Waring thin

December relics, part two

This time of year I spend a lot of time standing at the intersection of Memory Lane and Frustration Freeway.

Yesterday, I took you on a tour of my aging crèche. Last December you kindly indulged me in accounts of favorite holiday movies (including a really old one), traditional cookies and some pleasant and less pleasant family rituals.

Today, I remember Fred Waring.

From my youngest days, the definitive holiday album in our house was The Sounds of Christmas, by Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians (sometimes called His Pennsylvanians). I’m pretty sure this record made its way into our home about the same time I did.

You can go online and read all about Fred Warning who, by the way, was also promoter, financial backer and namesake of the Waring Blendor. Yes, with an o.

There were songs on that album that you don’t hear—at least I haven’t heard—on other collections:  “I Wonder as I Wander,” “Go Where I Send Thee,” for example. I always loved his rendition of “Caroling, Caroling.”

The pops and cracks of the LP are essential elements of the audio experience, and they transferred well when my mother copied the record to a cassette tape for me one year. Short of digging a boom box out of the basement, though, there’ll be no easy way for me to enjoy The Sounds of Christmas this year.

Amazon would be happy to sell me a CD version for 99 dollars. Another site offers a CD copy of the LP for $24, but “to abide by copyright laws, you must own the vinyl record to buy the CD. If you don’t already own the record, you can purchase one with your CD.” I wonder (as I wander) what proof they require that an LP exists somewhere in our family.

While browsing the Fred Waring shelves in cyberspace, I was offered an opportunity to acquire a Waring carol as my ringtone. Having never tapped into an online ringtone, I stupidly completed three steps on a site called Jamster which, by its name, should have clued me in that they’d have no Fred Waring. Indeed, despite the come-on, they didn’t and my mobile account was charged $9.99. I then spent 20 minutes on the phone with a gentleman in the Eastern hemisphere who finally agreed to send me a hard copy refund check via snail mail.

But I digress. Literally.

What’s your definitive holiday album?


Filed under Hearth and Home, Holidays, Music

8 responses to “Waring thin

  1. chris

    My family’s pathetic attempt to be “Hip” gave me a funny appreciation for the Up With People Christmas album which also features “I wonder as I wander.”

    • I’m trying to imagine that. May need to look for it online. I used to giggle at their hand gestures, when they sang their signature “Up with People” song.

      • Kathleen

        Now I will be torn by which song to play in my head all day and I am amazing myself that I remember so many of the words to “Up with People”. The Jewel Christmas album has a nice version of “I Wonder as I Wander” as well as several other favorites.

  2. I actually listened to a clip of the Jewel version while I was looking for Fred Waring on iTunes. No wonder I never get anything done.

  3. Fred Waring is priceless. Well, not in the monetary way.

  4. Mom

    The Fred Waring album was brought home the same day as the creche, and was the first album ever played on our brand new cherry cabinet STEREO (which had just been purchased about a week before!) I stand amazed that you are harkening back to that first Christmas of yours. You couldn’t have been more than a couple of weeks old.
    Could it be that you’ve just been rebirthed or something equally off the wall? I
    do I know you are bringing back a host of fbeautiful memories for your Mom.
    Standing in front of the stereo and hearing the train sounds move from left to right. Just doesn’t get any better, I’m afraid.

  5. I loved hearing George Beverly Shea sing “I wonder as I wander.” And what about Bing Crosby’s album? I don’ think I remember Fred Waring. I might have to go on YouTube.

  6. Polly

    I could have sworn I had Fred Waring on some Christmas album. I’m thinking the Time-Life 2 CD set. “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was on there, at least. I searched my iTunes, but they don’t credit him as the artist, although it is certainly him. I know I have at least that song.

    As for ringtones, try phonezoo… free. I downloaded the Airplane quote “Stop calling me Shirley” from there, among others. I have ringtones for all of the regular callers — including an opera singer for Lisa — a funny one.

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