Monday, November 26, 2007

Music Review: Norman Luboff Choir

This is truly the most irritating time of the year. Well, OK, not quite that bad. It's just that the same Christmas (Holiday?) music is played so repetitively, even more so after Thanksgiving. By December 15 I'm quite ready for the regular repetitive tunes to be back, like tolerable neighbors. Something I discovered last year has softened this somewhat, nay, quite a bit. A very sweet discovery, or at least half of one. That is "Songs of Christmas" put out in the late 50's or early 60's by the Norman Luboff Choir:

Sadly (or is it marketing genius?) this gem of the Christmas season is paired with a horrific try at calypso music which is so dated that even karaoke fans would riot upon hearing it. I gladly skip through those first 12 painful tracks to get at the goodies.

I have fond if vague childhood memories of the choir's efforts. Many a night long ago I would sit by our colorfully-lit tree with these carols providing the background. A perfectly Minnesota "Lutheran" (Congregational actually) time. Occasionally when I would fall half-asleep those "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS" would jolt me, but for the most part these were and still are very soothing.

The combining of these 22 songs into 6 tracks is rather odd, but I'm used to it now. My favorite of the Luboff workings here are the combinations of "What Child is This", "Twelve Days of Christmas" and "Baloo Lammy"; "The Holly and The Ivy", "A La Nanita Nana", "Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine" and "Whence Comes this Rush of Wings"; and "Oh Tannenbaum", "O Holy Night" and "Coventry Carol". These songs, especially A La Nanita Nana (which my cousin Julianna can sing exquisitely), will always remind me of the great family gatherings at my aunt's and uncle's home, where singing was a part of the Christmas Eve festivities.

You don't hear music like this much anymore (on EITHER album). Times do change.

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