The 12 Discs of Christmas 2011 #6

Bert Kaempfert - Toy Parade (from Christmas Wonderland, Decca DL 4441; 1963)

Sometimes a piece of music can act as an instant Wayback Machine, sending your psyche back to a different time and place within seconds. A case in point is Toy Parade from the album Christmas Wonderland by German bandleader Bert Kaempfert. Kaempfert's records are a staple of the easy listening piles at the back of local used vinyl shops and thrift stores; he's remembered as the composer of catchy jingles with a strong rhythmic base, although he also penned the tunes for Strangers in the Night and Danke Schoen and hired a scruffy lot of Liverpool musicians he discovered playing in Hamburg's Reeperbahn to back up his discovery for Polydor Records, Tony Sheridan.

While hanging out at my friend's used music store Dischord Records in Halifax a number of years ago, we were going through a box of old Christmas records he'd acquired, and one of them was Christmas Wonderland. In the midst of making mixed tapes of holiday music, we were seeking out unusual selections that hadn't already been beaten into the snow, and Kaempfert's LP included some intriguing titles like Jingo Jango, Jumpin' Jiminy Christmas and Holiday for Bells that were new to us. One track that wasn't leapt out at us immediately: within about two seconds of hearing the walking bass and brushed snare of Toy Parade, we both flashed back to childhood memories of Christmas public service announcements on local CTV affiliate CJCH-TV, advising you to bundle up, drive safely and wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmas, from all of us at (insert name of local business here).

Just another one of those holy grail moments, when you rediscover something you've remembered your whole life, without knowing exactly what it was. (You can hear it for yourself and see if you have a flashback, here.)


Frank Coleman said...

Nice one! Kaempfert also did 'That Happy Felling" the theme for the Sandy Becker Show, which for me provokes that instant nostalgia rush you describe.


Gerard Saylor said...

Great story.