Golden Christmas Favorites
The Ray Bloch Singers
Compose S 98033
- Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (02:27)
- I’ll Be Home For Christmas (02:40)
- Winter Wonderland (02:47)
- White Christmas (03:04)
- Sleigh Ride (03:17)
- The Christmas Song (03:25)
- Home For The Holidays (02:25)
- Silver Bells (03:21)
- Christmas (02:20)
- Blue Christmas (01:57)
THOUGHTS FROM THE KING
Ray Bloch was a composer, arranger, and bandleader who had a long career in radio and television. He and his orchestra were featured on radio and TV shows like The Milton Berle Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, drama productions by Orson Welles, and his own radio show The Bloch Party. Perhaps, most notably, he was the arranger and conductor for the entire 24 year run of The Ed Sullivan Show. He and his orchestra put out several Christmas albums in the 1940s and 1950s and he was listed as a “Musical Consultant” on Ed Sullivan’s 1967 album Music of Christmas.
This album was released on the budget Compose label, which was pretty notorious for its lack of credit information for many of its releases. But a bit of sleuthing on Discogs, looking at catalog numbers, puts this somewhere in the 1969-1970 range. I’m going to go with 1970 for no particular reason. It’s interesting to see that the marketing folks used a bit of chicanery on the front cover to lure casual album buyers. Looking at the song names on the cover, one sees artist names like Bing Crosby, Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, etc. So it could be easy to quickly glance and think this is a compilation of tracks by these artists. Now it does say “The Ray Bloch Singers perform songs made famous by…” right at the top. But I feel pretty sure there were folks who bought it without seeing that. Were they disappointed? Who knows.
The music is well-produced big-band/small jazz combo arrangements with mostly male lead vocals (uncredited) and ensemble. The recording is clean and crisp. I imagine one would expect quality from somebody who worked for people like Gleason and Sullivan. Still, it’s interesting that this is on a budget label without much background information. But I imagine folks listening around the turntable when it came out probably enjoyed the pleasant arrangements and quality vocals. Part of me suspects that some of the singers could, in fact, be The Mike Sammes Singers who often performed uncredited or under different names for different record labels. Listening to “Silver Bells” on this record definitely makes me wonder, given some of the voices and the closeness of the arrangement to that on the Sammes Singers’ own Christmas album on Compose. Let me know what you think…
So, download and listen to Golden Christmas Favorites by The Ray Bloch Singers.
NOTE: This is an album that I transferred many years ago, before I was in the habit of scanning the back cover and record labels. I include images from Discogs in the package for completeness sake.
Somebody contacted me looking for the album “Christmas… American Style” by The Carrollers [sic]. Apparently it was put out by the bigN Discount Department store. I said that I hadn’t heard of it but I’d keep an eye out for it. As luck would have it, a mint sealed copy showed up on Ebay. The cover looked like the kind of cheesy 1970s stuff I love, so I got it. It showed up and I put it on the turntable. Sure enough, the music was exactly the same as the Ray Bloch Singers album above. Lots of record companies repackaged their music (often changing artist names/credits) for different customers, so I wasn’t surprised.
Since it was a mint unopened copy I decided to rip it. I think it sounds better than the Ray Bloch Singers rip above, so I’m including it here as well. Grab one or grab ’em both. Whatever makes you happy!