A Gene Autry Christmas Double Feature – Columbia 20377 & 38610 – 1947/1949

Old Time Blues wishes everyone a very merry Christmas! 1911 Postcard.

That special time of the year has come around once again.  Last year we celebrated with Harry Reser’s band, and what better way to celebrate this holiday season than with these four Christmas classics sung by our old pal Gene Autry.

Columbia 20377, in the hillbilly series, was recorded on August 28, 1947 and released on October 6 of the same year.  First up, Gene Autry sings his own Christmas classic, “Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)”.  On the reverse, he sings the charming “An Old-Fashioned Tree”.

Here Comes Santa Clause (Down Santa Claus Lane) and An Old-Fashioned Tree, recorded August 28, 1947 by Gene Autry.

The first side of Columbia 38610 was recorded on June 27, 1949, the second sometime in July of the same year.  Autry is accompanied by the Pinafores on both sides.  First, Gene sings Johnny Marks’ classic song about the beloved character created for Montgomery Ward in 1939, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  Next, on “If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas” Autry ponders how Santa Claus will make out in his sleigh it there’s no snow.  Ol’ Gene seems to have forgotten that the sleigh is flight capable.

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer and If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas, recorded June 27 and July, 1949 by Gene Autry and the Pinafores.

Decca 264 – Harry Reser and his Orchestra – 1934

A very Merry Christmas from me and my great-grandmother (pictured).

A very Merry Christmas from me and my great-grandmother (pictured).

On this Christmas of 2015 (’16, ’17), Old Time Blues, and myself, wish all of you readers a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!  May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.  Now, I ask you, wouldn’t Christmas music be a lot better with banjo?  I think so, and so does Harry Reser!

Decca 264 was recorded October 24, 1934 in New York City by Harry Reser and his Orchestra, with a vocal refrain by Tom Stacks and the Gang.

On this disc, Harry Reser’s band had the great distinction of introducing the now classic “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town”.

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, recorded

Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, recorded October 24, 1934 by Harry Reser and his Orchestra.

On the flip side, they play a fine rendition of “Jingle Bells”, with a little bit of “Bugle Call Rag” interpolated here and there, and a few sound effects reused from their radio theme “Clicquot”.

Jingle Bells, recorded

Jingle Bells, recorded October 24, 1934 by Harry Reser and his Orchestra.

Updated with improved audio on December 25, 2017.

Merry Christmas from Old Time Blues!

Christmas Greetings from the folks at Gennett Records, and at Old Time Blues!

Christmas Greetings from the folks at Gennett Records, and here at Old Time Blues!

The Lord's Prayer.

Bryan and the Lord’s Prayer.

2015 being the first Christmastime we’ve had at Old Time Blues, I think it would be appropriate to start a new tradition, one record to share every Christmas eve, similar to the way that the folks over at Shorpy post that same office party photograph every Christmas. Made specially by Starr Piano Company for the Christmas season, I think this is the perfect record to start such a tradition.

Now, on December 25, 2015, 2016, 2017, a whole year later, Old Time Blues continues in our yuletide tradition of celebrating a very William Jennings Bryan Christmas!

Gennett 5225 was recorded June 30, 1923 and February 1922, respectively, presumably both at the Gennett studio of the Starr Piano Company in Richmond, Indiana.

On this special Christmas Greetings disc, former Secretary of State, three time Democratic Presidential candidate, and esteemed orator William Jennings Bryan delivers a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.  I don’t know about you, but I cherish this rare opportunity to hear the voice of the “Great Commoner” on phonograph record.

The Lord's Prayer, recorded

The Lord’s Prayer, recorded June 30, 1923 by William Jennings Bryan.

On the back of this record, the Westminster Quartette sings a solemn a capella rendition of “Nearer, My God, To Thee”.

Nearer, My God, To Thee

Nearer, My God, To Thee, recorded February 1922 by the Westminster Quartette.

Updated with improved audio on December 25, 2016.