(December 13, 2006)

Owner/Webmaster of The Yule


Yuletide greetings to everyone out there as we get closer to the debut of our restored Yule Log presentation which premiers at 9:00 AM Christmas Day on WPIX-TV here in New York.

For this edition of “Chip’s Tips,” I am delighted that I can announce some new Christmas CD releases:

The first one is the 1957 RCA Victor LP by the Ames Brothers: “There’ll Always Be A Christmas.” It has been re-released by Taragon Records for the first time on CD, and with the original cover artwork! However, a caveat for the music purists out there: Taragon has electronically re-channeled the original Mono recording into Stereo. In the past, when record companies have attempted this electronic tampering, the results have been mixed. This case in no exception; to create the stereo effect they simply separated the voices from the music, which creates an unnatural sound: the voices exclusively on the left and the music exclusively on the right. Notwithstanding this however, what you do hear is at least clean, crisp and vibrant. What I recommend, if you have the ability, is what I did: Simply burn a copy of this CD onto a CD-R and re-channel it back to its original monophonic. The results are splendid; it sounds so much better.

The second is also an album from 1957: Gene Autry’s only original-release 12” Christmas album, which was originally released on Grand Prix Records This is the album with the spoken introductions by Mr. Autry before each song – except for the last 3, which were sung exclusively by the chorus. This 2006 reissue has been released by Varese-Sarabande Records; it has been digitally re-mastered and sounds great. It also includes the original artwork. In case you’re wondering, the 1964 Columbia/Harmony Records 12” LP release was a reissue of Mr. Autry’s 1950 10” LP, plus bonus songs he did with Rosemary Clooney in the 1950s that had been originally released as singles.       
The third is Lawrence Welk’s 1956 Coral Records LP entitled “Merry Christmas From Lawrence Welk.” This album was originally reissued by Pilz Records in 1993 with different artwork and the new title: “Christmas With Lawrence Welk.” However this reissue was an abridged version of the Coral LP with only 9 of the original 12 songs. It was also of substandard audio quality. It has now been reissued again, this time by Laserlight Records -- once again with different artwork and a new title: “A Wonnerful, Wonnerful Christmas with Lawrence Welk.” Let me add here, parenthetically, for those young folks who are not familiar with Lawrence Welk, and might not understand the title: Mr. Welk spoke with a German accent and he pronounced the word wonderful as wonnerful. Sadly this reissue is also an abridged version as they deleted the song “White Christmas.” The quality of the audio is also, like the Pilz reissue, highly inferior. I would only recommend this reissue CD if you don’t have the ability to burn the LP to a CD-R.

Finally, there is another gem out there that I can strongly recommend if you’re willing to spend the money: It is a Japanese import of Bing Crosby’s classic and legendary album “Merry Christmas.” It not only has the original Decca front and back cover artwork, but the CD itself has the original Decca record label that the first 12” version of this LP had on it when it was released in 1955 – very, very impressive. As far as the quality of the audio, it is absolutely outstanding – a superb job. It will cost you about $30, but it’s worth every penny.


Well, that’s all for now folks. Keep checking the site for the next installment of “Chip’s Tips.” Take care and keep the spirit of Christmas all year through. 

Lawrence F. “Chip” Arcuri