Members of the “In the Heat of the Night” cast and family recording in the studio. (Photo: Autry-Franks Productions/Ned D. Burris)
Randall Franks and Alan Autry lead the Christmas music rush for radio on AirPlay Direct.
The “In the Heat of the Night” actors who produced the charity “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” album featuring the stars of the hit NBC and CBS drama, partnered with the Share America Foundation, Inc. and AirPlay Direct to re-release the music to radio not available since 1991. The show airs in America on MeTV.
“I am honored that radio is finding these classic Christmas recordings featuring both TV and music icons to share with their listeners,” Franks said. “This was a labor of love for all of us 30 years ago and the music helps so many organizations that work to prevent drug abuse in youth and adults.”
The album was #1 in radio downloads for October on the AirPlay Direct Global Christmas Album Charts and #12 on the Top 50 Global Albums Charts from all genres. Radio may download it here: http://airplaydirect.com/IntheHeatoftheNightChristmas
“This is an amazing reflection on history and the many entertainment legends that came together and focused their talent and fame for this very worthy cause, drug abuse prevention,” said Lynda Weingartz, CEO – AirPlay Direct. “In this day and time, the world could use more collaborations of this nature.”
The physical Sonlite/Crimson/MGM/UA CD is still available from www.ShareAmericaFoundation.org for a $20 donation and tunes may be downloaded from most internet music providers. The funds raised remain targeted towards programs that encourage youth to make the right choices when it comes to drugs, Franks said.
Carroll O’Connor (Photo: Autry-Franks Productions/Ned D. Burris)
The album featured “once in a lifetime” recordings including Emmy-winning TV icon Carroll O’Connor’s “Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella” and the recitation “The Night Before Christmas” by Academy Award nominee Howard Rollins.
Franks said he brought together over 60 performers from country, bluegrass and gospel music musicians and singers to support the songs chosen by the stars of the show. The eight-month long production that visited seven studios in four states, included 12 recording engineers and took over 175 studio hours to complete.
“Thanks to all the talents and the amazing work of Chris White of Sonlite Records, we achieved the second-biggest-selling Christmas release of 1991 and 1992,” Franks said. “We were shooting the show six days a week as we created the project, so a lot of folks gave their Sundays to help make this happen.”
Among the recordings are Alan Autry “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” David Hart “Let It Snow,” Geoffrey Thorne “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” Anne-Marie Johnson (Currently on The InBetween) “Little Drummer Boy,” Crystal Fox (Currently on The Have and the Have Nots) “The Christmas Song,” and Randall Franks “Let’s Live Every Day Like It Was Christmas” and cast group performances with country (Jingle Bells) and bluegrass legends (Christmas Time’s A Comin’). Other cast members who made special appearances were Hugh O’Connor, Wilbur Fitzgerald, Bob Penny and Sharon Pratt.
Check out the title cut with bluegrass stars “Christmas Time’s A Comin'”:
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/B4KCSKMODD8
At the time, the bluegrass performance of “Christmas Time’s A Comin'” was a first bringing together a host of now hall of famers – Chubby Wise, Jim & Jesse, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Doug Dillard, The Lewis Family, Buddy Spicher, Randall Franks, Mac Wiseman, and Wayne Lewis to record on one song together, especially with the stars of a hit TV show.
“I have always thought my co-stars created some amazing recordings and I saw their efforts becoming mainstays on radio each Christmas,” Franks said. “Thanks to AirPlay Direct, the door is opening to help radio make that dream a reality and all the while helping others when folks donate to add the music to their collection.”
Actors David Hart, Randall Franks and Alan Autry (Photo: Autry-Franks Productions/Ned D. Burris)
Some of the other performers participating were Country Music Hall of Fame member Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and late members Little Jimmy Dickens, Kitty Wells, Pee Wee King, Mac Wiseman and Grant Turner; and also Jerry Douglas, the Whites, the Marksmen Quartet, Mose Davis, Bobby Wright, the late Johnnie Wright, Buddy Spicher, Jim Hoke, Abe Manuel, Jr., Ken Holloway, John Farley, Bill Everett, and the late Gene Daniell.
Fans may support this effort by downloading or donating for the historic TV music project on Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Times-Comin-Night-Friends/dp/B00FZFSQ4M), Apple Itunes (https://music.apple.com/us/album/christmas-times-comin-in-heat-night-cast-friends/728073471),and get the CD online at www.shareamericafoundation.org or via mail for a donation of $20, inside the U.S., and $25, outside the U.S., to the Share America Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755.
Additional interview and music clips from the album are available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/randallfranks/videos
Franks and Autry also produced the 2013 country CD “Mississippi Moon: Country Traditions” featuring country, gospel and bluegrass performances by both. Radio may download it at http://AirPlayDirect.com/RandallFranksAlanAutry
Like the album on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AlanAutryRandallFranksMississippiMoonCD/
Like Christmas Time’s A Comin’ CD on Facebook:
Check out “Let’s Live Every Day Like It Was Christmas” from Randall Franks and the Grand Ole Opry stars “The Whites”:
Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/WBXhUnWrZ0I
Company Name: Entertainment Management Consultants
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