Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Francis Goya - We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1978)

Francis Goya - We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1978)

 Born to a family of musicians, he took a guitar in his hands for the first time at the age of 12. At 16, Francis Goya formed his first group (Les Jivaros) together with his brother who played the percussion, and several friends. In 1975, he released his first solo LP Nostalgia, which quickly reached top positions in the charts. Nostalgia was a tender and romantic melody written by Francis Goya and his father. That was the beginning of his international career. Francis Goya tours with his performances all over the world, from Asia to Latin America, South Africa, Russia etc. Between the tours, he records at least one new album; their number has already reached 35 LPs and CDs, and most of them have the status of a gold disc or platinum disc. As of today, Francis Goya has sold over 28 million of his albums all over the world; this is quite a rare case for instrumental music. Francis Goya directed the Eurovision orchestra in Rome (during Luxembourg's performance) in 1991 and in Ireland in 1993.
—Wikipedia.com

Track Listing
  1. Petit Papa Noel
  2. Winter Wonderland
  3. Sleigh Ride
  4. White Christmas
  5. Chritsmas Lullaby
  6. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  7. Silent Night
  8. Little Drummer Boy
  9. Mary's Boy Child
  10. Mary's Theme (Nadia's Theme)
  11. Snowflakes In December
  12. Jingle Bells

John Denver - A Christmas Together (1979)

John Denver - A Christmas Together (1979)

The Crown Prince of Christmas Specials, John Denver, probably did his best Yuletide work with the Muppets. There is some great fun here, particularly for kids, although the TV special has aged a little faster than most of the Muppet material. The songs use electric piano far too much, and have a kind of dated sentimentality about them, but they are entertaining nonetheless. the Muppets' loud rendition of "Little St. Nick" and Miss Piggy's folky "Christmas is Coming" are lively fun. Two or three of the quieter songs achieve a sort of poignant fireside prettiness (especially "It's In Every One of Us"). Denver is typically over-earnest, even when surrounded by talking animals, but younger listeners won't mind.
—Darryl Cater, Allmusic.com

Track Listing
  1. Twelve Days of Christmas
  2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  3. The Peace Carol
  4. Christmas Is Coming
  5. A Baby Just Like You
  6. Deck the Halls
  7. When the River Meets the Sea
  8. Little Saint Nick
  9. Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913
  10. The Christmas Wish
  11. Medley: Alfie, The Christmas Tree/Carol for a Christmas Tree/It's ...
  12. Silent Night
  13. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

LSO & John Alldis - A Festival of Christmas Carols (1979)

LSO & John Alldis - A Festival of Christmas Carols (1979)

An Olde English Christmas presents 18 Christmas carols in opulent arrangements that should appeal to anyone who enjoys a "light classics" approach to the season. Peter Hope's lavish orchestrations of such holiday favorites as "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "Joy to the World," "The First Nowell," and "O Come All Ye Faithful" are brilliantly decked out in festive colors, and the performances by the John Alldis Choir and the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Colin Davis, are robust and ebullient, with an uplifting character that makes listening a pleasure. The purely instrumental numbers, such as In dulci jubilo, Silent Night, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, and The Holly and the Ivy, among others, are freely elaborated around their famous tunes, so they are not practical for singing along; but if the album is played simply as background music for a Christmas gathering, the fantasia style of these numbers works quite well. The sound quality of the recording is clear and warm, though the ADD mastering is a little lacking in dimensions and definition; this album was obviously intended to supply atmosphere without being scrutinized too closely, so the reproduction is not a serious problem.
—Blair Sanderson, Allmusic.com

Track Listing
  1. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival)
  2. Coventry Carol (2): "Lully, Lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child"
  3. Joy to the World (theme by Handel)
  4. In dulci jubilo (Piæ Cantiones)
  5. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)
  6. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (English)
  7. The Holly and the Ivy (English)
  8. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
  9. The First Nowell (English)
  10. Good King Wenceslas (Piae Cantiones, 1582)
  11. Deck the Halls (Welsh)
  12. O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) (German)
  13. Pat-a-Pan (Burgundian)
  14. We Three Kings of Orient Are
  15. Away in a manger (Tune: Cradle Song) (New English Hymnal 22)
  16. I Saw Three Ships
  17. I Wonder As I Wander (American)
  18. O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste fidelis)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 2013

Best wishes for Christmas
and a Happy New Year,
to the birth of Christ brought
with him the joy, peace, hope and love.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper (1979)

Willie Nelson - Pretty Paper (1979)

Artists almost always release Christmas albums when they have a comfortable level of sales, and when Willie Nelson was at a popular peak during the late '70s, he chose to exploit his popularity by releasing Pretty Paper. Fortunately, the album was hardly a toss-off -- it was one of the finest country holiday records ever released. It's not just because the title track became a classic, or that his choice of material is terrific (all familiar tunes, but all great) -- it's because Nelson is a great interpreter, capable of making standards like "White Christmas" and "Silent Night" fresh and unpredictable. Few other artists are willing to put their personal stamp on these standards, and that alone is enough to make Pretty Paper a holiday record to cherish.
—Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Allmusic.com

Track Listing
  1. Pretty Paper
  2. White Christmas
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  5. Jingle Bells
  6. Here Comes Santa Claus
  7. Blue Christmas
  8. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  9. Frosty the Snowman
  10. Silent Night
  11. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  12. Christmas Blues

Caravelli - Chansons De Noel: Christmas Carols (1980)

Caravelli - Chansons De Noel: Christmas Carols (1980)

Track Listing
  1. Jingle Bells
  2. Noel Blanc (White Christmas)
  3. L'enfant Au Tambour (Little Drummer Boy)
  4. What Child Is This (Greensleeves)
  5. Ave Maria (Schubert)
  6. Joie Pour Le Monde (Joy To The World)
  7. Silent Night (Douce Nuit, Sainte Nuit)
  8. Le Petit Renne Au Nez Rouge (Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer)
  9. Le Premier Noel (The First Noel)
  10. Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant
  11. Mon Beau Sapin (O Tannenbaum)
  12. La Petite Ville De Bethlehem (O Little Town Of Bethlehem)
  13. Minuit Chretien (O Holy Night)

Meco - Christmas in the Stars - Star Wars Xmas (1980)

Meco - Christmas in the Stars - Star Wars Xmas (1980)

Few Christmas albums are as truly terrible as Star Wars: Christmas in the Stars, George Lucas' ill fated cash in on the Christmas season. But between the secret celebrity hiding in the credits to the seven songs sung by "robots," few Christmas albums are as enjoyably terrible as this one. First of all, John Bongiovi, the young singer who performs several of the characters on the album, would go on to become Jon Bon Jovi a few years later. Hearing the king of '80s pop/rock praising R2-D2 is priceless, and his goofy performance is almost unrecognizable if it was not for his New Jersey accent sneaking in at odd times. And with nine songs on a Christmas album, you would not expect seven of them to be sung in a fake robot voice. But sure enough, whether it be Anthony Daniels performing as C3PO or Bongiovi heading up a chorus of droids, there are a lot of robots on this album. What is mostly wrong with this album is that George Lucas does not seem to understand that the Star Wars universe and the birth of Jesus have very little to do with one another. He avoids even talking about the meaning of the holiday until the last song, where Santa Claus' son explains the non-religious version of it to the droids after Daniels recites his own rendition of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Instead they just throw around the word Christmas just to have it in a song. For example, "Bells Bells Bells" is pretty much just Daniels saying whatever rhymes over a generic Christmas track. He says nothing of substance, and he just rambles on about where you can hear bells, what size and color bells can be, and somehow he manages to throw in comments about cows and Albert Einstein. And every song is like that, just holiday clichés blended together to music. One of the only exceptions is "R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas," a song that tries to brainwash children into loving the little robot by having a chorus of kids gush over how wonderful R2-D2 is. And Steve Sansweet's liner notes are just as bad, comparing the songwriting on the album to the late, great Spike Jones. Because of its general meaninglessness and obscure commentaries on the holiday, this could be the worst Star Wars related album on the market. To those who enjoy bad music on a camp level, this album is priceless. Fans of the series should give it a listen just to hear how bad it is, but this is really only recommended for those who enjoy terrible music for its comic value.
—Bradley Torreano, Allmusic.com

Track Listing
  1. Christmas in the Stars
  2. Bells, Bells, Bells
  3. The Odds Against Christmas
  4. What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)
  5. R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  6. Sleigh Ride
  7. Merry, Merry Christmas
  8. A Christmas Sighting ('Twas the Night Before Christmas)
  9. The Meaning of Christmas

The Mistletoe Disco Band - Christmas Disco (1980)

The Mistletoe Disco Band - Christmas Disco (1980)

This album by the Mistletoe Disco Band was released to little or no fanfare at the end of 1980. It's your standard fare of strings, synthesizers, cop whistles, and that driving disco beat. I wish I could pick out a favorite track on this album - each song brings a unique quality that must be heard to be appreciated.
—Kool Kat Jazz Records

Track Listing
  1. Sleigh Ride
  2. Jingle Bells
  3. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  4. Jingle Bell Rock
  5. Silver Bells
  6. Winter Wonderland
  7. Little Drummer Boy
  8. Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer
  9. Joy To The World

Anne Murray - Christmas Wishes (1981)

Anne Murray - Christmas Wishes (1981)

Nova Scotia-born Anne Murray built her musical influences from the pop sounds that her parents listened to (Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como) and the Top 40 sounds that AM New York radio stations piped into Canada (Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee). She found herself with a million-selling crossover single in 1970, "Snowbird." She started working in 1978 with a new producer, Jim Ed Norman, who returned her to prominence with "Walk Right Back" and the million-selling follow-up, "You Needed Me." Throughout the late '70s and early '80s, Murray successfully walked the line between country and pop with a rich alto voice and a knack for romantic material.
—Allmusic.com

Track Listings
  1. Winter Wonderland
  2. Silver Bells
  3. The Little Drummer Boy
  4. I'll Be Home for Christmas
  5. Christmas Wishes
  6. Joy to the World
  7. Away in a Manger
  8. O Holy Night
  9. Go Tell It on the Mountain
  10. Silent Night

BZN - We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1981)

BZN - We Wish You A Merry Christmas (1981)

Inspired by the sound of the British Invasion, BZN formed in the Dutch city of Volendam in 1966. Over the band's 30-plus-year history, BZN has released over 60 albums (26 of which have gone platinum in the Netherlands), but its Western success has been quite limited. A contract with Mercury/Polydor in the early '80s resulted in the release of two 1980 albums: Green Valleys (one of the group's platinum releases) and, later that year, In the Beginning 1967-1970.
—Allmusic.com

Track Listing
  1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  2. Silent Night Holy Night
  3. To Perigiali (Sto Periali)
  4. Jingle Bells
  5. Sleep My Little Angel
  6. Little Drummer Boy
  7. Mary's Boy Child
  8. Sheila
  9. The Sleighing Song
  10. White Christmas
  11. A Noel Tu M Entends (I Pikra Simera)