Monday, December 24, 2007
Montreal Sound - Silent Night Suite (1977, NSB/Promo-Son)
With Christmas being the most disco-fied holiday of them all, I couldn't possibly let this year go by without putting up some Christmas disco. After all, if I'm going to hear another damn Christmas carol this year, might as well make it disco..
This years selection is from a rather interesting Canadian disco album by Montreal Sound, entitled "Christmas Disco Party." Montreal Sound, perhaps best known for their single "Music", was largely a guise for producer Gerry Bribosia. Bribosia was a pretty well traveled musician/producer in Quebec who had been in a group called Les Miserables and as far as disco goes, had released some singles under his own name. One of those was a little novelty record called "Dracula Disco," which also involved (at least in it's French version) a popular (and these days infamous) Montreal DJ and TV personality, Alain Montpetit.
This record though was apparently a pretty big deal, with the album credits noting: "this album took six months of work and more than 400 hours of studio time". Among the 60 different musicians involved, the album also featured some notable Quebec singers such as Charles Linton, Raymond Berthiaume, Suzanne Beausoleil and Ranee Lee on lead vocals. In addition to all that, this album had evidently been released under at least two other editions, in French as "Noël Disco" and in English as "Canadian Christmas," which also used a different album cover (which nonetheless also involved a sexy, blonde model cavorting with a hilarious fake-bearded Santa)..You can view the cover shots of the initial release here and here
Although I initially bought the album just for the awesome, cheese-tastic cover, the album's actually grown on me somewhat over the last week. Of all of the songs though, my favourite would have to be the Side Two opener "Silent Night Suite" featuring Ranee Lee on lead vocals who begins the song with a brief, but expressive, soulful vocal that immediately sets this one apart from all the others. Overall, it's a rather nice respite from the overly bright, overly cheery sort of thing one would normally associate with a Christmas disco record. Not that it isn't all of those things in it's own right, but with Ranee Lee's vocals setting the stage among the exquisite orchestration, and the track bring largely instrumental, there's a slightly gentler, even sublime pace and feel to it, which is especially evident on the nice "Ave Maria" in the middle of the medley..
Both producer Gerry Bribosia and Ranee Lee are still active these days, with Bribosia still active on the studio side of things, and Ranee Lee having become one of Canada's top jazz vocalists. Still recording, performing and even teaching, Lee became a member of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour, in 2006.
Anyway, with all of that said, enjoy, and to everyone out there: Merry Christmas and happy holidays all around..
MONTREAL SOUND @ DISCOGS
CANADIAN POP ENCYCLOPEDIA - GERRY BRIBOSIA
GERRY BRIBOSIA @ DISCOGS
RANEE LEE @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
JUSTIN TIME RECORDS - RANEE LEE
CATEGORIES: MINI DELIVERIES, CAN-CON DISCO