Sounds of the Season, Part 1

A fixture in our home when I was growing up was this enormous, gargantuan Motorola stereo. To be honest, I think it was officially called a hi-fi back in the day when my parents first bought it. But it had an AM/FM radio and a turntable, and let me tell you, my younger brother and I put that turntable through its paces!

Before we were old enough to buy our own records, though, we had to make do with the selection owned by Mom and Dad. Now, look. I loved my parents, but their record collection was one of the most pitiful things I remember about my childhood. It seemed like they possessed every piece of vinyl that contained syrupy, overwrought ballads and instrumentals. I mean, every time I stepped onto an elevator I thought I was back home because the same music played in both places!

The Christmas albums they owned weren’t much better. To my surprise, I recently discovered that I actually have two of those holiday records. And I was flabbergasted when I put them on my turntable and they played with very few pops and skips!

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How they’ve lasted this long I’ll never know!

But the Christmas record that stands out most from my childhood is one that has been lost somewhere along the way: Holiday Sing-Along with Mitch Miller and the Gang. Mitch Miller was a musician, conductor, recording artist, and A&R man with Columbia Records. During the early 1960s he even had a hit television series on NBC, Sing Along with Mitch, where he and a group of guys would sing songs while the lyrics were displayed at the bottom of the screen so those at home could, well, sing along. (Mitch, by the way, despised rock music, and while working at Columbia passed on signing Elvis, Buddy Holly and The Beatles. He described rock as “musical baby food: it is the worship of mediocrity, brought about by a passion for conformity.” Humph, I say.)

But even though he wasn’t smart enough to roll with the changes in the music industry, he did manage to put out quite a few “sing-along” records, and I remember my parents owning several, including the Christmas album. Each record came with a song book with lyrics, so you could haul those babies out at parties and have an early 60s version of karaoke right in your own home.

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Yep, this is the one we had.

When my brother and I were young, we were all about singing along with Mitch and the Gang, and we played those records to bits. In fact, we played the Christmas record so much that it skipped in numerous places. This has led to my having a very odd reaction every time I hear “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” There was a large divot in that track on our record which caused the needle to skip. Consequently, I grew up hearing, “She didn’t [skip] creep down the stairs to have a peep.” So now when I hear the song played during the holidays, my brain always waits to hear that skip, and when it doesn’t, it takes me a moment or two to catch up.

Except for that one song, I had pretty much put those sing along records out of my head over the years. Until this weekend when my younger brother called and told me he had downloaded Holiday Sing-Along from iTunes.

Me: Are you crazy?

Him: I must be.

I’ll betcha it doesn’t skip on that one song, though.

Before I close this post I must thank my dear friend, author S.A. Hussey, for the ad she made for Crimson and Clover’s Kindle Big Deal promotion. I am SO having this framed, right? Because it’s not every day you see Jimmy Page pimpin’ your book! 🙂

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That’s right. That’s Jimmy Page holding my book. Boom.

Don’t forget, Crimson and Clover is only 99 cents now through December 22nd as part of Amazon’s Kindle Big Deal. Less than a buck for love, music, and hot steaminess just in time for Christmas! Click here to get yours: KBD ad

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