Celtic Woman announced that they've been hitting the studio, recently, recording a new Christmas album to be released this fall. "Home For Christmas" is technically the group's fourth Christmas album, though it could be argued that their first, "A Christmas Celebration" from 2006, was their only real full-scale effort. 2008's "A Celtic Family Christmas" was only an EP (more or less exclusive to Target stores) and even that was split with The High Kings, a companion group. And last year's "A Celtic Christmas" (which I missed entirely) was only released in Germany and featured mostly recycled tracks. On the flipside of that coin, of course, songs associated with Christmas often turn up on Celtic Woman's non-holiday releases, such as their most recent "Believe" which contained both "Ave Maria" and "A Spaceman Came Traveling".
So far, there have been no details about "Home For Christmas", though it is known that new mother Lisa Kelly will not be participating in either the album nor the upcoming "Christmas Celebration" tour. Lisa has been replaced, at least temporarily, by Susan McFadden.
Fans are now on about the business of speculating which holiday songs Celtic Woman may include on "Home For Christmas". Needless to say, however, many are hopeful of getting a fair shot, finally, at the two new songs that were included on last year's German release, "Angel" and "There Must Be An Angel".
Although records from the Peter Pan label may be more highly sought, there is no disputing that Golden Records were fairly ubiquitous. Founded in 1948, Golden Records would often (if not always) be accompanied by a little book. Combining song and story was their schtick (though not one they invented, by any means). Celebrity voices were another common feature. What parent could resist a song and story featuring the voice of Captain Kangaroo, for example? Of course, if your house was anything like mine, you don't recall ever having seen a book--just a lot of loose yellow vinyl records lying everywhere that were too scratched up to play properly anyway. Indeed, my personal most vivid memory of Golden Records was playing James Bond in the back yard and nearly decapitating my brother as I "auditioned" for the role of Odd Job. Thank God I had lousy aim; the record missed my brother but lodged a one inch groove in the side of the house. (Kids, I cannot say this strongly enough--do NOT try this at home).
Last year, the Verse Music Group purchased the rights to the Golden Records catalog. And they put out a nice little digital collection of some of the original vintage music, remastered of course, called "A Little Golden Christmas (Volume One)". Neat, huh?
But the new owners of Golden Records aren't content to simply release the back catalog; that wouldn't be in keeping with their current slogan "The Magic Continues". What they've taken to doing, and what they will do for the upcoming "A Very Special Golden Records Christmas", is take the instrumental tracks as originally recorded (remastered) and combined them with the voices and singing of today's celebrities. In essence, it's the same only different. To some folks, I'm sure this will be like colorizing old black and white movies (boo); but, to others, I'm sure this will be like colorizing old black and white movies (yeah!). It's all in how you look at it. "A Very Special Golden Records Christmas" will be released October 16 and is available for pre-order now. And here's a brief teaser to give you an idea of how this concept sounds in practice.
"Holidaydream" (one word, apparently) is scheduled for release on October 23. It's the experimental Indie group's first full-length of any kind since 2007, so you kinda have to dig the optimism of a "Volume One" designation. But, being as the Spree hold annual Christmas shows (featuring everything from bell choirs to zoo demonstrations to tap-dancing grandmas), even when they aren't musically doing anything else, you could be forgiven for thinking that their whole careers have been leading to this moment.
Arranged as only the Spree can, the record features 10 absolutely original versions of holiday standards (including "Silver Bells", "Do You Hear What I Hear?", and "Winter Wonderland"), two original instrumentals, and a rousing rendition of John & Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)".