That I found this record a couple of months ago at my favorite record store of all time — Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau, Wisconsin — was simply icing on the Christmas cookie.
“Something Festive!” is a Christmas sampler from A&M Records. It was sold at B.F. Goodrich tire dealers in 1968.
It’s eclectic, to say the least. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass are on it, as are Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band. But so are Liza Minnelli (singing “Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy”) and Claudine Longet (covering Randy Newman’s “Snow.”)
Here, then, are three from “Something Festive!”
“It’s The Most Wonderful Time,” by Pete Jolly. This is a cool, stylish, upbeat rendition by the jazz pianist from California. I’d never heard it before, and it’s great. It’s the best cut on the album. (You’ll also find this cut on “Cool Yule: The Swinging Sound of Christmas,” a UK compilation released in 2004.)
“Partridge in a Pear Tree,” by Julius Wechter and the Baja Marimba Band. An instrumental version of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The finish goes over the top, but after hearing those mellow vibes and marimbas, does it matter? (You’ll also find this cut on “For Animals Only,” the BMB’s third album, released in 1965. It’s out of print.)
“Jingle Bell Rock,” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. I’m not a big fan of this Christmas tune, but I like this arrangement. Its big finish sounds suited to a strip club. (You’ll also find this cut on the TJB’s “Christmas Album,” also released in 1968. It’s out of print.)
“Something Festive!” is long out of print but can be found on eBay.