The Old Sweet Songs of Christmas
Frank DeVol & The Rainbow Strings
1. Ring Christmas Bells/The First Noel/Jolly Old St. Nicholas 2:44
2. We Three Kings/Good King Wenceslas/O Tannenbaum 2:49
3. Silent Night/Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/O Little Town of Bethlehem 3:33
4. Joy To The World/Away In A Manger/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 3:18
5. It Came Upon The Midnight Clear/Deck The Halls 3:14
6. Adeste Fideles/O Holy Night 3:09
7. Here Comes Santa Claus/March of the Toys 2:17
8. The Christmas Song/Twelve Days of Christmas 3:17
9. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas/Toyland 2:59
10. White Christmas/We Wish You A Merry Christmas 2:52
11. Winter Wonderland/Skaters Waltz
12. Silver Bells/Jingle Bells 3:17
More than any other season of year, Christmas is a time of music. Music of reverence, music of gaiety, music of frivolity: all combine to provide a melodious expression of the joyous season. Frank De Vol’s generous collection of Christmas music ranges through the centuries, from the ancient majesty of Adeste Fidelis to the tuneful merriment of Here Comes Santa Claus, presenting hymns, carols and songs that create a glowing
musical tapestry of the holidays.
Mr. DeVol has chosen twenty-eight Christmas melodies, divided into two parts; the first consists of hymns and carols of primarily religious significance, the second of popular songs that have become seasonal classics. The hymns and carols embrace the English tradition with its robust echoes of pre-Christian eras (Good King Wenceslas, Deck the Hall with Boughs of Holly) the European tradition (Germany’s Silent Night, Holy
Night and O Tannenbaum, France’s The First Noel and Cantique de Noel or O Holy Night) and the magnificent American tradition of the nineteenth century which provided O Little Town of Bethlehem, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and others.
The popular selections naturally include Irving Berlin’s incomparable White Christmas, along with Victor Herbert’s March of the Toys and Toyland,
the jolly Skaters’ Waltz by Waldteufel and the irresistible Jingle Bells. Mr. DeVol has also included the old English carol Twelve Days of Christmas, which in recent years has virtually attained the status of a popular song. With his Rainbow Strings, he blends these numbers into a suite of Christmas music that beautifully complements the older carols and hymns.
In this program, Frank De Vol evokes the atmosphere of his other collections of old sweet songs. His arrangements are simple, melodic and straightforward, drawing attention to the music rather than to the presentation. One of the most versatile musicians in American music, Mr. DeVol is a conductor, arranger, composer and performer. He wrote the scores for the movies Pillow Talk, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and The Big Knife, and he was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work as conductor and actor on the Rosemary Clooney TV show. Mr. DeVol is an able performer on every instrument except the oboe, the English horn, the bassoon and the harp. He began his musical career at the age of nine, helping his father in the music library of the Canton, Ohio, Grand Opera House. Young Frank soon learned to play the violin and piano, later mastered several other instruments, and wrote his first score at sixteen. A lengthy period of arranging for various dance orchestras followed, until he moved to Hollywood to compose and conduct for movies, radio, television and recordings.
He joined Columbia Records in 1957.
COVER PHOTO: COLUMBIA RECORDS PHOTO
STUDIO — HENRY PARKER
THOUGHTS FROM THE KING:
Now when it comes to Christmas songs, we here at FaLaLaLaLa certainly like them old and sweet, and Mr. DeVol does not disappoint.
These recordings fall somewhere between classical and easy listening in my book. I suppose that they fall more in the latter camp, perhaps especially for their time, but some of the arrangements would not be out of place at a Pops concert today.
This album is part of a series of LPs that De Vol released on Columbia, including Old Sweet Songs, More Old Sweet Songs and The New Old Sweet Songs. He also composed and arranged for films and TV, as well as performing sometimes as an actor.
He can also claim another place of high esteem in the world of Christmas music. It is his orchestra that backs up Ella Fitzgerald on the magical Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas, which was recorded the same year as the album above.
I’ve had several requests for this one and I hope you enjoy it. I have also included a cover scan of the rerelease on Harmony records for those who might be more familiar with that image.
(I only just noticed last week that I put track one of this album on both the 2005 and 2006 ADVENTure In Carols.)
While originally available for download, this music has found new life in the digital realm and is available as CD, MP3, and/or streaming. So downloads are no longer available here.The King of Jingaling