DEAR JERRY: We have a radio station in the Tampa Bay area that plays nothing but Christmas music, and fortunately they have a huge library.
They just played a beautiful version of “Blue Christmas” that I never heard before. Since this is a lush, fully-orchestrated version, I was flabbergasted when the announcer said it was by the Beach Boys!
Believe me, this is in a style that is light years away from “Surfin U.S.A.,” “I Get Around,” and their many big hits.
Did the dee jay make a mistake, or is this really them? It doesn't sound like a group, but if it's them, where did the orchestra come from?
Whether my mood is blue or bright, “Blue Christmas” has always been my favorite holiday song, and now I have one more version to add to my collection. Is it available?
How far back does this song go, and is the original version the one by Elvis?
Harold Hanslik, Tampa, Fla.
DEAR HAROLD: Though credited to the Beach Boys, “Blue Christmas” is really a Brian Wilson solo. The 40-piece orchestra is under the direction of Capitol studio legend, Dick Reynolds.
This sumptuous track can be found on the original 45 (Capitol 5312), backed with “The Man with All the Toys,” or on “The Beach Boys' Christmas Album” (Capitol 2164).
If a CD is your preference, “Blue Christmas” is also on at least three easily available ones: “The Beach Boys' Christmas Album” (Capitol 077779508426); “Merry Christmas from the Beach Boys” (Capitol 077775662023); and “Christmas with the Beach Boys” (Capitol 79765-2).
Since Elvis recorded it in 1957, he has “owned” “Blue Christmas,” but Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson created the song nine years earlier.
The original recording came out in November 1948, by Doye O'Dell (Exclusive 65x). His release is backed with another Yule tune, “Dear Mr. Santa.”
Country music giant, Ernest Tubb, became the first to chart with “Blue Christmas.” His 1949 single (Decca 46186) even reached No. 1 on the C&W survey.
Thus far, more than 125 different artists have waxed “Blue Christmas.”
DEAR JERRY: Every since I got a PC, I have wanted some kind of deal where I could not only copy my vinyl favorites, but clean up the sound as much as technologically possible.
Now, years later, I have yet to make any headway. The deterrents are computer savy and cost.
My New Year's resolution is to get moving on this project. Any suggestions or direction would be appreciated.
Clarence Wilkins, Huntsville, Ala.
DEAR CLARENCE: I think this is one resolution you will keep. All you need is Audio Mentor.
After using this tool to restore many of my own music files especially MP3, WAV, and CDA I can definitely recommend this software.
Audio Mentor resolves all of the common vinyl flaws, most of which involve scratches, crackles, or hum.
Navigating the restoration and enhancement process is a breeze, made even easier by a “Training Wheels” option that walks the user through each step in plain English. No computer science degrees necessary here, just plug it in and go.
You should also be pleased with the cost. At just $59, Audio Mentor is a bargain.
For lots more information, visit enhancedaudio.com.
DEAR READERS: Next week, the Mr Music feature begins its 21st year in syndication. Our first weekly column appeared December 26, 1986. Thanks to everyone who has joined us over the years!