – Merry X-Mas You Suckers (And A Happy New Year) (1962)
GET IT! (PW in comments)