Various Artists – A Motown Christmas (1973)

FrontCover1A Motown Christmas is a Christmas music compilation album, originally released as a 2-LP set by Motown Records in 1973. It contains various seasonal singles and album tracks recorded by some of the label’s artists from the 1960s and early 1970s. Much of the music had previously been collected on the 1968 UK compilation Merry Christmas from Motown.

The music has several times been recycled into different packagings. (by wikipedia)

“I really did see mommy kissing Santa Claus/And I’m gonna tell my dad!,” a too-cute 1970 Michael Jackson tells his doubting brothers in what might be Xmas-pop’s most adorable moment. The rest of this 1973 double album is pretty fantastic too. Motown culls tunes from the Miracles, Supremes, Jacksons, Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder, with highlights ranging from the Miracles’ subtly grooving “Jingle Bells” to Wonder’s lovely “What Christmas Means to Me” to the Supremes’ awesomely pedagogic “Children’s Christmas Song,” featuring Diana Ross in Sunday school-teacher mode leading a kids choir. (by

MotownChristmasEvery holiday season, I marvel that every record collector – hell, every person – on the face of the planet doesn’t own A Motown Christmas.  A Motown Christmas is simply magnificent, but it tends to gather dust in record store bins. Perhaps this is because oldies radio stations play the same handful of Motown songs over and over and over, obscuring the fact that the label was an incredibly inventive and prolific hit factory for more than a decade. Containing nearly all the best Christmas tracks from Motown’s vaults, A Motown Christmas qualifies as a consumer’s delight, and it is far superior to the rest of Motown’s many other various artist Christmas packages, which tend to be brief and random in their selection (more below). I recommend it without reservation.

The important thing to remember about Motown’s Christmas songs is that they were more Motown than Christmas, translating the big beat and pop savvy of Hitsville USA into yuletide cheer. To name just a few of the highlights: the Temptations’ lush “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer;” the Jackson Five’s frenetic “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town;” and Stevie Wonder’s earnest “Someday At Christmas.”  In addition, two tracks are otherwise hard-to-find: Michael Jackson’s “Little Christmas Tree” (recorded specifically for the original 1973 LP), and Marvin Gaye’s gently pacifist “I Want To Come Home For Christmas” (recorded but not released in 1972, then added to the CD reissue). Even at their most maudlin – the Supremes tracks, for instance – these songs are hipper than almost anything else released for the holidays throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. (by

01. The Jackson 5: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (Coots/Gillespie) 2.26
02. Stevie Wonder: What Christmas Means To Me (Gaye/Gordy/Story) 2.28
03. The Temptations: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 2.59
04. Diana Ross & the Supremes: My Favorite Things (Hammerstein/Rodgers) 2.51
05. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: Deck The Halls/Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabell (Traditional) 4.07
06. The Jackson 5: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Connors) 3.02
07. Stevie Wonder: Ave Maria (Schubert) 3.55
08. The Temptations: Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 2.25
09. Michael Jackson: Little Christmas Tree (Clinton/Wayne) 3.39
10. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) 3.10  11. The Jackson 5: The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 2.54
12. Diana Ross & the Supremes: Joy To The World (Mason/WattsI 2.11
13. The Temptations: The Little Drummer Boy (Davis/Onorati/Simeone) 3.25
14. Diana Ross & the Supremes: Silver Bells (Evans/Livingston) 3.02
15. Stevie Wonder: Someday At Christmas (Miller/Wells) 2.52
16. The Jackson 5: Frosty The Snowman (Nelson/Rollins) 2:41
17. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: Jingle Bells (Pierpont) 2.48
18. The Temptations: My Christmas Tree (Webb) 3.20
19. Diana Ross & the Supremes: White Christmas (Berlin) 3.56
20. Stevie Wonder: One Little Christmas Tree (Miller/Wells) 2.45
21. The Jackson 5: Give Love On Christmas Day (Gordy, Jr./Mizell/Perren/Richards) 3.00
22. Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: It’s Christmas Time (Wonder) 3.29
23. Diana Ross & the Supremes: The Children’s Christmas Song (Freeman/Fuqua) 2.53
24. The Jackson 5: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Blane/Martin) 5.16





Harry Belafonte – To Wish You A Merry Christmas (1958)

FrontCover1To Wish You a Merry Christmas is an album by Harry Belafonte Recorded May 27, 31, June 1, 3 and 8 of 1958 in Hollywood. Conducted by Bob Corman. Millard Thomas and Laurindo Almeida, guitarists. Produced and directed by Ed Welker.

To Wish You a Merry Christmas was originally released in 1958 as RCA Victor catalog number LPM/LSP-1887. The original LP cover featured an illustration of the Three Wise Men and a listing of the songs in front.

The mournful “Star in the East” begins with Harry’s lone voice shrouded in echo. Later, he’s accompanied by subdued choral backing. The mood is sustained on “Gifts They Gave,” a performance with spare orchestral support. Yet another gentle rendering on “Son of Mary,” which is also known as “What Child is This?” and in secular form, “Greensleeves.” Millard’s guitar can be heard among orchestra instruments on the sprighgtly “12 Days.” Almeida’s mandolin is lead on “Jesus Sleeps.” A mixed chorus sings a bit of “Joys of Christmas” at the beginning of the medley. After Belafonte does “Bethlehem” they reprise “Joys” then lead on “Deck the Halls.” One more verse of “Joys” precedes Harry’s “Noël” solo. “Joys of Christmas” concludes Side One.

Belafonte“Mary’s Boy Child” was featured on many RCA compilations over the years. It was written in 1956 for Harry’s AN EVENING WITH BELAFONTE (LPM 1402) album by Jester Hairston. He also composed “Amen” and was a supporting actor on TV’s THE AMOS ‘N’ ANDY SHOW. Harry’s version was a #1 hit in Britain that same year. “Silent Night” is fairly orthodox stylistically and features twin guitars. The chorus fades in at the top of “Christmas is Coming.” They rondo as Harry sings lead on what is a variation of “A’soalin’,” as heard on the two record IN CONCERT Peter, Paul & Mary album. For those who prefer straight folk music, “Mary, Mary” is the best example here. It’s just voice and two guitars and is most serene. “Jehovah” has the same structure as “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum.” This set’s final medley is initially its most energetic track. No label or content mention is given to “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” When Belafonte sang the musical adaptation of Longfellow’s “Bells,” it was a brand new song. Since 1958, this one’s become a Yuletide standard. (by  Annie Van Auken)

AlternateFrontCoverAlternate frontcover

Laurindo Almeida (guitar)
Harry Belafonte (vocals)
Frantz Casseus (guitar)
Millard Thomas (guitar)
unknown orchestra conducted by Robert DeCormier

01. A Star In The East (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 4.17
02. The Gifts They Gave (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 4.00
03. The Son Of Mary (Greensleeves) (Traditional) 3:24
04. The Twelve Days Of Christmas (Traditional) 3.49
05. Where the Little Jesus Sleeps (Traditional)  2.07
06. Medley: 5.54
06.1. Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem (Brooks/Redner)
06.2.Deck The Halls (Traditional)
06.3.The First Noel (Traditional)
07. Mary’s Boy Child (Hairston) 4.24
08. Silent Night (Gruber/Mohr) 3.37
09. Christmas Is Coming (Traditional)
10. Mary, Mary (DeCormier) 3:24
11. Jehovah the Lord Will Provide (Carter/DeCormier/Okun) 2.59
12. Medley: 4.32
12.1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Traditional)
12.2, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Corman/Okun)
13. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (Cash/Longfellow/Marks) 3.05


Unknown Artists – Christmas Music – Sax Instrumentals (2008)

FrontCover1This entry is dedicated to all the unknown studio musicians who give es so much joy … like on this album.

And … this entry is dedicated to the most important meaning of christmas … PEACE !

And here´s a story about peace on christmas:

Christmas Truce of 1914

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

On Christmas Eve, many German and British troops sang Christmas carols to each other across the lines, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

WordlWarIChristmas1914Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the retrieval of the bodies of fellow combatants who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

During World War I, the soldiers on the Western Front did not expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but even a world war could not destroy the Christmas spirit.

Listen to this smooth jazz versions of christmas songs and remember, what christmas really means !

01. Joy to the World 5.16
02. Do You Hear What I Hear?  6.21
03. Silent Night 4.45
04. O Come All Ye Faithful 4.55
05. As A Child 4.12
06. O Holy Night 5.17
07. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 4.15
08. A Christmas Song 4.09
09. The Little Drummer Boy 4.50
10. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Reprise) 4.15
11. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear 4.41
12. Oh Christmas Tree 3.48
13. We Wish You A Merry Christmas 3.29



Foden´s Motor Works Band – A Christmas Offering (1974)

FrontCover1The origin of the Foden’s Band goes back to 1900 when the village of Elworth and Sandbach in Cheshire held a celebration after the Relief of Mafeking during the Boar War. Various local bands including the “Sandbach Volunteer Brass band” and the “Wheelock Temperance Band” took part but were delayed by the generosity of a local landlord who offered them free drinks. Things didn’t quite go to plan as when the bands were due to march to Elworth they decided to take advantage of the free drinks and stayed in Sandbach rather than march to Elworth for the return leg of the march. Outraged at being let down by the bands a group of prominent members of Elworth decided to form their own band for such occasions and so the Elworth Band (Later the ‘Elworth Silver Band’) was formed.

Unfortunately a difference of opinion about performances in the area to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII on the 26 June 1902 (Postponed until 9 Aug 1902) again meant the disbandment of the Elworth Band only to be resurrected by Edwin Foden of the local Steam Wagon Works. Now under the name ‘Foden Motor Waggon Works Band’ (Later the ‘Foden Motor Wagon Works Band’ and finally the ‘Foden Motor Works Band’) they had modest ambitions for the first few years, but in 1908 after a fundamental reorganization had taken place they achieved Championship Section status, a prestigious position that has been maintained ever since.

FodensMotorWorksBand011914 Fodens in Prussian uniformThe band has been delighted to play by Royal Command on four occasions: in 1913 for King George V and Queen Mary on a visit to Crewe (23 Apr 1913), in 1938 at Windsor Castle for King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth (24 April 1938) and again on the 29 Aug 1940 this time at the Crewe Alexandra Football Ground in Cheshire. Most recently on the 3 June 1983 the band had the honour of playing for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

In wartime the band toured Europe for ENSA (1939-45) and in peacetime it has toured Canada, South Africa and Israel.
By the 1980’s lorry making in Sandbach was on a downward turn and the company which had for many years sponsored the band sold its assets on the 13 October 1980 to the “Paccar Company of Seattle”, USA. They decided that the band were a great asset to the company and decided to keep its sponsorship going.

Two years later it was a different story. Now renamed the “Sandbach Engineering Company” they told Allan Littlemore (Band Manager) that they had decided to withdraw funding for the famous Brass Band on the 31 December 1982.
With National coverage of the situation and an appeal by Harry Mortiner for a savour the band’s prayers were answered by Richard Carlton Tickell who had seen the coverage and decided to do something about it.

FodensMotorWorksBand02As owner of OTS (Overseas Technical Service) he took over the sponsorship of the band and now the Fodens OTS Band were back in business. His involvement was short lived as he died on the 14 December 1982 and his family inherited the band. However due to problems with the company in June 1986 they decided that funding would cease and a new sponsor had to be found.

In July 1986 the band accepted sponsorship from the Britannia Building Society becoming the Britannia Building Society Foden Band. However after a member of the public at a concert at Dunham Massey (9 -10 July 1988) standing next to Managing Director Michael Shaw of the Britannia Building Society, said that she had always enjoyed listening to the “Fodens” brass band. It was considered that the name of Foden over rode the sponsor’s name and so it was decided to drop it while they sponsored the band.

The band has maintained its position as one of the country’s leading bands, becoming BBC Band of the Year in 1990 and 1992 and European Champions in 1992, French Open Champions in 1998 along with becoming All England Masters Champions in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995.
In 1997 the band accepted new sponsorship from the French Instrument manufacturer Antoine Courtois that also allowed the band to use its original name of Fodens. Making their contest debut with their new name due on the 6 Sept 1997 at the “British Open Championships”, Symphony Hall, Birmingham it was unfortunately delayed the funeral of Princess Diana. This meant that the 13 Sept 1997 concert at Huddersfield Town Hall saw them with their new name of Fodens (Courtois) Band.

FodensMotorWorksBand03In 2003 the band became the Fodens Richardson Band when Richardson Developments of Oldbury, Birmingham took over the Sponsorship.
By the end of 2007 and the start of 2008 the Foden band were again looking for sponsorship as the Richardson association came to an end. Instead of one major sponsor the band has become self-financing and has joined a number of organisations who have become “Partners” in the band.

Let´s drink the hard working people, let´s drink to the salt of the earth … and listen another wonderful Britsch brass album with beautiful tunes for christmas !

FodensMotorWorksBand05Still alive and well: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London (2015)

Foden´s Motor Works Band conducted by Rex Mortimer
Northwich & District Festival Choir conducted by Cyril Dawes

01. Christmas Prelude (Traditional) 4.02
02. All On A Christmas Morning (Amers) 5.50
03. A Christmas Offering (Golland) 11.31
04. Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Mendelssohn) 2.42
05. Carol Of The Bells (Bearcroft/Mawey) 1.27
06. Sans Day Carol (Traditional) 3.03
07. Jingle Bells (Traditional) 1.50
08. Away In A Manger (Kirkpatrick) 2.12
09. Hail To The Lord’s Annointed (Ball/Montgomery) 5.08
10. Ring Out Wild Bells (Fletcher) 4.13
11. Drummer Boy (Simeone/Onorati/David) 2.23



Rondò Veneziano – The Magic Of Christmas (2001)

FrontCover1Rondò Veneziano is an Italian chamber orchestra, specializing in Baroque music, playing original instruments, but incorporating a rock-style rhythm section of synthesizer, bass guitar and drums, led by Maestro Gian Piero Reverberi, who is also the principal composer of all of the original Rondo Veneziano pieces. The unusual addition of modern instruments, more suitable for Jazz, combined with Reverberi’s arrangements and original compositions, have resulted in lavish novel versions of classical works over the years. As a rule in their concert tours, the musicians, mostly women, add to the overall Baroque effect wearing Baroque-era attires and coiffures. (by wikipedia)

Two comments from amazon customers:

If you love their music than this is a great holiday addition and you will look forward to playing this every year

The music or the song expresses the true personality, the ego of each of us …… I like different types of music or favorite songs based on how it presents the day ….. This is the “Only my kind” that has no time.

Rondò Veneziano conducted by Gian Piero Reverberi

01. Ave Maria (Gounod/Schubert) 4.54
02. Christmas Suite (Medley) ( 5.59
02.1. Kommet ihr Hirten
02.2. O du fröhliche
02.3. The Little Drummer Boy
02.4. Fröhliche Weihnacht überall
03. Deserti Lontani (Reverberi/Pavesi) 3.52
04. Donna Lucrezia (Reverberi/Giordano) 2.59
05. Incontro (Reverberi/Pavesi) 2.25
06. Laudamus Jesus (Reverberi) 3.07
07. Litorali (Reverberi) 5.11
08. Miniature (Reverberi/Pavesi) 3.04
09. Sinfonia Di Natale (Reverberi) 4.48
10. Nonna Favola (Reverberi/Pavesi) 2.54
11, Oboe D’amore (Reverberi/Giordano) 2.37
12. Petit Papa Noël (Martinet/Eschig/Paris) 2.05
13. Stille Nacht (Silent Night) (Gruber) 3.24
14. Suite Di Natale (Medley) (Traditional)
14.1. In Dulci Jubilo
14.2. Süßer die Glocken nie klingen
14.3. Leise rieselt der Schnee
14.4. Macht hoch die Tür
15. Weihnacht Suite (Medley)
15.1. Alle Jahre wieder
15.2. Gloria In Excelsis Deo
15.3. Tochter Zion
15.4. Adeste Fideles
16. White Christmas (Berlin) 3.18


Odetta – Christmas Spirituals (1988)

FrontCover1This album was recorded in 1988 at White Crow Audio in Burlington, Vermont. It was the first time that Odetta (Gordon) had done a studio recording in over fifteen years. She put her trust in a fledgling record producer, Rachel Faro, and brought in bassist Bill Lee to rerecord the tracks she had done almost twenty years previously for Vanguard Records (the album is often assumed to be a reissue of the old Vanguard recording but it is actually a completely new recording). Initially released on Alcazar Records, it went on to win the INDI Award for Best Seasonal Release and has brought joy to thousands of listeners throughout the world.

Surrounding Odetta’s remarkable voice and songs are bassists Bill Lee and Lincoln Goines, with percussionist Carole Steele. The songs are mainly traditional with two originals by Odetta and new lyrics by Rachel Faro on “O Jerusalem”. Odetta herself wrote the profound and moving liner notes (see below) and the cover is a collage created by artist Colleen Patterson, depicting the Black Madonna by the River Jordan in Egypt, with the Three Kings and three shepherds from various cultures and races in attendance. It was a great honor to work with Odetta and we still feel the power of her truth, nobility and love around us.

Odetta’s husky voice is often stunning, both in her a cappella performances and her songs with accompaniment. She says these songs are traditional spirituals, neither purely African nor American, but songs that emerged from the sufferings of slavery. Powerful stuff. (by Dennis MacDonald)

Lincoln Goines (bass)
Odetta (vocals, guitar)
Bill Lee (bass)
Jeff Salisbury (percussion, drums)
Carol Steele (percussion)

01. Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow (Traditional) 1.45
02.  What Month Was Jesus Born In? (Traditional) 2.25
03. Mary Had A Baby (Traditional) 1.52
04. Somebody Talking ‘Bout Jesus (Traditional) 2.05
05. Virgin Mary Had One Son (Traditional) 3.08
06. Go Tell It On The Mountain (Traditional) 2.01
07. Shout For Joy (Traditional) 2.31
08. Poor Little Jesus (Traditional) 1.56
09. O Jerusalem (Traditional/Faro) 2.51
10. Ain’t That A-Rockin’ (Traditional) 3.20
11. If Anybody Asks You Gordon) 2.00
12. Beautiful Star (Gordon) 2.54
13. Children Go Where I Send Thee (Traditional) 2.45