My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Christmas Rewind: Jim Ed Brown – ‘An Old Christmas Card’

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One response to “Christmas Rewind: Jim Ed Brown – ‘An Old Christmas Card’

  1. Ken December 9, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Jim Ed does an excellent job with this live version of one of my Christmas favorites. This clip is taken from the 1998 “Country’s Family Reunion Christmas” show.

    To many younger people the lyric may seem a bit dated. The song was written by Vaughn Horton in the 1940’s at a time when America was not as “connected” as today. Many Americans did not yet have telephone service and for those that did long distance rates were very expensive. Letters were a primary form of communication so Christmas cards held a very special significance because folks used them to reconnect at holiday time. Horton tapped into that emotion by creating a love song with a Christmas card as the centerpiece. Many songs of that era tended to be sentimental which is another aspect of the lyrics.

    “An Old Christmas Card” is usually associated with Jim Reeves. Gentleman Jim recorded it in October 1962 and RCA Victor released it as a single and on an album for the 1963 holiday season. Reeves’ version became an essential track on holiday playlists for country radio stations for many years. RCA Victor kept the 45 single available for sale and jukebox play via their “Gold Standard” oldies series. Jim was not the first to record that song. Ray Smith made what is believed to be the first commercial recording of that song for Columbia in 1949, However Smith’s version did not include the narration that made the Reeves recording so memorable.

    Ray Smith (not be be confused with the rock & roll artist that shares the same name) was a member of Horton’s group The Pinetoppers. They scored a huge pop and country hit in 1951 with “Mockin’ Bird Hill.” “An Old Christmas Card” was designated as the “B” side of that Columbia single. The “A” side was another Horton composition “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” that gained greater popularity with the Ames Brothers 1951 release.

    “An Old Christmas Card” has also been recorded on albums by Canadian singer Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim) Mickey Gilley and the Forester Sisters. Mel Street also released it as a 1976 single.

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