“Everybody” knows Gene Autry was sometimes referred to as “The Christmas Cowboy.” This was because of his phenomenal success with his recordings of “Here Comes Santa Claus,” inspired when he heard the shouts of eager youngsters along the Christmas parade route, and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” a song he recorded in one take, almost as an afterthought, at the end of a session. These Christmas classics were recorded in 1947 & ’49, respectively.
But most folks tend to forget that Gene had been singing Christmas songs on his radio show, at least since 1942, when he sang “White Christmas” for the first time on Sergeant Gene Autry, the war time version of his Melody Ranch show. That was the year Bing Crosby recorded his classic version, and Gene, recognizing the importance of the song for the season, continued to sing it on the air every December until the Melody Ranch show ended in the 1950’s!
Following the success of “Rudolph,” Gene recorded a number of new Christmas songs over the next few years. When his office was putting together this collection of Christmas songs Gene sang on the radio, they were looking for songs Gene obviously liked to sing, and “White Christmas” topped the list. It was a surprising discovery, because Gene never recorded it commercially!
This new CD is made-up of Christmas songs, both sacred and secular, that Gene sang on the air, including his first performance of “White Christmas.” And you’ll hear the only known medley of “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “Rudolph” as well! Even if you have all of Gene Autry’s Christmas albums, you’ll find recordings here of songs you’ve never heard him sing. And you’ll enjoy the Cass County Boys, the Pinafores and Pat Buttram in the warm Melody Ranch setting as well, every Christmas for years to come. Widely available online or call The Autry Museum store at (888) 412-8879.