Sing A Song of Christmas by The Swingalongs

The Swingalongs

 

FaLaLaLaLa Featured Album 

The Swingalongs
Sing A Song of Christmas
Music For Pleasure MFP 50088
1973

Download the album in a single zip file.

SIDE ONE:

01-1 Jingle Bells/God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/The Holly & The Ivy  4:25
02-1 While Shepherds Watched/See Amid The Winter’s Snow/One In Royal David’s City/Hark The Herald Angels Sing  8:06
03-1 Ding Dong Merrily On High/We Three Kings of Orient Are/I Saw Three Ships  5:11

SIDE TWO:

04-2 Silent Night/Away In A Manger/The First Nowell  6:59
05-2 Good King Wenceslas/Christians Awake/O Come All Ye Faithful  5:02
06-2 O Little Town of Bethlehem/It Came Upon The Midnight Clear/Good Christian Men Rejoice/Angels From The Realms of Glory  7:29

LINER NOTES:

Sing a Song of Christmas
The Swingalongs present
20 non-stop
Christmas songs

Here are 20 of your favourite carols, presented in a fresh and exciting new way that tempts you to join in and sing along with them.  Arranged and produced by the same team that made TIJUANA CHRISTMAS one of the biggest-selling Christmas albums of all time, this record not only sets your favourite carols to modern rhythms, but adds a host of beautifully-phrased voices as well.  The result — a quite unique blend of Christmas music that you will want to listen to, dance to and sing along with time and time again.

Arranged and Directed by Alan Moorhouse
Produced by Bill Wellings
1973 A B.W.D. Production

Toys supplied by Happicraft, The Centre, Feltham, Middlesex

Sleeve Design: Peter Marriott
Photograph: Colin Glanfield/Splinter Group

Printed and made in Great Britain by Garrod & Lofthouse International, Ltd.

This STEREO record can be played with a suitable MONO pick-up.

THOUGHTS OF THE KING:

In my never-ending quest to comb the globe for new and interesting Christmas music it is sometimes difficult to come up with something new that hasn’t been seen or heard before.  In trolling through Goodwills, Salvation Armies and the cornucopia of the internet, there are albums that I see over and over.  Lots of people originally bought them and lots of people got rid of them.  Every once in a while I hear of something that I never knew existed.  Last year the Glad Singers were it.  How could I never have seen this before?!  And then how could I not bring it back to the world from which it was lost…?

This year’s candidate in the where-the-heck-did-that-record-come-from category is Sing A Song of Christmas by The Swingalongs.

Apparently this one did quite well across the pond in the UK at the time but probably never made it to the New World.  I discovered this little gem upon reading something at Vinyl Vulture, which listed a number of Christmas records I didn’t know of (but have subsequently acquired).  They were most astonished by the toys shown on the cover, especially the Action Man Scorpion Tank (Action Man being the UK equivalent of good ol’ American hero GI Joe).  And indeed, the supplier of the toys is given credit on the record while the singers are not.

Tijuana ChristmasThe album has a pedigree worth noting.  It is the follow-up to that Christmas collector’s favorite, Tijuana Christmas.  And so how does it stack up against its big brother?

This is classic late 60’s/early 70’s go-go boot pop music.  This was a time when the uptight set was trying to understand that crazy new music the kids were listening to.  It led to countless albums of Beatles covers by syrupy string orchestras (think Hollyridge Strings) and weird EZ orchestras.  There was a coterie of the music biz who saw dollar signs in updating classic songs for “today’s kids” while they simultaneously watered down “today’s hits” for older folks.  And so the liner hear can boast that this album gives a “fresh and exciting new” take on those stodgy old carols mum and dad made you sing in church.

By today’s standards, of course, the arrangements are hopelessly of their time, very Now Sound.  Like many albums of this era, the songs are given a fresh, new “rock” sound with judicious placement of drums and electric bass.  This is filled in with some more traditional instrumentation–organ, chimes, vibes, and a smattering of horns.  The latter, however, are not so peppy and percussive as those on Tijuana Christmas.  This is more subdued in a way.  Part of this is, perhaps, that the material is (with the exception of secular fave, Jingle Bells) all sacred carols.

But there is something enticing about these folks trying to make centuries-old carols up-to-date.  There is a sense of freshness in their approach.  They’re not just coasting through the old arrangements.  The bass gets groovy in a few places, the music swells.  You wanna shake your hips a little.  It’s a bit “Up With People” in places, but fun and warm and charming.

Give a little listen and let me know what you think.

5 Comments

  1. djsmmcp

    This is a nice way to start the season.I’m kind of a stodgy traditionalist in some ways, but I especially love how "Ding Dong Merrily On High" really rises above the ordinary, yet keeps the spirit of the traditional.  I’ve never quite heard that song arranged this way, but it’s very catchy.Good stuff!

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