Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Sound of Christmas (1970)

It is certainly a curious thing that I have fallen into the area of Classic Television moderation. I grew up long after most of these shows first aired to be sure, but I also grew up in a part of the world in which I only had access to two television stations (cry me a river). More than that, the isolated area in which I lived could only receive one radio station clearly; the often-unlistenable AM pablum of CKQR. 

Well, it was really only during the daytime that we could hear just the one station. At night when the AM frequencies were boosted, we received literally thousands of radio stations, as they funneled their way into our forested valley and echoed off the mountains all night long. Some far-off stations would appear with amazing clarity for only a minute before they would disappear forever... along with their promise of a world wider and grander than anything I had ever known before. 

CKQR had no disc jockey on Christmas Day. Nor did it air any commercials. What it had instead was generic sounding Christmas lounge music. This LP, The Sound of Christmas by The Living Strings was exactly the kind of thing you would hear on CKQR all day long. I especially recall the pops and crackles of the worn LPs they'd broadcast, naturally the same albums year after year after year. Here we have forty-three minutes of crackly Christmas muzak that doesn't really fill me with great Christmas memories so much as just a general, ethereal, nostalgia for something very vague. Regardless, such vague nostalgia has shaped me into something very concrete as a grown-up and for that I am quite happy. I will be even happier when time machine technology is perfected.

A Merry Christmas to all of my mostly-anonymous readers/viewers from your mostly anonymous writer/YouTube embedder.


1 comment:

jb said...

I'm actually quite glad to hear this album, as I am a fan of the Living Strings' "The Spirit of Christmas," released in 1963, which radio stations would often track in its entirety on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

The mood they evoke: "general, ethereal nostalgia" as you put it, is powerful stuff this time of year. Christmas celebrations are all about nostalgia. They are as much about memories of home and family in years gone by as they are about what's happening to us in the here and now. For example: I think of my departed grandparents more on Christmas than I do the rest of the year, remembering the role they played in family traditions now lost.

The music we would use to recreate idyllic, lost Christmases would have to be ethereal, like dreams. Enter the Living Strings.

Happy holidays to you and yours, Kliph, and keep up the excellent work here and at WFMU.