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"This is an album I downloaded from Ernie (Not Bert)'s blog last year..." "Here's an album that Ernie offered at his blog late last year..." "My friend Ernie had this album to share at his blog during the 2005 download season..."

Pick one of those and let's get going... This is a very interesting album because 1.) where it came from and 2.) I can't find anything online about the artist.

Lifted from the very blog entry via Ernie:

"The original release is seen above (at Ernie's blog - it might be above or just to the right for my blog), as credited to The Ralph Hunter Choir. The second time around, RCA decided that old Ralph wasn't drawing enough attention so they called it 'Living Voices Sing Christmas Music'. 

"And that release spawned a whole series of albums by any number of different groups as Living This or Living That. ... And, oddly enough, the record you see above (at Ernie's blog and, by now, my blog I'd wager) is an Australian pressing. It used to belong to a little girl who loved Rick Springfield by the name of Annette Haessher. 

"I only mention this because I had to spend several hours getting her name and love notes to Rick off of the cover via Photoshop. Thanks Annette, I didn't have anything better to do the week before Christmas, anyway!"

I didn't find much other than Ernie's link when I Googled "The Ralph Hunter Choir". Which is a pity because this is a pretty kickass Christmas album.

It starts off rather bouncy and upbeat (Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers, Jingle Bells). Then ol' Ralph slides into coast mode with some pretty, pretty versions nice and slow (Winter Wonderland, The Christmas Song, White Christmas). End of side one... already?

Side two is mostly traditional Christmas songs (Here We Come A-Wandering, Carol Medley, The First Noel) which begins to stale by the time we reach the standout track of the album: Indian Christmas Carol. This one came out of left field with soft ritual drumming and soft trumpet accents. Then the male members of the choir chant one of the most haunting Christmas songs I've heard in quite some time.

Not to be outdone is the following track: Latin Lullaby (Cancion de Cuna). From the first beats of bossa nova, you're hooked and it's a fantastic blend of music and harmony. The album ends with Silent Night (shouldn't all Christmas albums?); stoic, hushed, and reverent.

This one's getting some airplay on my Christmas boombox during the Christmas season. I'm sure Rick Springfield won't mind all the extra work you put into this one Ernie!

On to the next new Christmas CD in my collection...