The RCA Records Label is a
unit of BMG Entertainment.
Manufactured and Distributed by BMG Entertainment,
1540 Broadway, New York, New York, 10036-4098,
United States of America.
CD ERRATA & ADDENDA
"Frosty The Snowman" was
originally released in 1953 and not 1958 as listed within this compilation.
This song was recorded by Perry in May of 1953 along with the other monaural
songs included here excepting only "It's Beginning To Look Like
Christmas" which is sometimes listed as "It's Beginning To Look a
Lot Like Christmas". All of the May, 1953, recordings, excepting only
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", were first released within the
10"LP format under the title "Around the Christmas Tree" and
this album was combined in 1956 to form the 12" format LP "Perry
Como Sings Merry Christmas Music".
The suggestion that Perry's original 1953
rendition of Mel Tormé's composition "The Christmas Song" has seldom
been heard is erroneous. All of the songs from "Around the Christmas
Tree" were incorporated within the 1956 RCA Victor compilation and
again in the 1961 RCA Camden compilation through to the compact disc
compilation in 1987. It is probably more common than Perry's stereo
version recorded in 1959. The author is no doubt confusing Perry's 1954 single
version of "Home For the Holidays" which has seldom been heard in
it's original form. Perry's 1959 stereo version of this song, with one
additional verse, " . . . has appeared in more RCA Victor compilations
than any other Christmas song," and indelibly associated with Perry at Christmas.
Another Christmas recording uniquely associated with Perry, not even mentioned
here, is "The Story of The First Christmas" which he also recorded
twice, once in the early '50s and then again in 1959, and many times enacted
within his Christmas television specials.
Very few people are aware that Perry's
1967 Christmas song "Love Is a Christmas Rose" was in fact composed,
in part, by Early Shuman who is also credited with Perry's 1962 hit
"Caterina" and one of his most enchanting Italian songs "Un
giorno dopo l'altro (One Day Is Like Another)" which he recorded in
Italy. Both "Love Is a Christmas Rose" and "Christmas
Bells" were co-produced by Chet Atkins and Andy Wiswell and it's probably
that the instrumentals were recorded in Nashville with vocal tracks added
later in New York. Perry recorded in Nashville in February, 1965, and again
during the summer of that year, but he may not have returned to Nashville
until January, 1973, for sessions relating to his "And I Love You
Perry recorded with "The
Satisfiers" during the mid '40s and while they may have appeared
with him on radio, there's no indication that they ever made the transition to
television. They did record two Christmas songs with Perry in 1946, one of
which was RCA Victor's very first recording of "Winter Wonderland",
often sited as a million-seller for Perry, and the other was Perry's first
recording of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town". The latter song
was deleted from the "Merry Christmas Music" compilation when it was
re-released on the RCA Camden label in 1961. The Fontane Sisters joined
Perry in early December, 1948, when they recorded a cappella one of Perry's
most obscure novelty songs titled "N'Yot N'Yow ( The Pussycat Song)"
and it was they who were very much associated with Perry's early television
broadcasts and studio recordings until the formation of a separate choral
group by Ray Charles during the early '50s. Perry is said to have coined the
name "The Ray Charles Singers" during the early '50s when he
spontaneously introduced them on one of his shows. The name stuck and
"The Ray Charles Singers", along with director Charles, would remain
with Perry for more than forty years. Mitchell Ayres came on board with Perry
in 1949 and continued through to the spring of 1963 when Perry discontinued
his weekly TV series.
Any reasons for RCA's Andy Wiswell
not having included "Some Children See Him" within their final
release of Perry's 1968 Christmas album would simply be speculative. Apart
from "White Christmas", Perry recorded very few songs firmly
associated with Bing Crosby. Bing had popular renditions of for both
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" and "Some Children See Him" at
about the same time Perry recorded this album and it wouldn't be surprising if
Perry chose not to compete with him out of respect. Again, highly speculative,
but interesting nevertheless.
Perry's first recording of "Ave
Maria" in 1949, recorded on location at the Church of Incarnation, New
York City, was first released on a 12" 78 rpm recording. His second
recording was done at the Manhattan Center in 1959 with the Male Voices of the
Robert Shaw Chorale and recorded in full stereophonic sound. That second
recording has only been released in stereo once and this compilation would
have been an excellent venue for it's re-release in stereo. Perry's 1968 recording
is a fine example but it's also very common.
For the record, Perry recorded his
Christmas Concert at the Point Theater in Dublin, Ireland, in late January,
1994. The full recording of this concert is available on compact disc, CD-ROM
( excerpts ), VHS videotape and laserdisc, but not on the RCA Victor or BMG
label. Had this recording been done by BMG it would have marked a full 50
years with the label which would have marked an extraordinary relationship. As
it turned out, Perry's last recordings are the only ones in over fifty years
not recorded with the RCA Victor Records Label!
Nine selections within this compilation
have been re-mixed by Mike Hartry ( those marked with a red asterisk ) as
opposed to a simple remastering. Re-mixing involves a possible
alteration of the recording mix from the original multi-channel sources and it
would appear that he has done this with considerable care and sensitivity. In
some cases, he may have used an alternate 'take' from the original release.
For those familiar with the original recordings, this will require some
careful listening. All other tracks appear to be off the shelf masters.
It's not very often that RCA Victor made the mistake
of printing Perry's picture in mirror image, as the label has done with this
compilation, but it has happened in the past. The most memorable was Perry's
first RCA Camden release in 1958 titled "Dream Along With Me". When this was
pointed out to Perry by one of his fans in New York, Perry is said to have
stared at it for several minutes in puzzlement. He then waived over Mickey
Glass, his long-time manager and personal assistant, and exclaimed, "Leave it to
RCA!" As this fan recently pointed out, Perry became so infuriated that he
forced RCA to reprint the cover. Will BMG do the same with this cover? Probably