Thrift Score!

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I’m telling you. It ain’t Christmas without Uncle Nat King Cole. Nothing puts the chestnuts on my fire more than his christmas albums from 1961. It’s what my Christmases were made of. As far back as I can remember I opened gifts to this song as a child and had the album on 8-track, cassette, CD and now vinyl. Kinda of backwards in time but that’s okay.

I won’t be home for Christmas this year – at least not to Connecticut – which is why its important to recreate Christmas here in Arizona. Once again my roommate and I geeked out. We put the D.E.C. in December decorations. Uncle Nat completes it all. This is the first (and most likely only) Christmas album in my entire collection.

The Christmas Song was first sung by Uncle Nat back in 1946 but composed by Mel Torme and Robert Wells. At Cole’s behest – and over the objections of his label, Capitol Records – a second recording was made the same year utilizing a small string section, this version becoming a massive hit on both the pop andR&B charts. Cole again recorded the song in 1953, using the same arrangement with a full orchestra arranged and conducted byNelson Riddle, and once more in 1961, in a stereophonic version with orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael. Nat King Cole’s 1961 version is generally regarded as definitive, and in 2004 was the most loved seasonal song with women aged 30–49 while Cole’s original 1946 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.Mel Tormé recorded the song himself in 1954, and again in 1961, 1966 and 1992.

And there you have it – and here’s where we hit it. Merry Christmas to you. Not quite. But hey, it’s just around the corner. Besides don’t you just want to cozy up to Uncle Nat and that fabulous sweater of his. That’s a thrift score unto itself. Plus I do love how Uncle Nat’s feet in the picture are as aglow as the tiny tots he mentions in the song. I should learn how to take better pictures with more diffused lighting. Enjoy.

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