Discussion in 'A Small Circle of Friends: The Music Forum' started by Rudy, Dec 24, 2017.
From our own site:
“¡Something Festive!” for the Holidays!
The "expanded" ¡Something Festive!
Watch out for when "de weend blows thwoo de twees"!
Aaaaand, my holiday is now complete!
I've seen this album get mentioned so many times here over the years, and now I'll finally get to hear it for myself! Thanks Rudy!
Merry Christmas to you, and all here at A&M Corner!
Great album, and I intend to obtain a copy on LP !
Still very plentiful out there in the marketplace, even sealed.
Been meaning to get another one myself. I can stand to do another needle drop since I have better sources now, and the equipment is probably an order of magnitude better than what I had originally.
...AAAND it's December. Time to dig out the venerable !SOMETHING FESTIVE! album.
I've already sort of given this one a spin as every track is included in my annual Christmas compilation that I make for in-car use. And the whole thing played through as we wound our way back from Chicago, so in effect, we heard every track.
But I plan on giving the album a spin one of these days, soon. I have a great needledrop that serves very well. Great to listen to as the weend blows thwoo de twees.
And once again, right on schedule, my holidays are now complete.
The YouTube version of the album I posted last year is still up there and available!
I haven't done it yet, but I will definitely cue up my Rood-enhanced copy at some point.
It's been some time since I've bought anything new for Christmas music, outside of Herb's album from last year. I'll definitely be giving that some spins, of course, along with my yearly tradition of taking a long drive and listening to the TJB Christmas album in its entirety.
These days the bulk of my Christmas music listening comes via Sirius/XM. They are offering an impressive lineup of holiday channels this year -- 14, I think, including a Mannheim Steamroller one.
Mannheim Steamroller -- now there's an act, much of whose music has NOT dated well for me. I think Chip Davis is pretty much retired now, but I wish somebody would do some new versions of that style of Christmas music without all the '80s synths and syn-drums. We've seen their Christmas concert three or four times and while there are a few songs that still grab me -- such as "Silent Night" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel," among others -- a lot of it just hasn't aged well.
I've only had one of Chip's records, and it dates way back: Fresh Aire II, which was the second release by the Steamroller. I think I last listened to it over 15 years ago and even then it sounded quite dated. It was sort of a niche audiophile release back then--it really surprised me to see how the whole Mannheim Steamroller franchise grew tremendously out of something that flew past most people's radar initially.
I'd never heard of Mannheim Steamroller when they first appeared in the mid-80s. But I have a vivid memory of the first time I DID hear them.
Our radio station had gone through a series of program directors and at one point, I believe it was the late 80s, they hired a female to program the station for the first time. She had some different ideas of how to program an adult contemporary station and it showed in some of the selections that she picked for on-air play.
When it came to Christmas music that year, her selection of a Mannheim Steamroller track is what has stuck in my mind to this day. I recall driving to work one December morning that year. My route took me down US Highway 309 through Montgomery County in the Philadelphia suburbs. Rt 309 was one of those long-ignored roads in Pennsylvania that had been built in the 50s and had seen little in the way of upgrades since then, so it was full of patches, potholes, and poor, rough shoulders.
I remember passing south of the PA Turnpike junction when this Mannheim Steamroller song started.
The intro was very interesting and my ears perked up. The dramatic drum sounds 30 seconds in that heralded the main portion REALLY got my attention. The at the minute-and-a-half mark, I was suddenly overcome with the joy of this recording and actually had to pull over on the crappy shoulder of the road. I'm sure my jaw dropped, and the goosebumps were so strong that I simply couldn't drive. So I sat and listened in amazement until the track ended and I proceeded to work.
I got to work and the moment I saw Beth, our Program Director, I asked her who did that song, and she replied that it was Mannheim Steamroller. That day at lunch, I immediately went out to Sam Goody's record store and bought the two Christmas CDs that were out at that time.
There are some other Mannheim Steamroller tracks that really grabbed me, like "Veni Veni (O Come O Come Emanuel)" and "Silent Night" and "Deck The Halls". Those still ring my bells to this day. Others sounded great at the time, but have fallen out of favor.
Still, for a visit to goosebump-land, I can always count on "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". We went to see Mannheim Steamroller over in Lakeland a year or two ago and when they did that song, it just really overcomes me.
You've just described every road in Michigan.
I like that one too. Especially on the last run-through of the chorus where the full orchestra and band are just in top gear. I once made a MS Christmas compilation where I opened it up with the "rock" version "Merry Gentlemen," and ended it with the "baroque" version -- so if you played the CD on repeat, those two songs would sound just like they did on the album.
The first MS music I heard was a "sampler" compilation they had out, and it had one Christmas track on it ("Good King Wenceslas"), which I liked tremendously, and that led me to seek out the first Christmas album. I thought the first two albums were really good, and after that they got sort of spotty -- always at least one or two great moments in each, though.
Have you ever heard the album Fresh Aire V? The theme of that album is a trip to the moon. Outside of Christmas music, my big goosebump moment with Mannheim Steamroller is the last song, "Earthrise/Return." It reminds me of the feelings the astronauts may have had when they were heading home from the moon and saw the earth getting closer and closer. The orchestral part at the beginning is downright beautiful, but the unbridled joy and sheer jubilation in the second half of the song, especially when the choir kicks in, gets me every time. I'm getting a lump in my throat right now just thinking about it.