A Christmas Gift from Mrs. Miller
2020 - LP - Ship to Shore PhonoCo.
1) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Take 4)
2) White Christmas (Take 1)
3) It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Take 1)
4) Here Comes Santa Claus (Take 3)
5) Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Take 2)
6) Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Take 1)
7) Silent Night (Overdubbed Master) (Take 1)
1) Whispering Hope (Whistling Version)
2) Blue Velvet
3) The Weekend of a Private Secretary
4) I Left My Heart in San Francisco
5) I Said 'No'
6) 'Til There Was You
7) Ma (He's Making Eyes at Me)
8) She Had To Go and Lose It at The Astor
9) I Believe
10) Happy Birthday, Gary Owens (Take 2)
Long lost recording tapes of never released material were recently discovered and now we have the first new Mrs. Miller album in 50 years!
Mrs. Miller is perhaps the most phenomenal novelty singing sensation of all time. In 1966, Elva Ruby Miller, an unassuming 59-year-old housewife from Claremont, CA, became world famous for her cracking takes on contemporary pop hits, sung (and whistled!) in her inimitable vibrato-laden, mezzo-soprano style. She released three albums on Capitol Records and cracked the Billboard Hot 100 with her hilariously raucous versions of “Downtown” and “A Lover’s Concerto.” She sang live from the Cocoanut Grove nightclub with Petula Clark to Vietnam alongside Bob Hope, and George Harrison remarked that her records were “too much!” Her TV appearances were numerous and included prestigious slots on The Ed Sullivan Show, Merv Griffin, Laugh-In, The Tonight Show, and a memorable appearance on The Hollywood Palace dueting with Jimmy Durante.
In a time of political turmoil and upheaval, with celebrities advocating rebellion and nonconformity, Mrs. Miller filled a much-needed void for old fashioned, good-natured entertainment. And it was good-natured. While critics have suggested that Mrs. Miller was cruelly tricked into making a fool of herself, those who knew and worked with her have maintained that she had just as much fun as her audience.
This first album of fresh Mrs. Miller material in 50 years fills important gaps in Mrs. Miller’s story. Contained herein are Mrs. Miller’s pre-Capitol Records hobby recordings dating from 1960-1963. Though Mrs. Miller may have rather stuck to hymns and traditional music, these recordings show that she happily went along for the ride. Mrs. Miller began her hobby recordings under the skilled accompaniment of pianist Bob Ralston. When Ralston departed for a gig on The Lawrence Welk Show, an ambitious, young arranger named Fred Bock took over. Soon, the classic Christmas songs gave way to more complex stabs at modern pop tunes. Of Bock’s experiments was an orchestrated version of “Blue Velvet.” Mrs. Miller’s rise to prominence was accelerated when radio comedian Gary Owens debuted the track on the radio. Thought to be lost, it is now available for the first time on this release. Also included is the dignified coda to Mrs. Miller’s career, the elusive 1971 “Mrs. Miller Records” tracks. These feature a big-band sound by jazz legend Benny Carter and other jazz greats. “If there’s ever a square lived in this world, I’m it,” Mrs. Miller once told the press. She may not have realized at the time, but that is precisely the allure. Now, she rides again...
- Justin A. Martell, Ship to Shore PhonoCo.