Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nearly Perfect? : Time - Life Treasury Of Christmas

Here's a series of posts to try and rekindle my enthusiasm for (Dinsdale) Kringle's Folly. I'll grab tracklists from various commercially available Christmas compilations and give them a quick once over to see if there's really been any point at all in trying to make a Perfect Mix. Has my Perfect Compilation been out there all along? We'll see...

Time - Life Treasury Of Christmas

Disc 1

01. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
02. Medley: Winter Wonderland / Sleigh Ride - Dolly Parton
03. The Little Drummer Boy - Harry Simeone Chorale
04. O Little Town of Bethlehem - Andre Previn
05. The Twelve Days of Christmas - Roger Whittaker
06. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing - Nat King Cole
07. O Holy Night - Perry Como
08 The Christmas Song - The Carpenters
09. Medley: Carol of the Bells / Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly - Robert Shaw Chorale
10. Twas the Night Before Christmas - Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians
11. Here Comes Santa Claus - Elvis Presley
12. Santa s Beard - The Beach Boys
13. Christmas in My Home Town - Charley Pride
14. Away in a Manger - Ed Ames
15. Silent Night - Jim Reeves
16. Home for the Holidays - Perry Como
17. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Gene Autry
18. Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
19. Good King Wenceslas - Morton Gould and The RCA Symphony Orchestra
20. Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
21. Medley: Here We Come A-Caroling / O Tannenbaum / I Saw Three Ships - Atrhur Fiedler and The Boston Pops
22. Ave Maria - Leontyne Price with the Choir of St. Thomas Episcopal Church

Disc 2

01. Ding Dong Merrily on High - Roger Whittaker
02. If Every Day Was Like Christmas - Elvis Presley
03. Rockin Around the Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
04. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Perry Como
05. Jingle Bells - Jim Reeves
06. What Child Is This? - Andre Previn
07. Adeste Fidelis - Luciano Pavarotti with the National Philharmonic
08. I ll Be Home for Christmas - Perry Como
09. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Julie Andrews
10. Christmas in Dixie - Alabama
11. Do You Hear What I Hear? - Bing Crosby
12. Medley: Joy to the World / Angels We Have Heard on High - Robert Shaw Chorale
13. Blue Christmas - Glen Campbell
14. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Philadelphia Orchestra Chorus
15. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
16. Mary s Boy Child - Harry Belafonte
17. Rocking - Roger Whittaker
18. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow - Lena Horne
19. The First Noel - Sergio Franchi
20. Silver Bells - Kate Smith
21. Holly Jolly Christmas - Burl Ives
22. It s Beginning to Look like Christmas - Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters
23. We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus

Not a bad song in the bunch. 32/45 that I would consider favorites.A solid collection. Not quite perfect though is it?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ASCAP's Top 25 / 5

ASCAP has released their list of the most played Christmas tracks on radio over the past five years. Since I'm a fairly harsh critic of modern pop music, both in general and especially in the holiday music genre, I figure I should check the list twice and see if things are better or worse than I imagine.
#1 Winter Wonderland
Written by: Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
Performed by: Eurythmics

#2 The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
Written by: Mel Tormé, Robert Wells
Performed by: Nat "King" Cole

#3 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Written by: Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin
Performed by: The Pretenders

#4 Sleigh Ride
Written by: Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
Performed by: The Ronettes

#5 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Written by: Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
Performed by: Frank Sinatra

#6 Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Written by: Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Performed by: Michael Bublé

#7 White Christmas
Written by: Irving Berlin
Performed by: Bing Crosby

#8 Jingle Bell Rock
Written by: Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
Performed by: Bobby Helms

#9 Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Gene Autry

#10 Little Drummer Boy
Written by: Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
Performed by: The Harry Simeone Chorale & Orchestra

#11 It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
Written by: Edward Pola, George Wyle
Performed by: Andy Williams

#12 Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Brenda Lee

#13 Silver Bells
Written by: Jay Livingston, Ray Evans
Performed by: Kenny G

#14 I'll Be Home For Christmas
Written by: Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
Performed by: Amy Grant

#15 Feliz Navidad
Written by: José Feliciano
Performed by: José Feliciano

#16 Frosty The Snowman
Written by: Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
Performed by: The Ronettes

#17 A Holly Jolly Christmas
Written by: Johnny Marks
Performed by: Burl Ives

#18 It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
Written by: Meredith Willson
Performed by: Johnny Mathis

#19 Blue Christmas
Written by: Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
Performed by: Elvis Presley

#20 (There's No Place Like) Home For The Holidays
Written by: Bob Allen, Al Stillman
Performed by: Perry Como

#21 I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Written by: Tommie Connor (PRS)
Performed by: John Mellencamp

#22 Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
Written by: Gene Autry, Oakley Haldeman
Performed by: Gene Autry

#23 Carol Of The Bells
Written by: Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola Leontovich
Performed by: David Foster (instrumental version)

#24 Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)
Written by: Midge Ure (PRS), Bob Geldof (PRS)
Performed by: Band Aid

#25 This Christmas
Written by Donny Hathaway, Nadine McKinnor
Performed by Gloria Estefan
Well, that didn't help. Apparently songwriters have forgotten how to write holiday songs that people want to record and other people want to listen to. The most recently written song is from Band Aid?

As for the list...

The top 12 is surprisingly sound. I wouldn't have guessed the number one but I suppose it crosses genres nicely. 13 is unlucky indeed. I'd rather have seen a different "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" than Johnny Cougar's make the list. The list only weakens again at number 25.

Of course the list's saving grace is the preponderance of classic tracks and the weak links are all of relatively recent vintage. At least programmers and DJs have the good sense to stick with the classics, it's just too bad they haven't been a bit more adventurous with the modern stuff.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nearly Perfect? Top 100 Christmas Songs (V.A.)

Here's a new series of posts to try and rekindle my enthusiasm for (Dinsdale) Kringle's Folly. I'll grab tracklists from various commercially available Christmas compilations and give them a quick once over to see if there's really been any point at all in trying to make a Perfect Mix. Has my Perfect Compilation been out there all along? We'll see...

I've seen this set on a few blogs but couldn't find an official link to it. I'm not sure if it's a commercial release of an unofficial compilation but here goes...

Top 100 Christmas Songs

01. Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas 03:47
02. Boyz II Men - Let it Snow 04:09
03. Michael Mcdonald - Every Time Christmas Comes Around 03:33
04. Marvin Gaye - I Want to Come Home for Christmas 03:23
05. Ashanti - Hey Santa 01:54
06. David Essex - A Winter's Tale 04:13
07. Aaron Neville - Such A Night 03:24
08. Olivia Newton-John - Christmas Never Felt Like This Before 03:51
09. Jackson 5 - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus 02:57
10. Freddy Fender - Christmas Time in the Valley 02:24
11. Michael Ball - Driving Home for Christmas 03:57
12. Laura Fygi - the Very Best Time of Year 02:47
13. Gladys Knight - It Came Upon A Midnight Clear 04:36
14. Diana Ross - Little Bright Star 02:28
15. Patti Page - Where Did My Snowman Go 02:32
16. Ringo Starr - Dear Santa 05:11
17. Wes Montgomery & Jimmy Smith - Baby It's Cold Outside 05:58
18. Vanessa Williams - Go Tell it to the Mountain 05:47
19. The Temptations - Little Drummer Boy 03:21
20. The Moody Blues - Happy X Mas (War is Over) 02:35

Not a bad disc but only 8/20 are in my rotation with none that are making the Perfect list.

01. Bing Crosby - White Christmas 03:00
02. Bobby Helms - Jingle Bell Rock 02:11
03. Brenda Lee - Winter Wonderland 02:22
04. Chante Moore - Christmas Morning 05:20
05. The Platters - Blue Christmas 02:00
06. Diana Ross & the Supremes - My Favourite Things 02:53
07. George Strait - Santa's on His Way 02:07
08. B.B. King - Christmas Celebration 03:38
09. Ella Fitzgerald - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 02:53
10. Will Downing - the First Noel 04:58
11. Chris De Burgh - A Spaceman Came Travelling 04:04
12. Patti Labelle - That's What Christmas Means to Me 03:27
13. Jack Jones - Lullaby for Christmas Eve 04:13
14. New Edition - the Joy of Christmas 02:59
15. Shawn Philips - A Christmas Song 03:28
16. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - Christmas Lullaby 04:08
17. Singers Unlimited - Caroling, Caroling 01:15
18. The Statler Brothers - Away in A Manger 02:51
19. Dinah Washington - Ole Santa 02:44
20. Roger Whittaker - Little Shepard 02:52

9/20 this time with three crackers to lead the disc off. Again, a pretty good selection.

01. Mel Torme - the Christmas Song 02:46
02. Andrews Sisters & Bing Crosby - the First Snowfall 03:08
03. Pat Boone - I'll Be Home for Christmas 01:51
04. James Brown - Please Come Home for Christmas 03:22
05. Kid Creole & the Coconuts - Christmas on Riverside Drive 03:46
06. Free the Spirit - Last Christmas 03:52
07. Slade - Merry Christmas Everybody 03:43
08. Stephanie Mills - Christmas with You 04:56
09. Michael Jackson - Little Christmas Tree 03:38
10. Hanson - What Christmas Means to Me 03:40
11. Lionel Hampton - Boogie Woogie Santa Claus 02:45
12. Connie Francis - Baby's First Christmas 02:27
13. Billy Eckstine - Christmas Eve 03:05
14. Betty Carter - Home for the Holidays 04:31
15. BZN - Once Upon A Christmas 05:28
16. Nana Mouskouri - Deck the Hall Boughs of Holly 01:34
17. Rita Reys - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 04:21
18. Kim Weston - Wish You A Merry Christmas 02:37
19. Supremes - Joy the World 02:11
20. Gheorghe Zamfir - Little Drummer Boy 02:17

9/20. A bit dodgy here and there but not too bad. Once again the disc starts out really well and has a swell path in the middle.

01. 98 Degrees - this Gift 04:12
02. K - Ci & Jojo - Merry Christmas Baby 03:02
03. Steve Winwood - Christmas in Now Drawing 02:35
04. Shanice & Johnny Gil - Silent Prayer 04:58
05. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles - Jingle Bells 02:48
06. Oliva Newton John - There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays 04:09
07. The Moody Blues - December Snow 05:14
08. Brenda Lee - A Marshmallow World 02:34
09. Jackson 5 - Santa Claus is Coming to Town 02:24
10. Marvin Gaye - Purple Snowflakes 02:53
11. Laura Fygi - A Song for Christmas 02:59
12. Ella Fitzgerald - Sleigh Ride 03:01
13. Louis Armstrong - Yule Cool 02:59
14. Commodors - Jesus is Love 04:58
15. Blue Diamonds - Christmas Day is Coming 02:48
16. Kurtis Blow - Christmas Rapping 04:00
17. Chuck Berry - Run Rudolph Run 02:43
18. James Brown - Signs of Christmas 04:40
19. Michael Ball - When A Child is Born 03:37
20. Venessa Williams - Hark the Herald Angels Sing 05:28

6/20. A few classic amidst a fairly ordinary selection.

01. Will Downing - All I Want for Christmas is You 04:04
02. Love Unlimited - it May Be Winter Outside 04:14
03. Boys II Men - Cold December Nights 04:10
04. 98 Degrees - Ave Maria 01:55
05. A-Teens - Happy New Year 04:24
06. The Kelly Family - Who'll Come with Me 03:10
07. Engelbert Humperdinck - Winter World of Love 03:22
08. Patti Labelle - O Holy Night 04:40
09. Michael Mcdonald - White Chistmas/winter Wonderland 03:29
10. Aaron Neville - the Star Carol 02:13
11. Marvin Sease - Funky Christmas 06:17
12. The Temptations - Silent Night 02:24
13. The Platters - All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth 02:14
14. Samatha Mumba - All I Want for Christmas 04:01
15. Connie Francis - O Little Town of Bethlehem 03:01
16. Rahsaan Patterson - Christmas at My House 04:56
17. The Supremes - Twinkle Twinkle Little Me 03:04
18. Stephanie Mills - it Doenst Feel Like Christmas 04:12
19. Larry Carlton - Ringing the Bells of Christmas 04:42
20. B.B. King - Auld Lang Syne 02:21

Oh dear. 2/20. That's not to say there are 18 bad songs on the disc - none of them are "bad", but almost none of them are really good either. Not a great showing for a compilation that bills itself as Top 100 songs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nearly Perfect? : Christmas Hits (2007)

Here's a new series of posts to try and rekindle my enthusiasm for (Dinsdale) Kringle's Folly. I'll grab tracklists from various commercially available Christmas compilations and give them a quick once over to see if there's really been any point at all in trying to make a Perfect Mix. Has my Perfect Compilation been out there all along? We'll see...

We start with Christmas Hits (2007) A 4 disc set, though since the fourth CD is made up of traditional carols I'll skip it.

Titles in bold indicate songs I'd consider for Heavy rotation during the holidays. Normal text indicates a perfectly good tune but not a particular favorite of mine and grayed out means I'd rather give it a miss - though it may not be because the song is rotten but because it's not what I consider a "real" Christmas song or has mere novelty value. Spelling mistakes courtesy of source. (I'm just a cuttin' and a pastin' here)


01 Andy Williams - Its The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
02 The Pouges Feat. Kristy Mccol - Fairytale Of New York
03 Pretenders - 2000 Miles
04 Shakin Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone
05 Chris Rea - Driving Home For Christmas
06 Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry
07 Robson And Jerome - I Believe
08 Cyndi Lauper - Early Christmas Morning
09 Gloria Estefan - Love On Layaway
10 Charlotte Church - Dream A Dream
11 Steps - Merry X-Mas Everybody
12 Bo Selecta - Proper Crimbo
13 The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)
14 Eva Cassidy - Over The Rainbow
15 Sarah Mclachlan - Wintersong
16 Johnny Cash - The Little Drummer Boy
17 Frank Sinatra - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
18 T - Rex-Christmas Bop
19 Boney M - Marys Boy Child Oh My Lord

12/19 songs that I could see having on one of my comps with only one all time real classic plus a few modern ones. Take out the non-truly-Christmas songs and the novelty track and it's a pretty good selection.


01 Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
02 Christina Aguilera - The Christmas Song
03 Luther Vandross - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
04 Cliff Richard - The Millennium Prayer
05 Michael Bolton - White Christmas
06 Dido - Christmas Day
07 Nsync - I Don't Wanna Spend One More Christmas Without You
08 Britney Spears - My Only Wish (This Year)
09 Toni Braxton - Holiday Celebrate
10 Backstreet Boys - Christmas Time
11 Air Supply - Sleigh Ride
12 Spike Jones And His City Slickers - All I Want For Christmas
13 Jackie Wilson - Deck The Halls
14 G4 - Silent 0
15 Natalie Cole - Jingle Bells
16 Linda Ronstadt - When You Wish Upon A Star
17 Brenda Lee - Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
18 Shakin Stevens - Blue Christmas
19 The Wombles - Wombling Merry Christmas
20 East 17 - Stay Another Day

6/20 and that's being kind


01 Wham! - Last Christmas
02 Westlife - I Have A Dream
03 Il Divo - O Holy Night
04 Angelis - Pie Jesu
05 Elvis Presley - Merry Christmas Baby
06 Frank Sinatra - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow
07 Eartha Kitt - Santa Baby
08 Aretha Franklin - Joy To The World
09 Gladys Knight And The Pips - Do You Hear What I Hear
10 Tony Bennett - Winter Wonderland
11 Doris Day - Ill Be Home For Christmas
12 The Edwin Hawkins Singers - Oh Happy Day
13 Mario Lanza - O Christmas Tree
14 Gay Gordon - Auld Lang Syne
15 Harry Belafonte - Marys Boy Child
16 Al Green - What Christmas Means To Me
17 Peter Auty - Walking In The Air
18 Johnny Mathis - When A Child Is Born
19 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - The Power Of Love

14/19 a nice recovery with very little chaff though, once again, light on actual classic tunes.

So, not the worst selection I've ever seen but also not one that I'd want to be trapped on a deserted island with either.Especially that second disc.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kringle's Folly

4C175_05d (by senses working overtime)

Just a couple of weeks until Halloween means the offfical start of the Christmas season is just around the corner.I've been doing sporadic work on the "Mix" and I'm a little but disappointed at how predicable the the final selection is turning out to be. Lots of the usual yuletide suspects. I had hoped to offer a revised version of the traditional holiday canon but the best are still the best. So there won't be any real revaltions but i'll still be posting the various compilations I've been, umm, compiling,  as well as asking all of you for your favorite collections of Christmas songs - store bought or home made.

More after All Hallows...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2 more sneak in...

A couple of additions...

  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas - The Johnny Mann Singers
    (will likely be competing with We Wish You A Merry Christmas/Jingle Bells/Where Did My Snowman Go - Gunter Kallmann Choir)

  • Christmas Is A 'Comin' (May God Bless You) - The Brothers Four
    (has the unenviable task of going against Bing's version)

16 more shown the door...

Some more very tough cuts. Cailoa/Ortolani and KT Tunstall both disappear from the master list and my current personal fave version of Baby It's Cold Outside gets frozen out as well. Some cuts were hard but inevitable - was there really any doubt that the Harry Simone Chorale version of Little Drummer Boy would beat out it's rivals?

As always the songs leaving the main comp. will end up on others comps because even the Perfect Christmas Mix would become tiresome if it was all you ever listened to.

  1. Christmas Chimes - Andre Kostelanetz
  2. Sleigh Ride - Al Cailoa & Riz Ortolani
  3. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Andre Kostelanetz
  4. Sleigh Ride - KT Tunstall
  5. A Christmas Medley - Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops
  6. A Time To Be Jolly - Bing Crosby
  7. A Very Merry Christmas - Cliff Edwards
  8. Angels We Have Heard on High - The Roches
  9. Buon Natale - Al Caiola and Riz Ortolani
  10. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Carmen McRae & Sammy Davis Jr.
  11. Ding Dong! Merrily on High - The King's Singers
  12. Mele Kalikimaka (Christmas in Hawaii) - KT Tunstall
  13. The Bell That Couldn't Jingle - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
  14. The Little Drummer Boy - Anita Kerr Singers
  15. The Little Drummer Boy - The Living Voices
  16. I Don't Intend To Spend Christmas Without You - Claudine Longet