(His Masters Choice HMC 012)
The Beatles Christmas Album collects the seven fan club records issued during the band’s lifetime. They were collected and released by Apple Records in 1970 after the band broke up. Several titles were released covering the same material since then.
His Masters Choice is basically a copy of the old Apple title, containing the various messages:
LP side one
1. “The Beatles’ Christmas Record” – 5:00
At the end of 1963, the Fan Club was unprepared for the tons of extra subscriptions it received, so in addition to the multiple thousands of Christmas disks it mailed out in December, they also made a complete extra run of the flexi-disks without the sleeves (to save time), mailing them out early February 1964 with a letter of apology and an explanation from the Club. The total of 1963 Christmas disks made, both with and without sleeves, was just over 30,000 copies.
The flexi comes in a plain yellow card sleeve that opens out with the record tucked into a stapled area. No newsletter came with this first edition. It was printed in the inner sleeve.
The back cover has a picture of the Beatles at the Fan-club headquarters with Bettina Rose and Anne Collingham, with below, a picture of the fab four being presented to the Queen Mother at the Royal Variety Performance.
Amongst christmas greetings and other things other things a comical rendition of “Good King Wenceslas” and towards the end the chorus from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”
2. “Another Beatles Christmas Record” – 4:05
By December 1964, the Fan Club membership had risen to 65,000 and Christmas flexi disks were made for them all, again with a special sleeve and with a Fan Club newsletter (the 1963 one was on the inside cover of the flexi).
It was recorded 26th October 1964 on the same day as they recorded “Honey Don’t” for “Beatles For Sale”.
Only the 1964 Fun Club record plays at 45 rpm; all the other six play at 33 1/3rpm. Includes the classic “Jingle Bells,” individual greetings and the ending jingle “Can You Wash Your Father’s Shirts?”
3. “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” – 6:26
Issued in December 1965.
It was recorded 8th November 1965 on the same day as they recorded “Think For Yourself”. Contains “Yesterday,” “Happy Christmas to Ya List’nas,” “Auld Land Syne,” the Four Top’s “It’s the Same Old Song” and “Christmas Comes But Once a Year.”
4. “The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record – Pantomine: Everywhere It’s Christmas” – 6:40
Issued in December 1966. Recorded on 25th November 1966 in the basement studio of Dick James Music at 71, New Oxford Street, London. Produced by George Martin.
A Monty Python-like record (or to be more accurate, the Goon Shows), with amongst other things “Everywhere It’s Christmas,” “Orowanya,” “Please Don’t Bring Your Banjo Back” and the dramatic mini-play “Podgy the Bear and Jasper Visit Felpin Mansions.”
1. “Christmas Time Is Here Again!” – 6:10
Issued in December 1966. Recorded on Tuesday 28th November 1967 in Abbey Road studios.
Includes the rocking “Christmas Time is Here Again,” (later released in conjunction with the Anthology-project) “Plenty of Jam Jars” (performed by fictional band the “Revellers”), and finally John’s poem “When Christmas Time is Over.” This was the last Christmas fan club recording where all four Beatles were in the studio together.
2. “The Beatles’ 1968 Christmas Record” – 7:55
Recorded in November 1968 at the lush London homes of Beatle John and Beatle Paul and in the back of Beatle Ringo’s diesel-powered removal van, somewhere in Surrey, The voice of Beatle George is heard because yours faithfully, the G.P.O., did something right and joined up 6,000 miles of telephone links at an appropriate moment.
The 1968 and 1969 Christmas recordings are unique because, unlike the others, each flexi disk is double-sided; and while all of the 1963 through 1967 flexi’s had paper record labels, the 1968 and 1969 disks had the information printed right on the black flexi disk with white ink.
Both recordings consist of separately taped pieces by each of the Beatles, and on the 1968 disk George introduced Tiny Tim singing a bizarre little version of Nowhere Man.
A collage of sounds and Fab greetings, including “Happy Christmas, Happy New Year,” Johns poem “Jock & Yono” and “Once Upon a Pool Table.” Guest-appearing artist Tiny Tim destroys “Nowhere Man”.
3. “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record” – 7:42
The 1968 and 1969 Christmas recordings are unique because, unlike the others, each flexi disk is double-sided; and while all of the 1963 through 1967 flexi’s had paper record labels, the 1968 and 1969 disks had the information printed right on the black flexi disk with white ink. Both recordings consist of separately taped pieces by each of the Beatles.
John’s pieces (inevitably) included Yoko. It was edited together by Radio 1 disc-jockey Kenny Everett, but this time credited to his real name, Maurice Cole.
CD (59:31): CHRISTMAS TIME (IS HERE AGAIN) (EP EDIT), ITV NEWS INTERVIEW – 1963-12-12, SATURDAY CLUB -1963-12-17, HELLO DOLLY – TAKE 1- 1964-10-26, SPEECH – TAKE 1 – 1964-10-26, SPEECH – TAKE 2 – 1964-10-26, SPEECH – TAKE 3 – 1964-10-26, SPEECH – TAKE 4 – 1964-10-26, SPEECH – TAKE 5 – 1964-10-26, THE LOST CHRISTMAS MESSAGE – NOVEMBER 1965, THE LOST CHRISTMAS MESSAGE II – NOVEMBER 1965, WONDERFUL RADIO BEATLE PEOPLE – NOVEMBER 1965, MESSAGE FOR RADIO LONDON AND CAROLINE -1966-12-6, JOCK AND YONO – NOVEMBER 1968, ONCE UPON A POOL TABLE – NOVEMBER 1968
The compact disc collects various outtakes from the Christmas album sessions onto one convenient disc.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)