Merry Christmas! The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings 1963-1966

Merry Christmas! The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings 1963-1966

by The New Christy MinstrelsThe New Christy Minstrels




The most aggressively cheerful group to rise from the folk music boom of the late '50s/early '60s, the New Christy Minstrels were the sort of act destined to make a Christmas album -- they were always eager to embrace traditional show business tropes and they weren't afraid to play the sentimental card, and making a holiday album is just what sentimental show biz types do. Actually, during the 1960s the New Christy Minstrels made two Christmas albums, which have been paired up on this release from Real Gone Music, and a spin of the disc tells us a lot about the group and the shifts in the world of commercial folk music in the '60s. The 12 cuts from 1963's Merry Christmas! were recorded when the NCM were at their commercial peak, and the performances typify their approach of the time: tight massed harmonies, a small army of guitarists and banjo players, and an air of good cheer even when the group was at its most earnest. The biggest surprise is that the album shies away from familiar Christmas tunes in favor of original material, most of it written by group founder Randy Sparks and sounding more contemplative than one might expect. By 1966, the folk boom was over, Sparks had sold the rights to the group, and Christmas with the Christies reflected their new status as a polished pop vocal ensemble, capable of turning out slick easy listening versions of current hits (or, in this case, well-remembered songs of the season), with only the occasional banjo as a reminder of their days as accessible folkies. (And while the name didn't change, the minstrels had; the Christies always had a high turnover, and not a single person appears on both Merry Christmas! and Christmas with the Christies.) The approach of these two albums is different enough to make the transition a bit jarring at the midway point, but in both forms the NCM were thoroughly professional, and if these performances prize skill over inspiration, the singers are never less than expert and the harmonies and vocal arrangements are truly impressive. For this package, Real Gone has included five bonus tracks (two from out of print compilations, the others session outtakes), as well as detailed liner notes by Tom Pickles. If you're a fan of vintage Christmas sounds and/or artifacts of the pre-singer/songwriter folk era, this New Christy Minstrels release serves its purpose as well as anyone could hope.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/29/2013
Label: Real Gone Music
UPC: 0848064001980
catalogNumber: 400198

Album Credits

Performance Credits

New Christy Minstrels   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Adolphe Adam   Composer
Leroy Anderson   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Mel Tormé   Composer
Remo Capra   Composer
Harry Simeone   Composer
Jerry Herman   Composer
Franz Gruber   Composer
Bob Alcivar   Arranger
Katherine K. Davis   Composer
Ray Evans   Composer
Scott Holtzman   Composer
Vivian Holtzman   Composer
Jay Livingston   Composer
Henry Onorati   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Tony Velona   Composer
Robert Wells   Composer
Nick Woods   Arranger,Composer
Art Podell   Arranger,Composer
Barry Kane   Composer
Randy Sparks   Composer,Direction
Joseph Mohr   Composer
Noel Regney   Composer
Gloria Shayne   Composer
Moshe Dor   Composer
Victoria Garvey   Composer
Gordon Anderson   Executive Producer
Traditional   Composer
Jimmy Krondes   Composer
Inez James   Composer
Tom Pickles   Producer,Liner Notes,Photo Courtesy
John Brimhall   Arranger
Marilyn Hooven   Composer
Jeff James   Producer
Yosef Hadar   Composer
Bill Knight   Composer
Pat Garvey   Composer
Robert Gurian   Composer
Grace Gogerty   Composer

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