About two weeks ago, the local radio station here in Chicago flipped to all Christmas music all the time. Now, for me, that is way too early. I don't necessarily like Christmas music before Thanksgiving. I happen to really like Thanksgiving and don't like the fact that Christmas is overshadowing this equally important holiday. Plus, my wife's birthday falls around this time, so the Christmas encroachment is pretty nefarious.
I do like Christmas music, however. But good Christmas music, not the kind played on the radio-station-that-shall-not-be named (For those of you who live in the Chicago area, you know what I am talking about. This station literally sucks the life out of Christmas.) How many times a day can a person hear Wham's "Last Christmas" before wanting to harm himself or others?
Some of my best memories of Christmas as a kid involves music. Good music.
My parents had a rather large collection of Christmas albums. They took those albums and made mix tapes---real mix tapes---on a reel-to-reel player. It was an eclectic mix of music: Percy Faith, Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and many more. To put it frankly: it was Christmas music that did not suck.
For a generation of people, these songs came to represent Christmas. To this day, whenever I hear "What Child is This?" by Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops Orchestra I can suddenly smell the burning of pine incense that my parents had from a little log cabin on the fireplace mantle. Today, such memories have been overshadowed by "corporate Christmas;" the kind that drones on for twenty-four hours a day on the station-that-shall-not-be-named.
This year on Vinyl Voyage Radio, we are going to try and recapture the magic of Christmas past. Consider this a "Retro Christmas." Currently, I am recording all of my Christmas records into the computer so that you, too, can relive the years when Christmas music was good. Last night, for example, I placed into the computer a vinyl copy of the classic 1958 Christmas album, The Little Drummer Boy by The Harry Simeone Chorale. You'll hear that, plus much more. The music will span the 1940s through the 1980s, with much of the emphasis on the 50s and 60s--the "Golden Age" of Christmas music. Come on, when was the last time you heard a Ferrante and Teicher Christmas song? Or Percy Faith? Or Dinah Shore, Perry Como or Mantovani?
Next month, we will begin sneaking in some of this music here and there. Then, starting December 23, we will go totally Christmas, playing for you Christmas music that does not suck.
This will continue through December 26. The one thing I have always disliked about corporate radio is that the Christmas music stops promptly at 12 am on December 26. I still like to hears some Christmas music the next day; I can't be cut off, cold turkey. I need some Christmas music at least for a day or two.
So, there it is: the Vinyl Voyage Christmas plan.
Hope you like it.