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Sunday, 5 December 2010

~Winter Wassailing~#3: 'Christmas Calling' by Valerie Masters

A Selection Of Seasonal Songs In The ~Streetlamp~ Stylee!

Now then, if there is one that that all three of us here at the ~Streetlamp~ love it's stark raving mad, tone deaf, shotgun wielding,, what I mean is if there is one thing all three of us love it's a Joe Meek production! And that's exactly what we are going to deal with in this Christmas Blog.

To us, it's something of a mystery and an injustice that Joe Meek is not regarded in the same way as George Martin, Phil Spector or Brian Wilson, except by his own devoted following. Joe's lifestyle, and his whole tragic story seem to make it difficult for people to give him all the kudos he deserves. Also, it doesn't help that many people seem to regard him as something of a one-hit-wonder with The Tornados' 'Telstar'. A little digging will prove that he created many a wondrous pop gem from 1961 till 1967, all recorded in one room...his makeshift, self-built studio in which he used the bathroom for the great echo effects he has on his records.
He didn't make many Christmas Records but he did make one truly magical one....

'Christmas Calling' by Valerie Masters.

Valerie Masters was a singer in the 1960s who went on to fairly successful acting and television career through the 70s and 80s. Unfortunately info on Miss Masters is scant on the Internet but you can read something about her here.

It's surprising but there weren't many Christmas records that charted in the 1960s. The 1970s would become a Golden Era for Christmas songs, especially in the Glam Rock days with hits by S
lade, Wizzard, Mud, Elton and even David Bowie getting in on the act. The 1980s would see charity Christmas Records and Cliff Richard doing their bit, but for some reason the charts of the 1960s would appear almost entirely bereft of Festive Pop, and certainly none of the big acts; The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, Who etc. ever seemed to release anything seasonal.

'Christmas Calling' was released on November 1964 and failed to chart but this truly is a wonderful little Christmas song, conjuring up an aural Christmas card full of images that bring to mind those idyllic Hollywood Christmas movies and, thanks to Joe's cavernous echo-chamber production, sounding like it's been beamed in from some futuristic Sci-fi Christmas planet.

Not bad for a toilet on the Holloway Road!


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