CD A Melody Ranch Christmas
Released: November 18, 2016
Label: Varèse Sarabande
Gene Autry: A Melody Ranch Christmas is a special album with a vintage radio show approach. It includes iconic and rare Christmas songs performed live on Gene Autry's popular Melody Ranch radio show by Gene, the Cass County Boys, the Pinafores, the Gene Autry Blue Jeans, Rosemary Clooney, and Carl Cotner's Orchestra. You'll also hear Gene introduce songs, Pat Buttram perform classic comedy, and Johnny Bond thoughtfully reflect on the season.
The album has traditional Christmas standards like "Jingle Bells" and "Joy to the World," plus rare performances of Gene Autry's holiday hits including "Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)" and "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Several tracks are songs Gene and his Melody Ranch pals performed every holiday season but never released on record, such as "White Christmas," "Cowboy Santa Claus," and "Winter Wonderland." Many of Gene's hit records were introduced to the American public on his radio show. Several of those debut performances are on this album, including "Frosty the Snowman," "I Wish My Mom Would Marry Santa Claus," and "Sleigh Bells."
Radio show favorites like Pat Buttram's humorous holiday poem "Did You Ever Hafta Sleep at the Foot of the Bed?" and Gene's reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" are also included. All of these performances, ranging from 1942 to 1955, are from Gene Autry's personal archive of radio show lacquer transcription discs that were restored via digital transfer and restoration over the past 20 years.
This collection of Christmas music and spoken word from Gene Autry's radio show broadcasts not only provides rare performances of seasonal favorites but also gives the listener a glimpse of the holidays from the last century.
The album liner notes are by Gene Autry Entertainment President Karla Buhlman. The CD's booklet includes rare images of Melody Ranch cast members and Christmas photos and art from Gene Autry's career.