Real Gone Music’s October slate kicked off the label’s yearly celebration of the music of Christmas including classic albums by George Melachrino, The Soulful Strings and The Three Suns – and that continues into November when the label releases a whopping seven titles for the holiday season!
We’ve already told you this morning about our two Second Disc Records releases: Jim Nabors – The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings and an expanded edition of Lynn Anderson’s The Christmas Album. Real Gone’s remaining five titles run through a variety of genres while all containing festive holiday music. All seven releases feature new liner notes by our very own Joe Marchese!
Real Gone’s biggest release is the 3-disc set devoted to the yuletide recordings of Johnny Mathis. The Complete Christmas Collection 1958-2010 rounds up all of Mathis’ Christmas albums for the Columbia and Mercury/Global labels released during that period. It also boasts numerous non-LP singles, guest appearances and other one-off tracks from over the years. Next comes Glen Campbell’s Complete Capitol Christmas Recordings. Anchored by his 1968 album That Christmas Feeling, the package is rounded out by several other holiday tracks from singles and compilations he made for Capitol which have finally been brought together in one package.
Also in classic country style is Jimmy Dean’s Christmas Card – The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings. Dean may be best known today for breakfast sausages, but he had a thriving recording career 50 years ago. His lone Columbia Christmas LP is joined by the few yuletide tunes he made for singles to complete the CD. Another complete collection featuring a beloved 1960s artist is Bobby Vinton’s A Very Merry Christmas – The Compete Epic Christmas Collection. During the peak of his career in 1963 and 1964, Vinton recorded a Christmas EP and album for Epic, both of which are on this release. Several other Christmas cuts have been added, including a previously unreleased track from 1959: “Winter Love.”
The final CD of Real Gone’s mega-Christmas release slate brings together two Christmas LPs from The Living Voices: Sing Christmas Music/The Little Drummer Boy. The Living Voices, together with The Living Strings and several other groups with “Living” in their names, were studio musicians brought together by RCA producer Ethel Gabriel who recorded albums targeted at an older demographic. They featured lushly arranged versions of popular hits, and these two Christmas albums have that same sound.
All of these titles are scheduled to hit stores on November 6, just in time for you to start getting ready for the Christmas season! We’ve got Real Gone’s press release below which has more detail on the CDs together with pre-ordering links!
LOS ANGELES, CA – Having released no less than six charting Christmas albums during his career including one of the Top Ten selling Christmas albums of all time (1958’s Merry Christmas, which hit the Christmas charts 16 times!), Johnny Mathis has probably sold more Christmas records than any other artist in pop music history. And, with a half dozen releases to date on our Real Gone Music label, he is also by far our biggest selling pop vocalist. Add to that the fact that Christmas music is such a big part of what we do here at Real Gone and you can see why the chance to do a truly comprehensive collection of his Christmas music has been a glimmer in our eye ever since we started the label back in 2011. Now, after years of preparation, we are finally ready to release such a collection…and it’s turned out even better than we’d hoped! Not only does The Complete Christmas Collection 1958-2010 contain all five Christmas albums Johnny recorded for Columbia and Mercury Records prior to his 2013 Christmas release–including Merry Christmas, 1963’s Sounds of Christmas, 1969’s Give Me Your Love for Christmas, 1986’s Christmas Eve with Johnny Mathis, and 2002’s The Christmas Album, all of which charted–but it also includes many more non-LP tracks than we knew even existed before we started delving into the project. In fact, a full 16 of the 71 tracks–including duets with Bette Midler and Gladys Knight & the Pips–on this 3-CD set are rarities that did not appear on the albums, and two of them are newly discovered tracks! What’s more, the array of talent on these recordings is staggering (Johnny only worked with the best): among the producers, arrangers and conductors behind the scenes here are Mitch Miller, Percy Faith, Don Costa, Glenn Osser, Ernie Freeman, Gene Page, Jack Gold, Ray Ellis, and Henry Mancini. Little wonder, then, that Johnny’s Christmas music has been beloved for generations, and here it appears complete with fresh remastering by Mike Piacentini at Sony’s Battery Studios under the watchful eye of Sony producer Didier Deutsch, and packaged inside an eight-panel wallet sporting photos and notes by Joe Marchese drawn from an exclusive interview with Johnny Mathis himself. If there’s one indispensable Christmas release for this season and the seasons beyond, this is it.
The statistics concerning Glen Campbell’s career are staggering. Over 50-plus years in the music business, he has sold over 45 million records (and that’s not counting the tens of millions more he played on as part of the Wrecking Crew), accumulated 12 Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and one Double Platinum album, and placed over 80 different songs on the Country, Pop and Adult Contemporary charts including such iconic recordings as “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Yet, among his massive body of work, it is his Christmas recordings that might just be his most beloved. Glen’s easygoing, conversational way with a song–and winning personality as seen by millions on CBS TV’s The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour–made him the perfect vehicle for Yuletide material both old and new, and thus his 1968 album That Christmas Feeling went to #1 on the Christmas charts and hit the charts three other times after that! But Glen (and his label, Capitol) weren’t done with seasonal fare; three more Christmas albums were issued under Glen’s name, each of which sprinkled new tracks in with songs taken from That Christmas Feeling. Now, for the first time ever, ALL of Glen’s Christmas recordings for the Capitol label have been gathered into one place on this Real Gone release, which includes the original 11 tracks from That Christmas Feeling plus seven more Christmas rarities for a total of 18 irresistible holiday favorites. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, and featuring liner notes by Joe Marchese festooned with rare photos, Glen Campbell: Complete Capitol Christmas Recordings will remind you of just how great an interpreter of songs Glen was, and of just how vibrant a performer he was, too. The man’s spirit and legacy remain undimmed.
The title of the late Jimmy Dean’s autobiography is 30 Years of Sausage, 50 Years of Ham, but a more appropriate summation of his life is etched on his tombstone epitaph: “Here Lies One Hell of a Man.” For Jimmy Dean really did do it all–Top Ten pop and country singer, pure pork sausage purveyor, James Bond villain, Tonight Show host, even patron saint to puppeteer Jim Henson (Henson got his break on Jimmy’s 1963-1966 TV show). But without question one of the highlights in a life full of ’em was Jimmy’s 1965 holiday release, Jimmy Dean’s Christmas Card. Not only did the album hit #13 on the Christmas charts but it hit the charts for the next two years, and spawned a hit single, “Yes, Patricia, There Is a Santa Claus,” that remains one of the great Christmas novelty tunes of all time. We’re serving up a fresh remastering (by Maria Triana at Battery Studios) of this Christmas classic, and adding three non-LP sides (including the single version of “Yes, Patricia”) to comprise Jimmy Dean’s Christmas Card–The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings. Photos and liner notes by Joe Marchese complete one heartwarming Christmas package.
When The Beatles hit the top of the charts for the first time in 1964 with “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” do you know what single they displaced? Why, Bobby Vinton’s “There! I’ve Said It Again!” But, while the British Invasion spelled the end of chart appearances for just about every pop crooner of Bobby’s ilk, “The Polish Prince” just kept rolling along, racking up a total of 49 hits all the way through 1981, including such Top Ten smashes as “Mr. Lonely,” “Please Love Me Forever,” and “My Melody of Love.” Bobby was also a force on the Christmas charts, first with his 1963 EP Songs of Christmas and then with his 1964 full-length LP A Very Merry Christmas, both of which we have included in our new Real Gone release A Very Merry Christmas–The Complete Epic Christmas Collection, which also features the 1970 single “Christmas Eve in My Home Town,” two rare songs taken from various artists holiday packages released by Epic, and an unreleased track! Bobby offers an appealing mix of both traditional holiday favorites and contemporary ’60s pop songs of the season, including Bobby’s Top Ten Christmas chart single of “Dearest Santa” paired with Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle.” Joe Marchese pens the liner notes, and we’ve included some nice shots of the ever photogenic Mr. Vinton. Remastered by Maria Triana at Sony’s Battery Studios–a very merry Real Gone release indeed!
RCA’s wildly successful Living Stereo series spawned a number of ensembles with “Living” in their titles; the two that folks remember these days are The Living Strings and The Living Voices. Both groups were the brainchild of RCA’s trailblazing female producer Ethel Gabriel, who assembled some of the finest studio musicians, arrangers and vocalists for lush, beautifully recorded albums aimed at a middle America eager to give their newly acquired stereo systems a spin. In particular, the two holiday albums, Sing Christmas Music/The Little Drummer Boy, featured on this twofer that she released with The Living Voices remain treasured among Christmas music aficionados for their ornate orchestration, innovative arrangements, and, most of all, sweeping stereo sound. The first, 1962’s Sing Christmas Music, had actually come out on the Living Stereo imprint in 1959 as Christmas Surprises from The Ralph Hunter Choir; choir director Hunter garnered two Grammy nominations that year for his album The Wild Wild West. Among the surprises was the introduction of orchestra of toys including the Hunter family’s electric train and transformer to “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers,” and an intriguing rendition of “The Indian Christmas Carol,” which is credited as being the first North American Christmas song dating back to 1643! The second album, 1965’s The Little Drummer Boy, featured the legendary Anita Kerr Singers and production by Anita Kerr herself; the program varies from recent Broadway fare (“Be a Santa” from Subways Are for Sleeping; “Pine Cones and Holly Berries” from Here’s Love) to warhorses like “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to modern classics like “Blue Christmas” and the title tune. The Little Drummer Boy makes its first domestic CD appearance on this Real Gone reissue, while Sing Christmas Music has never been on CD anywhere; Joe Marchese pens the liner notes. A pair of easy listening Christmas classics!
Ready to get into the spirit of the season? All titles are due on November 6 from Real Gone Music and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
NOVEMBER 6, 2015 HOLIDAY RELEASES FROM REAL GONE MUSIC
Johnny Mathis, The Complete Christmas Collection 1958-2010 (3-CD Set) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
Glen Campbell, The Complete Capitol Christmas Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean’s Christmas Card–The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
Bobby Vinton, A Very Merry Christmas–The Complete Epic Christmas Collection (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
The Living Voices, Sing Christmas Music/The Little Drummer Boy (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
NOVEMBER 6 RELEASES FROM SECOND DISC RECORDS AND REAL GONE MUSIC:
Jim Nabors, The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
Lynn Anderson, The Christmas Album: Expanded Edition (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)