If you were one of the folks upset there was no hard copy of last year's 5-song EP "A Wonderful Christmas With Ashanti", the music gods have heard you (or at least the record label did). That set featured (as I understand it--remember I missed last year almost entirely) some music from a Lifetime movie, "Christmas In The City". This year, Ashanti's label--in association with Target--will add five new tracks to the set, resulting in the full-length Target exclusive "A Wonderful Christmas With Ashanti: Deluxe Edition". And, yes, that's going to be a hard copy CD. No word, yet, on what those 5 new songs might be. And, while we don't have an official release date, Target tends to put theirs out in mid-October. Just sayin'.
And our friends at the Sounds of Christmas have reported that Sandi Patty's new holiday set will be issued with exclusive editions at both Target and Cracker Barrel, containing bonus songs not available on the wide release version.
2. All I Want for Christmas Is You
3. That Silent Night (feat. Kenny Rogers)
4. Away in a Manger/Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
5. Bethlehem Sunrise
6. I Wish It Was Christmas All Year (feat. Anne Cochran)
7. Blue Christmas
8. Ol Saint Nick
9. Night Before Christmas (feat. John Oates)
10. Christmas in Brazil (feat. Tracy Silverman)
11. Holly, Ivy & Mistletoe
12. A Celtic Night (Oiche Nuin) (feat. Orla Fallon & John Trones)
13. Roses in December
14. Through the Night
15. BONUS TRACK: Clouds (a tribute to Zach Sobiech) (feat. Jana Kramer)
Coming up in November, we fans of Jazz will be getting a new Christmas album from Larry Carlton, "Four Hands And A Heart Christmas", which will continue the intimate style he offered on the original "Four Hands And A Heart". Anthony Hamilton first talked about a Christmas album in 2012. Well, we should finally get to hear the result of his labors, "Home For The Holidays", later this year. The Blind Boys of Alabama will reportedly release a Christmas album this season. Their first, 2003's "Go Tell It On The Mountain", was a complete joy to listen to. And Earth, Wind & Fire has a Christmas album in the works, though we may not get that one until 2015.
But this is far more fascinating to me. Back in the early days of the phonograph record, there was a company called Seeburg. Seeburg blazed a lot of new territory with this new format. If I'm not mistaken, they invented the first jukebox (certainly, it was their best selling product) and I know for a fact that they invented the first CD jukebox. They also invented a special player (and discs designed especially for that player) that businesses could use to play background music in their stores. Yes, Seeburg invented Muzak. Or at least its prehistoric forefather. The players had a larger spindle than you'd use for a 45 or LP. Thus, their records had a larger hole in the middle. And the records played at a speed of 16 2/3. At the slower speed, they could fit more music on each disc so they didn't have to be changed so often. To get a look at a Seeburg disc, check this post from our hibernating blog friend, Ernie. Seeburg's Christmas (and other) music was even more laidback than Muzak--as bland as Vanilla pudding--but its something that many Christmas music collectors have long found fascinating and irresistible. The records tend to be rare because they were intended to be returned to the company after three months to be replaced with a new batch. The returned discs were destroyed. Seeburg did later issue an LP of some of their background Christmas music. Ultimately, though, they went out of business. Somebody owns the rights to that music (or at least the arrangements), now, and they've decided to issue some of it. Or, who knows, maybe its all new stuff in the vintage Seeburg style. The MP3 version, it turns out, was released a few years back (I missed it). CD? We don't need no stinking CD. The Seeburg Christmas album is coming November 4 on beautiful, glorious vinyl! There's even one "original" in the mix--"Winter Happiness". Jeez, I hope its sized for a regular spindle and not that super-huge one from their old players.
1. I'll Be Home For Christmas
2. Winter Happiness
3. Frosty The Snowman
4. Sleigh Ride
5. The Christmas Song
6. Let It Snow
7. Angels We Have Heard On High
8. The Christmas Waltz
9. Winter Wonderland / Jingle Bells Medley
10. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
11. White Christmas
12. We Wish You A Merry Christmas