Even though it's only the middle of September and it is not even fall yet, announcements are beginning to be made about the upcoming Christmas season. Real Gone Music is continuing its yearly holiday tradition with a batch of holiday albums, including a CD debut and three vinyl represses, due in October and November.
The lone CD reissue in the slate, due November 5, is Merry Christmas, Baby, one of the earliest compilations of Christmas music singles from 1956. Subtitled Intimate Christmas Music for Young Lovers, the R&B album was originally released on the independent Hollywood Records and takes its name from the 1947 Charles Brown hit which it features. Brown released "Merry Christmas, Baby" as a member of Johnny Moore's Three Blazers and the song peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's R&B Jukebox chart. It has become a Christmas standard over the years with Brown re-recording it several times and numerous others offering their versions including artists like Chuck Berry, Otis Redding, B.B. King, and Bruce Springsteen.
Johnny's Moore's Blazers contribute another four songs to the compilation and the Jackson Trio (brothers Eugene and Freddie Jackson and a rotating third musician) add another two holiday compositions. Another hit on the album is Lowell Fulson's "Lonesome Christmas (Parts 1 and 2)." A notable presence in the West Coast Blues scene in the 1940s and 1950s, Fulson took the song to No. 7 on the R B chart in 1950. Also included is Jimmy Witherspoon's "Christmas Blues". In 1954, Hollywood released it on a single paired with another song: Mabel Scott's "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus," which is an additional track on the compilation. Scott recorded the song in 1947 and it earned a top 15 berth on the R&B chart. Patti Page gave it a try in 1950 (but the B-side to that single, "Tennessee Waltz," would prove to be one of Page's biggest hits and an enduring classic). Since then, numerous artists have covered the tune including The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
Real Gone's reissue is the first ever appearance of the original album on CD. It has been remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVison and features liner notes by Bill Dahl.
On October 1, Real Gone is releasing a repressing of the vinyl version of the compilation Home Alone Christmas. In 2019, The Second Disc described the album as follows: "Few Christmas movies have brought families together like Home Alone series. The 1992 compilation Home Alone Christmas collected 12 of the best songs from the first two Home Alone movies to create a special, Christmas-themed collection. It's chock full of classic and contemporary selections to enjoy around the Christmas tree, including Mel Tormé's 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,' Darlene Love's 'All Alone on Christmas, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 'Christmas All Over Again,' along with appearances from Southside Johnny, TLC, Alan Jackson, and score selections by John Williams." This new pressing is available in clear with red and green swirl vinyl.
Hitting stores on November 5 is a vinyl repress of Cyndi Lauper's Merry Christmas...Have A Nice Life!, which Real Gone also released back on 2019 in the album's vinyl debut. We said about the LP then: "This often-overlooked slice of Lauper's discography is a fresh spin on the time-honored tradition of the Christmas album. The album was partly inspired by motherhood; in fact, the story goes that Cyndi tracked most of the album at her home while her son slept, including the tribute 'New Years' Baby (First Lullaby).' In addition to traditional fare like 'Three Ships' and 'Silent Night,' and more recent classics like 'Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree,' Cyndi offers up eight original Christmas-themed tunes, including the bawdy 'Minnie and Santa,' and the sassy 'Christmas Conga.' In all, it's a blend of Cyndi's bubbly personality and that 'round-the-fireplace warmth that's essential to any Christmas album." This new edition features the same gatefold package as the original Real Gone pressing and comes on clear with red and white swirl vinyl.
The final item on Real Gone's Christmas slate is a vinyl repressing of the soundtrack to 2018's Dr. Seuss' The Grinch. This was first released last year by Real Gone as an exclusive at Urban Outfitters. It is now hitting general retail for the first time. Last year, The Second Disc said this about the album: "The 2018 reboot of the classic Christmas tale is full of great music - from Danny Elfman's original score to musical selections by Jackie Wilson, Nat King Cole, The Supremes, Brian Setzer, Run-D.M.C., Tyler The Creator, and more." This new pressing comes on clear with red and white swirl vinyl.
If you would like to get into the Christmas spirit with any of these albums, we've got the full tracklisting and preorder links below. All titles are also available directly through Real Gone's website.
Various Artists, Merry Christmas, Baby (Originally released on Hollywood Records LP LP-501, 1956 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Merry Christmas, Baby - Charles Brown
- Sleighride - Lloyd Glenn Trio
- Christmas Everyday - Johnny Moore's Blazers
- Boogie Woogie Santa Claus - Mabel Scott
- Lonesome Christmas (Part 1) - Lowell Fulson
- Christmas Dreams - Johnny Moore's Blazers
- Christmas Eve Baby - Johnny Moore's Blazers
- Christmas Letter - Johnny Moore's Blazers
- Love for Christmas - Jackson Trio
- Lonesome Christmas (Part 2) - Lowell Fulson
- Christmas Blues - Jimmy Witherspoon
- Jingle Bell Hop - Jackson Trio
Various Artists, Home Alone Christmas (Clear with Red and Green Swirl "Christmas Party" Vinyl Edition) (originally released on Fox/Arista/BMG CD 07822-18972-2, 1993 -- reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Darlene Love - All Alone On Christmas
- Alan Jackson - Holly Jolly Christmas
- Fox Albert Choir - My Christmas Tree
- John Williams - Somewhere in My Memory
- Atlantic Starr - Silver Bells
- TLC - Sleigh Ride
- Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Christmas All Over Again
- Southside Johnny Lyon - Please Come Home for Christmas
- John Williams - Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas
- John Williams - Carol of the Bells
- Mel Tormé - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
- Lisa Fischer - O, Come All Ye Faithful
Cyndi Lauper, Merry Christmas...Have A Nice Life! (Clear with Red and White Swirl "Candy Cane" Vinyl Edition) (originally released on Epic CD EK-69611, 1998 -- reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Home on Christmas Day
- Early Christmas Morning
- Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
- Christmas Conga
- Minnie and Santa
- Feels Like Christmas
- Three Ships
- New Year's Baby (First Lullaby)
- December Child
- In the Bleak Midwinter
- Silent Night
Various Artists, Dr. Seuss' The Grinch (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (Clear with Red and White Swirl Vinyl Edition) (originally released on Columbia CD 19075902592 - reissued Real Gone Music, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Tyler the Creator
- I Am the Grinch - Tyler the Creator
- Christmas Is - Run D.M.C.
- Deck the Halls - Jackie Wilson
- Run Rudolph Run - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
- My Favorite Things - The Supremes
- Zat You Santa Claus? - Buster Poindexter and His Banshees of Blue
- Christmas in Hollis - Run D.M.C.
- Jingle Bells - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
- The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) - Nat King Cole
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Pentatonix
- A Wonderful Awful Idea - Danny Elfman
- Stealing Christmas - Danny Elfman
Very, very disappointing.......I always eagerly awaited Real Gone's Christmas releases but this year's slate really is upsetting.......but I did hear that the record labels have become hard to work with now when it comes to Christmas music......
Joe Marchese says
We hear you, Rich. Know that everybody at The Second Disc and our friends at Real Gone have been working year-round to keep the Christmas tradition alive as best we can...there are a number of obstacles, but we're not giving up hope that the future will bring more of the kinds of releases you love.
I hope the future is brighter for Real Gone Christmas releases - like the compilation CD that came out a few years back with rarities from the Firestone and Grant's compilation LP's.
Anyway the lack of releases has got me into finding hidden gems from the past on vinyl that I never was aware of before !! They are a lot of great, obscure Christmas releases from the 50's and 60's by orchestras and choral groups that I've never knew of before that are really fantastic !!
It's not entirely clear to me. Is the Brown version of "Merry Christmas Baby" on the CD the one that he first recorded with Johnny Moore's trio on Exclusive in 1947? I have a Rhino compilation with a 1956 re-recording, on Aladdin which just happens to be the year of release of the 1956 LP now being reissued on CD. I just want to be sure which version is on the '56 LP and the CD reissue -- Exclusive '47 or Aladdin '56? Thanks.
Joe Marchese says
Hi Ed, I've just confirmed with the label that the version on the CD is the Exclusive recording.
Yikes. I, too, have looked forward to RG's annual Christmas slate. Sadly, none of this year's titles interest me. Full disclosure, while I still have vinyl from my childhood as well as a working turntable, I'm just not into vinyl. I love and buy physical media, but it's cd or blu-ray for me. Here's hoping next year is on-par with previous years.
this is not the entire Christmas 2021 release from RGM is it? In years past there have been two or three waves of Christmas releases. At least that is how I remember it. I am not interested in any of these titles either and definitely not on vinyl, though it seems that is mainly what the label is focusing on lately.