White Christmas: Seasonal Hits of the 1930s and 40s (CD)

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Various Artists

Here is a wonderful collection of Christmas memories. Nostalgia and music combine in a fine selection of Christmas songs featuring original artists. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Dick Haymes, Glen Miller and many more in classic recordings lovingly restored in the Classical Communications studios.

Christmas comes at a time when the weather is, generally, at its coldest and most uninviting, yet for millions of us around the world it is a season full of warmth. The traditional images of Christmas play their part - the welcoming open fire with the Yule log crackling away and the plum pudding ablaze with brandy - but its true essence lies in the feelings of togetherness that we share with our family, friends and fellow human beings. It is a joyous time, a time for giving and receiving presents, for sharing and joining in a spirit of peace, renewed hope and reconciliation.

Music has always played an important part in Christmas celebrations with carols lying at its heart. Popular songs are now a vital element and their predominately secular content contrasts with the religious messages that are found in the carols. Music provides its own memories and is there waiting to be tapped in our personal banks of nostalgia. So we invite you to enter the world of Christmases past and to reacquaint yourselves with the stars of yesteryear and their unforgettable recordings of seasonal favourites.

For many of us, Christmas would not be Christmas without Bing Crosby. He, after all, gave us one of the greatest and most timeless of all Christmas favourites 'White Christmas'. Bing introduced this Irving Berlin classic in the 1942 film Holiday Inn and to date it has sold well over 42 million copies. Bing's partnership with the Andrews Sisters resulted in a string of melodically rich and high-spirited recordings in the 1940s. They are clearly enjoying themselves in 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' written in 1932 by Haven Gillespie and one J. Fred Coots, veteran composer for Broadway and the legendary Cotton Club revues. An American schoolteacher, James S. Pierpoint wrote 'Jingle Bells' in 1857 for a Sunday school entertainment. Gene Autry, a familiar name from 'Westerns', co-wrote 'Here Comes Santa Claus' in 1947.

Now to two lovely carols that each reflect a soft and contemplative aspect of Christ's birth. Archie Lewis sings 'Silent Night', composed in 1818 by Franz Gruber, an Austrian choirmaster. Dick Haymes recalls 'O Little Town of Bethlehem', dating from 1868, when the words were written by Bishop Philips Brooks of Philadelphia and the melody by his organist, Lewis Henry Redner.

To complement the mood of the above, a classic song in a classic recording: the velvet voice of Nat King Cole will forever be linked with 'The Christmas Song' (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), that marvellous evocation of an old-fashioned Christmas, co-written by Mel Torme. Two cheerful songs from the late 1940s in two cherished recordings are what 'Frosty the Snowman' and 'Christmas Island' share. The former, written by Jack Rollins and Steve Nelson, is given an affectionate rendition by Vaughn Monroe and the latter, composed by Lyle Moraine, feature The Andrews Sisters, who sing this number with humour and charm.

We hope you all enjoy our collection of seasonal favourites and may we wish you all a very merry Christmas.

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1. Snowy White Snow and Jingle Bells (Reid) - The Keynotes and Primo Scala
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) - Donald Peers and Hattie Jacques
3. (All I want for Christmas is) My Two Front Teeth (Gardner) - Danny Kaye and The Andrews Sisters
4. White Christmas (Berlin) - Bing Crosby
5. My Christmas Wish (Reine/Connor) - Anne Shelton
6. If You Knock On Any Door On Christmas Day (Johnson/Noel/Pelosi) - The Keynotes with Primo Scala
7. Christmas Island (Moraine) - The Andrews Sisters
8. The Christmas Song (Torme & Wells) - Nat King Cole
9. Merry Christmas at Grandmother's House - Danny Kaye and The Andrews Sisters
10. Frosty the Snowman (Nelson/Rollins) - Vaughn Monroe
11. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Gillespie/Coots) - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
12. The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (Kennedy/Connor/Leach) Vera Lynn
13. Here Comes Santa Claus (Autry/Haldeman) - Doris Day
14. Christmas Dinner (Ford) - Tennessee Ernie Ford
15. Picnic In The Snow (Allen/Wayne) - The Squadronaires
16. O Come, All Ye Faithful (Traditional) - Deanna Durbin
17. A Rootin' Tootin' Santa Claus (Tinturin/Haldeman) - Tennessee Ernie Ford
18. Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) - The Squadronaires
19. I'll Be Home for Christmas (Kent/Gannon) - Bing Crosby
20. O Little Town of Bethlehem (Brooks/Rodner) - Dick Haymes
21. Jingle Bells (Traditional) - Glenn Miller
22. Silent Night (Gruber) - Archie Lewis
23. Merry Christmas (Rickards/Merlin) - Anne Shelton
24. Let's Start the New Year Right (Berlin) - Bing Crosby

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