The Spirit of Christmas

Dulcima Records / Johnny Douglas Enterprises
Johnny Douglas Tribute Page on Facebook

The long-awaited Living Strings Christmas album.

The Spirit of Christmas

The Living Strings Christmas Albums 'The Spirit of Christmas', 'White Christmas' and 'A Christmas Songbook' digitally re-mastered on to a double album entitled 'The Spirit of Christmas'.

 

Christmas is a time of emotions.  In this digitally re-mastered double album the Johnny Douglas orchestra and singers musically express every emotion, memory and feeling, which traditionally accompanies this glorious season, with a mixture of Christmas songs and traditional carols.  Johnny Douglas recorded the three original Living Strings albums between 1963 and 1974.  A few of the titles are repeated, once even twice, but with different arrangements.  To delete the repeats would render the original albums incomplete and deprive the listener of the opportunity to experience the versatile arranging by Johnny Douglas.

 

Disc 1 - Instrumental, featuring the lush, rich sound of the velvety strings.

Disc 2 - With voices, warmly blended as instruments of the orchestra.

 

The Living Strings Series was created by RCA Producer Ethel Gabriel. She worked on the Melachrino Strings' "Moods in Music" series and in the late 1950s developed the Living Strings as a package for RCA's budget label, Camden, using various orchestras, mainly from Europe. The albums were all centred on a theme; the sea; Broadway; night music.

Johnny Douglas was one of England's masters of string arranging and a primary arranger and conductor of the series recorded in England.

He brought great songs to a new life with his arrangements of a mass of pure velvety strings, mellow brass and superb solos played by the cream of the British musicians of that era.

The recordings made by The Living Strings became a mainstay of easy-listening radio and commercial venues.

The Spirit of Christmas

Compact Disc DLCD 122

  £13.25 (plus £2.20 P&P)
  $32.00 (includes $8 shipping)




order by cheque or money order

Track Listing

Disc 1
  1. White Christmas, 3.35
  2. Silver Bells, 3.19
  3. Wassail Song - The First Noel - Angels We Have Heard on High - Joy to the World, 3.39
  4. Mary's Boy Child, 3.21
  5. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, 2.44
  6. We Wish You a Merry Christmas - We Three Kings - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - O Holy Night - Silent Night, 4.44
  7. O Come, All Ye Faithful - Oh Little Town of Bethlehem - Coventry Carol - Away in a Manager, 4.25
  8. It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas - intro, Deck the Halls, 2.45
  9. Home for the Holidays, 3.56
  10. The Christmas Song, 3.22
  11. I'll be Home for Christmas, 3.18
  12. The Little Drummer Boy, 3.14
Disc 2
  1. White Christmas, 3.20
  2. Happy Holiday, 2.01
  3. Here's To You, 2.58
  4. My Favourite Things, 2.45
  5. Christmas Lullaby - Silent Night, 5.34
  6. Do You Hear What I Hear, 2.34
  7. Ring Christmas Bells - We Wish You a Merry Christmas, 2.21
  8. The Little Drummer Boy, 3.24
  9. Buon Natale - Jingo Jango - Jingle Bells - Bossa Nova Noel, 6.23
  10. A Merry Christmas Song, 1.51
  11. Deck the Halls - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - O Come, All Ye Faithful - Joy to the World, 4.10
  12. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - White Christmas, 3.25
  13. O Little Town of Bethlehem - Silent Night - Away in a Manger - Angels We Have Heard on High, 4.09
  14. Out of the East, 5.01
  15. We Three Kings of Orient Are - Coventry Carol - It Came Upon the Midnight Clear - O Holy Night, 3.50
  16. Jingle Bells - Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - God Rest Ye Merry Christmas, 4.14
  17. Wassail Song - The First Noel - O Christmas Tree - Green Needles, 3.58
  18. The Little Drummer Boy - Toyland, 3.49
  19. Do You Hear What I Hear, 2.46
  20. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus - I'll be Home for Christmas, 3.59

Reviews

I'm sure you get stories like mine over and over when it comes to this CD set.  But I have to share...

 

I'm a child of the late sixties\early seventies, youngest of three.  And my mother absolutely loved the Christmas season.  The Living Strings and Living Voices were her favorite Christmas albums from that time.  Oh how we loved decorating the house while listening to the LV\LS "White Christmas" and "Drummer Boy" albums.  Throughout the season we'd sit on the couch with the TV off and just look at the lit up tree with these songs playing in the background.

 

Mom passed away nine years ago.  But I can feel her presence every year at Christmas time.  When I listen to Christmas Lullaby flow into Silent Night I can't help but get teary-eyed.  Beautiful...just beautiful.  Your father was a musical genius.

 

To have these albums, especially "White Christmas" on CD will be such a treat.  Thank you so much for making these available.  I'm sure you've made many people like myself so happy.  These CDs will take me back to such a wonderful time in my life...being with Mom at Christmas time.

 

"Merry Christmas!" Norma to you and your family.
Brian Gibson 



Got my Spirit of Christmas CD on Monday. I am so pleased, I have been
searching for this album on CD for years!  It sounds wonderful and brings
back many happy memories.

Norma, your personal note was a classy and much
appreciated touch. Thank you very much! 
P.S. I still have my Dad's original Camden LP of the Spirit of Christmas.
Kennan Seaman



I just received my Spirit of Christmas CD the other day. Thank you thank you thank you .... I had been looking for this for 25 years, and am now enjoying the music and memories of my Christmases as a youngster (I loved this album even then). Thank you SOOOOOO much!
Pat McKnight



 Many folks have a favorite Christmas album, which they will claim is the best ever made, based mostly on what they grew up listening to.  Because there were so many great Christmas albums released over the years, I now find myself making judgments based on different standards.

 “The Spirit of Christmas” will get my vote as number ONE.   It also ranks near or at the top of most everyone else’s list.  Just read all of the reviews for this album on Amazon.   In order for a Christmas album to be great, it has to distinguish itself by offering a well-chosen selection of songs featuring outstanding performances offered in a high quality recording.

 When RCA recorded “The Spirit of Christmas”, they did an excellent job of capturing all of the beautiful music and memorable arrangements that Johnny Douglas so perfectly created and executed.   During the fifties and sixties, RCA released a selection of “Living Stereo LP’s” that introduced a sound quality that was unmatched and these are still regarded today by many as some of the best recordings ever made.  Many of those albums are still in demand by audiophiles and collectors and command high prices.  All of Johnny Douglas\RCA Living Strings\Voices releases from that era are in that league.

It’s hard to believe that RCA would have kept these masterpieces locked up in their vaults for all of these years releasing just a snippet or two for inclusion on a few compilations. 

But now, at long last, these lost treasures have become available again.  Dulcima has managed to obtain RCA’s masters and they have re-mastered all three albums for CD release.  Yes, this is a two CD set containing all three CLASSIC Christmas albums that Mr. Douglas arranged and conducted.  And what a great job Dulcima did with that material.  This is an excellent re-mastering with sound quality that will please even the most demanding of audiophiles.   This company surely knows what it is doing so hats off to them for rewarding our patience with productions that exceed expectations!  

If you enjoy or are a serious lover of Christmas music, then this two CD set very much needs to be in your collection.  If you have never heard these albums before, then you are in for a real treat.  If you have heard the old RCA LP’s, just wait until you hear these re-mastered versions.  WOW!  No collection can be complete without them.  Get them while they are available at a very affordable price.   I liked them so much I purchased two.

I believe this set will become very collectable and once it goes out of print, you can expect to pay a price comparable to the high prices currently being paid for other highly regarded out or print Christmas CD’s. 

Thank you again, Dulcima, for making these available!  GREAT JOB!

Matt – Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota - USA.  May 2012



 

 

A superb double CD.  What beautiful music!  And of course so superbly arranged and conducted by Johnny Douglas with his wonderful musicians.  We are playing it a lot and really enjoying it'.
Graham Danton, Record Reviewer



I received The Spirit of Christmas CDs today.  I was transported to my childhood and happy memories of Christmas with my family as soon as I heard the beautiful music.  Thank you so much for putting this CD set together.  You've made my Christmas!
Sue Steffy, USA



I got 'The Spirit of Christmas' CD in record time from you folks - overseas no less!  Well in time for Christmas and it was much, much enjoyed. :)  This is the soundtrack of my childhood Christmases and I am so pleased to find it reissued in CD format!  I have seen the out-of-print Canadian Issued CD on Ebay in the past so I know there will be a lot of interest in this Collection - I wish you the best of success and Thank You. :)  
Colleen Bovaird, CANADA

 



The gorgeous CD arrived today in fine shape.  Thanks so much for the really speedy service.
Rod Phillips, USA



The discs sound amazing!  You did a great job!  This was definitely the best release of the year in my opinion.  Thank you for putting in the time and effort to make it such a high quality release.
Brad Ross-MacLeod, aka The King of Jingaling
www.falalalala.com



JOHNNY DOUGLAS AT XMAS... MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT FOR EVERYONE

This 2-disc set of Christmas and holiday music from the Johnny Douglas Orchestra and chorus, originally released between '63 and '74 as The Living Strings, is nothing short of a treasure chest of beautifully arranged carols and secular music to help celebrate the season.  Disc 2 features choral interpretations of many familiar Christmas favorites.  These are songs that will trigger warm remembrances of yuletides past, with arrangements by maestro Johnny Douglas, that stand the test of time.  This double CD release from Dulcima should be on every Easy Listening fan's Christmas list.  Highly recommended.
By Phil Stout


I just received my copy of The Spirit of Christmas and I wanted to thank you for bringing this wonderful music back to everyone.  Also, thank you for the great service!  I received my cd from the other side of the "pond" in less time than it takes to send a letter across my town.  To Ms. Camby, thank you for your personal note.
Kevin Schilling, USA



Johnny Douglas will need no introduction to readers of this Journal Into Melody.  Late in his career he set up his own record label, Dulcima Records, and this has been continued by his family since we lost him in 2003.  Every so often some of his music is made available again, and this latest collection (on two CDs) provides some enchanting melodies for the coming festive season.  Many of us like to hear something new to enjoy at Christmas, and this is a fine new collection to add to your music library.
David Ades - Journal Into Melody - December 2009



Hi to everyone @ dulicma records....got the Christmas CD of the Living Strings and Voices yesterday....great sound....thanks again for a truly great CD.   Hope you can add more Living Strings collections.  Johnny Douglas was certainly a master of great easy listening music.  Thanks again for making the "christmas collection" available.
Ron Harrison, Digby, NS Canada


 

Thank you for your great service.  I will continue to visit your website for more jewels from the LP era. You provide a wonderful and much needed service.
Jim Remeta



The long-awaited CD release of the three Johnny Douglas arranged and conducted Living Strings/Living Voices Christmas albums is an absolute triumph for Johnny's daughter Norma Camby (Managing Director of Dulcima Records). I also speak on behalf of my friend Ethel Gabriel (the legendary RCA Records producer who produced these albums) when I say... way to go Norma! I think your father would be very proud of you!    
Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com



 

Received my "The Spirit of Christmas" CD set today and I'm extremely happy.  I think you did a wonderful job with it. 1968's "White Christmas" is just a brilliant, and somewhat unique, Christmas album and it's so nice to know that it's finally been preserved and modernized for future generations to enjoy. The medleys are my personal favorites. Worth every penny.
Mike - Maryland, USA



I recieved my copy of "The Spirit of Christmas" and I can't tell you what a joy it is to hear these songs again. Johnny Douglas was certainly a genius with music. There will never be such a musical talent again and he is greatly missed by all who love his kind of music. He has made the most beautiful Christmas ever and I feel everyone should experience it. I remember listening to his music when it first came out on the American market and have never grown tired of hearing his wonderful orchestrations; especially the Christmas music. Thanks again for bringing the world this lovely music remastered. 
Randy Snyder, USA



The collection is a marvellous celebration of Christmas music taken from recordings made for RCA Victor from their popular series featuring The Living Strings.  The late Johnny Douglas was the musical director for the programme that produced numerous LP albums.  The three that covered Christmas music are to be found on the two discs.  "The Spirit of Christmas", "White Christmas" and "A Christmas Songbook" carry a total of 32 tracks in splendid stereo sound.

Instrumental versions of popular Christmas songs and interpretations of both songs and carols featuring a chorale, sit side by side in this joyful festive feast of music.  Across the programme of music, different versions of the same titles are heard but the whole affair is immaculately arranged and performed.  Warmly recommended to provide that Christmas glow.
Brian Belton - In Tune - November 2009





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