Sunday, April 08, 2012

Your Halmark Easter Card

Happy Easter!

And what better way to celebrate the holiest day of the Christian calendar than with what was clearly the go-to choice for the reverential song-poet, Halmark records.

Phil Milstein, in his most excellent essay on the Halmark label, made mention of the clear difference in writing style and quality between the authors of Halmark song-poems and those of almost every other label, suggesting that the fact that their customers were aficionados of "Writer's Digest" magazine was one reason for this distinct difference.

But as to what accounts for the fact that a far bigger percentage of Halmark releases have a Christian theme than any other label - none of them comes close - well, I have no idea. On today's EP, three of the four songs which have a religious theme, including two which refer directly to those events observed during Holy Week. Although not named on the label, these songs clearly feature husband and wife Jack and Mary Kimmel, either together or separately, on each of the tracks.

Either the recording and/or pressing here is truly horrible, or Jack's trebly voice are just too much for my poor phonograph, because at several points during his vocals, there is distortion.

First up is the one non-religious number of the batch, an "I'm better than that type of person" song, sung to a cheater, and titled "Her Kind":

On to the Easter theme, with a song of thanks, from a writer who "was in a coma twice", and whose recovery is attributed to Jesus, in "He is the Resurrection and Life":

Flipping the record over, we hear one of my favorite Halmark backing tracks, this time fitted with the lyrics of the most excellently named Larn Headley, with "From the Manger to the Cross", a song which introduced me to The Legend of the Dogwood Tree, which I'd never heard of before:

And finally, there is a song about "All Mighty God". I do have to wonder if either Cora Davenport, author of "Her Kind", or "James McCall", who wrote "All Mighty God", objected to - or even noticed for that matter - the fact that each of their lyrics was set to the exact same backing track as the other writer's lyric had been. That seems like just a perfect microcosm of the Halmark experience, and therefore, it seems like as good a place as any to wrap up today's feature:

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