God Rest You Merry: The Story of Christmas in Words and Music (Vintage Beeb) Audio CD – Audiobook, 3 Nov 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
The whole thing is in mono. At this time, the BBC often released simultaneous mono and stereo versions of LPs; there presumably wasn't a stereo version of this one. Although there aren't any crackles, there are low-frequency artefacts that make me think that this release may have been transcribed from an LP (not from the original tape). The readings are in a very dry, close acoustic; the singing is in a slightly livelier acoustic.
As an evocation of our radio Christmases past, this is an effective recording; however, I doubt you'd want to listen to it at any other time of year.
The CD itself has a vintage beeb LP record appearence and the inlay card has the retro look of the original production, too small to be read without a magnifying glass perhaps but open the inlay and the original LP sleeve note has been reproduced in larger print (not especially large print, just average print). The hard plastic case has the usual contact details/order hotline for other BBC audio productions which are also advertised on the inside of the CD case (for instance Monty Python, Dad's Army and Doctor Who).
The narration is the Christian nativity story, while the song is a choir singing traditional Christmas hymns and carols, perfect for the season or any time of the year I suspect. Recommended to any fans of BBC audio or anyone seeking to set the scene for Christmas or receiving visitors during the holidays.
They were released as an LP in the mid Seventies and this CD is a lovely facsimile of the original album - thankfully the sleeve notes are enlarged. Even the CD itself is mocked up vinyl.
Andrew Cruickshank's deep Scottish burr is probably unfamiliar to anyone born later than the mid Sixties, but how nice to hear it again, working through deeply familiar verses from the Authorised Version of the Bible as well as a few less well recognised pieces of prose. The choral pieces match the spoken word, familiar (While Shepherds Watched, The First Nowell) with less-familiar, (The Infant King, a Basque piece, for example).
The Saint Martin Singers were formed from WW2 fire watchers at Saint Martin's Church, and The Rev'd Winnington Douglas Kennedy-Bell was their conductor for fifty years. The voices stand the test of time well. The Singers still perform unaccompanied pieces in venues around the world, doubtless still sounding as these singers did, half a lifetime ago.
This might be a gift you will want to give before Christmas, to be played as an antidote to talent contest winners and drearily familiar tunes blasting out from the radio. A step back in time that will probably stay with me for many Christmases to come.
Poems and carols intersperse Andrew Cruickshank's reading of the story of Christmas, originally broadcast in daily instalments, then compiled together for an LP release in the mid-70s. This CD's claims of being a facsimile of the vinyl are partially true. It comes in a regular jewel case as opposed to the card sleeves of any self-respecting vinyl replica but the booklet does replicate the front and back sleeves of the original. Similarly, the front of the CD attempts to copy the original LP in miniaturised form but it's a fairly cheap looking attempt at imitating the look of vinyl. Not to worry.
God Rest You Merry is a nice addition to your bundle of Christmas CDs if you expect to have the moment that requires it. Otherwise it's back to George Michael giving his heart to someone special this year so it doesn't get broken again. It always gets broken, though. Every single December. He should give it to Jesus.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The quality of the recording is excellent. It s ideal for anybody who likes a traditional old-world Christmas. It is a beautiful mix of carols, poetry and biblical readings.Published on 14 Feb. 2014 by michael c sanders
This is a great CD. I collect records of Christmas music but this is a very charming one, with readings as well as choral music. Read morePublished on 4 Sept. 2012 by emma who reads a lot
The sign of a really really good Christmas recording is that you don't need the anticipation and mood of Christmas itself to enjoy it. Read morePublished on 1 May 2012 by bomble
This is nicely presented CD pack of christmas recordings done by the BBC. Although I never got to experience the vinyl version, the pattern on this CD reminded me of my grandad's... Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2012 by misswise
Compiled from a series of daily readings interspersed with extracts from hymns and Christmas carols that were regularly repeated on BBC Radio since 1961, God Rest Ye Merry makes... Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2012 by Trevor Willsmer
This is a re-release of a BBC record from 1976 with a facimile of the original sleeve notes and a `vinyl' look CD. Read morePublished on 25 Feb. 2012 by Aremess
It is nice to listen to something to do with Christmas without having to listen to the modern rubbish that is blasted out by radios 50 million times over before Christmas! Read morePublished on 22 Feb. 2012 by A. Gothorp
This is one wonderful collection of Christmas magic. We hear carols, church services, many wonderful songs by the Saint Martin Singers. Read morePublished on 16 Feb. 2012 by badger