Originally posted here Nov 26, 2016 - here are updated transfers with better sound (Nov 18, 2023).
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 Montréal Sound, entitled "Christmas Disco Party." Montréal 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 Québec 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) Montréal 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 Québec 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.
Arranged by Jerry Devillier
Backing Vocals – Bill Ledster, Charles Linton, François Tremblay, Gerry Bribosia, J.P. Rondeau, Johanne Desforges, June Wallack, Carl Desforges, Louise Lemire, Marcel Therrien, Margo McKennen, Mary Lou Gauthier, Michel Bourgon, Michel Cyr, Michel Dufeau, Monique Lacasse, Raymond Berthiaume, René Lacourse
Bass – François Tremblay, Serge Blouin
Bells, Vibraphone [Vibes] – Roger Simard
Clavinet – Michel Cyr
Coordinator – Pierre Fyfe
Drum – Michel Bourgon, Yves Lagacé
Engineer – Mike Delaney
Executive-Producer – Gerry Bribosia
Graphic Design – Zappy
Guitar – Art Devillier, Gilles Pinard, Carl Desforges, Richard Ring
Guitar, Soloist – Gerry Bribosia
Horns – Albert Devito, Bernard Briand, Denis Lagacé, Emile Subirana, Guy Archambault, J.P. Carpentier, Joe Christie, Marcel Therrien, Richard Beaudet, Roger Walls, Réal Mathieu
Lead Vocals – Charles Linton, Gerry Bribosia, The Jokers, Ranee Lee, Raymond Berthiaume, Suzanne Beausoleil
Mastered By – Bill Kipper
Percussion – Gerry Bribosia, Carl Desforges, Richard Pelletier, Roger Simard, Yves Lagacé
Photography By – Daniel Poulin
Piano – Jerry Devillier, Michel Cyr
Producer – Gerry Bribosia, Normand Bouchard
Strings – Adolpho Bernstein, Claude Hamel, Gérald Sergeant, Jean-Luc Morin, Juan Gernandez, Lorraine Desmarais, Marc Bélanger
Synthesizer – Gerry Bribosia, John Ranger, Carl Desforges, Michel Cyr, Monique Lacasse