“Ring those Christmas bells.”

My Pop-pop was telling me about this guy Fred Waring. We were at my Aunt Edwina’s house, and one of Waring’s songs came on iHeartRadio or something. My Aunt and I had no clue about it, so we were like, “Pop-pop who’s this?” He got all into it: “This is Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. He had a TV show in the ’50s … .” I don’t remember half of what Pop-pop said, but I remembered the name, Fred Waring, so I picked this record up when I saw this record at the Salvation Army last year.

I would like to recommend Fred Waring’s The Sounds of Christmas to you because it’s like unearthing a lost trove of forgotten Christmas Carols. Looking down the track list, one my age might recognize maybe six or seven of the album’s twenty-one titles—yet all of the titles sound legitimately Christmassy and carolley to me. For me this year, this record has been the antidote to hearing the same ten Christmas songs over and over again.

When pop musicians try to make new Christmas songs, most of them fall flat. (Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You is a pleasant exception.) Here on this record you’ll find a bounty of old, actual, functional, yet sadly foresaken Christmas carols. For example, when was the last time any of you have hear the carol, Bright, Bright the Holly Berries on Christmas radio? In the mall? On your cable provider’s holiday music channel? I don’t think I’ve every heard that one before—and why shouldn’t I have? It’s as if somebody put it in a closet fifty years ago, and put a bunch of stuff on top of it, and forgot about it. Here I am today, two generations removed, cleaning out the closet, and … why was this buried in here? Why was this forgotten? There’s a whole bunch of carols on this record here like that.

So if your tired of the same old ten Christmas carols on rotation, and you’re looking for something classic yet fresh, try The Sounds of Christmas, by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. To my knowledge, it was never re-issued on CD, but thanks to modern technology, you may stream or download this lost treasure to hear it any time.

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