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FCA recommends....BEST of 2006 Christmas tour


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FCA members have come together to try and find the best audio clips from Clay's Christmas Symphony tour 2006.

Each version of a song will be evaluated by an FCA member and they will recommend three clips that will be great to add to your audio playlist.

The song assignments are:

Christmas Waltz...jmh123

The First Noel...playbiller

Merry Christmas With Love...couchie tomato

Winter Wonderland...georgiaclay

The Christmas Song...Ansamcw

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas...Ansamcw

Sleigh Ride...luckiest1

Mary Did you Know...Fearofh20

Hark the Herald Angels sing/ O come all Ye Faithful..txflwrgrl

My grown up Christmas List ...Atinal

O Come, O Come Emmanuel...ldyjocelyn

Don't Save it All For Christmas Day...luckiest1

All is Well...Kandre

Thanks so much to our volunteers. They will post their recommendations when they are ready and I will add the full list to this first post.

The clips will be judged according to the clarity of the recordings...amount of audience noise...and quality of Clay's performance.

links to the audio will also be shared once the list is completed.

once again...thanks to the clackgatherers. We truly appreciate every clack that is shared and your work will be properly recognized.

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Engelwood..WAV by SecretlyLovesClay

< this is my personal favorite. He sings this with a lot of wistfulness. Very expressive and the ending is really incredible. The recording was pretty clear too.

Jacksonville...mp3 by mime fan

< this performance is not as perfect as the Engelwood performance but mime fan's recording is very clear. Of course there are some sounds coming from the audience but they are really not as distracting

Redbanks...from jtgranny video

< this performance is also very nuanced. There were some tiny cracks in his voice but the ending was very dramatic that the audience cheered before he was finished.

...for this song, there were some versions that had too much laughter because Clay was making faces or gets distracted and starts out late. I didn't take those into consideration cos it was not clear why people were laughing so the laughter tends to be distracting on a audio compilation.

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The Christmas Song

Engelwood...video by SecretlyLovesClay

> once again my personal favorite comes from this concert. He just sounds so relaxed and his voice floating so effortlessly. I really like how he didn't force some of his notes and just relaxed the endings. I also love the vibrato of his voice that comes out in some passages...wonderful. I think the ending part of this version is what makes this stand out...very smooth and nothing forced at all.

Grand Rapids...video by Lacy

> He was also in great voice in this version. No sign of strain at all and he sounds cool and relaxed. I also love the orchestra here. I think the only reason why I have this lower than Engelwood is that he was a bit more intense in the ending...but they are both excellent versions of this song.

Redbank...video by jtgranny

>this has a bit more audience noise...he says something in the start that makes people laugh...but another version where his voice was effortless and he seems very relaxed.

In choosing the top three clips to recommend I had to disqualify several clips that just had a lot of laughter and where Clay would start in the middle of the song. This is what happened to the Jacksonville version, he continued his banter and had to come in at the second verse.

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All Is Well

OK, I've listened to all 52 versions of AIW in the CH vault...what can I say, I'm a matyr for the cause!

He really didn't play with this a lot - and this song was FRICKIN' hard for him (and the audience because getting them to shut up during the 2nd glory was apparently impossible). They did usually hold the applause until after the first glory note. And for some reason, there were just issues with the next to the last hallelujah.

drumroll, please...

Long Island: mp3 by ClayFaninVA&Scarlett

Clip (or skip) the first 45 seconds (it's just the audience lovin' on Clay). But this is glorious. If you don't watch the video, you cannot tell how difficulty of this song. The audience waits until he finishes the first glory note to applaud (still in the middle of the song though), and the applause is not overwhelming during the beginning of the 2nd glory note, but it get progressively louder (it's there though). The applause is always there.

Hartford...mp3 by jojoct

Volume's a little low in the beginning, a little roughness in his voice but doesn't detract - audience again lets the first glory note finish. The audience overwhelms a little during the second glory note.

West Point...mp3 by diamondjake2001

Clip (or skip) the first 8 seconds...This is sweet. He lost it for a second on the next to the last hallelujah but recovered beautifully.

Charlotte...wmv by clayheaven or ImAllEars

He's healthy and worked on making this perfect. But again, the audience overwhelmed the 2nd glory note.

Greensboro I will keep looking for a clean audio version, because it sounds like he played with it a little and it sounds really good. xxx4Clay's mpg is the best so far, it just seems to have a lot of feedback especially when he's belting (and he belts a lot in this song).

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Interjecting my opinion here, probably where it's not necessarily wanted....

...but I think the Long Island AIW NEEDS to be included, just because of the situation. I know you can't SEE him while listening to it, but it's just a moment that sticks in my mind so much. (I also be tempted to put the Merrillville AIW on the list for the same reason, although in that case he did sing it better later....) In the case of Long Island, the circumstances PLUS the fact that he nailed the song beautifully warrants inclusion.

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Interjecting my opinion here, probably where it's not necessarily wanted....

...but I think the Long Island AIW NEEDS to be included, just because of the situation. I know you can't SEE him while listening to it, but it's just a moment that sticks in my mind so much. (I also be tempted to put the Merrillville AIW on the list for the same reason, although in that case he did sing it better later....) In the case of Long Island, the circumstances PLUS the fact that he nailed the song beautifully warrants inclusion.

Amen. I will always treasure the fact that I was actually there for this. To me he was in every way a superman that night---vocally he was nearly perfect and in character he proved that he is unequaled by any other 'celebrity'---to me, at least. I swear I was making fists with every squeeze of his hands on that stool as he sang his heart out to us.

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I really like the choices KAndre...Hartford is my personal favorite...and yes LI AIW is a sentimental favorite as well.

I also liked Englewood, SLC's WAV files were very clear but you can hear some people whispering in the background.

AIW is really amazing. He got better singing it and I think the problem with Waukegan was that he underestimated the amount of power he would need at the end of the show. That pause he takes before the final Well really made a huge difference in the later versions.

I also love how you can hear the progression of his vocal improvement. In the beginning he was kinda yelling this song...but I think by the third and fourth concert he was fully in control...his voice would float and resonate over the highest notes...his beautiful timbre is preserved...WOW...I really do not blame the audience for always cheering in the end. I don;t think I would be able to help myself either.

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Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

1. Jacksonville - mime_fan

Clay is playing around with different parts of the song, which makes it vocally interesting, but the audio quality of the mime_fan recording is what makes this one special.

2. Charlotte - ImAllEars

This version is probably the most unique of the tour. He plays around with different parts of the song, experimenting, hits the glory note with little wavering, and then decides to go high on both "find" and "way". Just a wonderful version, with very little audience interference!

3. Williamsport - jojoct

This is a beautiful, clear audio version of both Clay and the orchestra. Vocally perfect, and you can hear a pin drop when Clay drops the mic for the very first time at the end. The audience was awestruck.

4. Long Island - Scarlett

I think that Clay was at his vocal best in this concert, even though he was confined to sitting on a stool because he was ill. It was an amazing performance, and it has the best glory note of the tour, bar none. The ending, where he puts the mic down, is glorious in that his voice actually sounds louder.

5. Norfolk - Hippoga

Although the audio quality isn't as high as the others I've chosen, this is a very subdued, laid back performance with absolutely NO audience noise at all, even at the "baby that's a fact" part. The performance deserves honourable mention.

Edited by luckiest1
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The First Noel -

let me say firstly - he always got the words right. Although there wwere minor variations, there were not enough differences to make ranking easy - you have to listen to the songs back to back over and over to discern the differences.

I would actually go back to last year for the best sound But to continue...

The little variations in the sound, some times a little more powerful than others. The weakest being Long Island. The best version being Greensboro, but the sound system did not allow a clean version. I ended up evaluating the sound by the various clacks available for the top six strongest performances, so this list can change if additional audio becomes available.

Easton PA





The sound is getting a little muffled now, there were three strong videos, but each has their minor problems the clearest sound has moments of feedback, s I pickedthe best overall.


Would rate higher if there were better sound.

Williamsport Lots of video to choose from infinitesimal differences.


Norfolk Virginia

This has to be spliced from Deborah/s Mp3, don't know how to do that.



Must have been a good show, but the sound not as good as otehr shows.



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Norfolk Virginia

This has to be spliced from Deborah/s Mp3, don't know how to do that.

I can do this, if we have a place for me to upload to. I did it for the Greensboro DSIAFCD as well.

If people can splice the recommended audio and/or take them off the video clips...just put it on YSI and we will host it on FCA Media.

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Sleigh Ride

I had to divide this into two sections - clips without Clay cracking up, and clips with Clay cracking up. I know some people prefer their mp3s to be sung straight, but personally, I love hearing him having fun. So I decided to give you the best of both worlds.

Sung as it was meant to be sung:

1. Waukegan by Filomena123 - great quality audio, very clean recording, not much audience noise.

2. Englewood by SecretlyLovesClay - a bit fuzzier audio, but still clean. A bit of audience noise, but Clay gets all the words in.

Clay (and the audience) having fun with it:

1. West Point by Scarlett - this clip is hilarious. I couldn't keep a straight face listening to it, it just made me want to find the video and watch it! Beautiful audio, with the audience laughing, singing and clapping along. Clay screws up the words and lets the audience sing for him at times. Priceless!

2. Charlotte by ImAllEars - Clay is laughing right from the get go, misses words here and there, goofs around, intejects comments, and just generally has a lot of fun with it. Audio quality is very good.

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My Grown Up Christmas List

It was such a pleasure to listen to all of the versions of this song and I'd like to say, that most of the versions of this song were very good, so if you want one from the concerts you attended chances are there is a good version out there. Clay sang this song beautifully at every concert. The things that affected my evaluations were things like the orchestra overpowering him in segments of the song, or coughing or talking in the background. A few were cut off at the very beginning or at the end, but basically Clay and the Clack gatherers did a great job capturing this song. My recommendations.

1.West Point: JoJoCt wmv: Lovely version, I think I am drawn to the versions that are more understated in the beginning and build toward the end. The video on this one is great too.

2.Charlotte: I'mAllEars wmv: Beautiful even performance from beginning to end - Very good video

3.Verona: by SecretlyLovesClay mpg: the audio on this is beautiful, Clay does a little different flourish at the end. The beginning is more of an understated version

I have also noted some great videos of the song

Redbank by JoAnne

Charlotte, by XXX4Clay - some very good close ups

I know I haven't given a lot of description about what sets these performances apart from others. In my mind they are standouts. I really love this song, and have since he perfomed it on GMA last year. I also loved it when Quianna sang it, but I love Clay's toned down version. I've heard Kelly's, Barbra's, and Quianna's, there is one line when sung by all of them that bugs me a little. "that right will always win", in their versions the "win" sounds "screechy" for lack of a better word, but Clay seems to be able to reign that in and softens it. For me, he owns this song now.

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Here are my results of MDYK:

1. Westpoint by JACF -My most favorite version. He really hit the glory note here. Plus the OOOS were glorious. The video wasn't half bad either.

2. Charlotte by Clayhaven- This is a very breathy version. At none of the other venues did he sing it this way. Messed the lyrics up a little too.

3. Easton by dj2001- Good sound by too much other noise.

4. Hartford by SLC- Too much applause in the middle.

For video don't miss West Point by Scarlett-- beautiful composition. Secretly Loves Clay took great video in Englewood and Verona. Also enjoyed Princess Jodita video in Baltimore which although a partial MDYK had the great phone banter with Frankie.

Hope you like these. It's really difficult since the acoustics varied so much, but I aimed for a clear sound as a top criteria.

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Hark the Herald Angels Sing - O Come All Ye Faithful

There weren't as many versions of this as some of the other songs, but it was hard narrowing it down because he didn't mess up on any that I heard. I think the lyrics were right every time! I did eliminate any that had too much noise, such as coughing, talking, etc.

He really sang this medley beautifully every time with a lot of emotion. The only difference I found was at Waukegan where he changed up the last little bit of the song. The words are still the same, but just sang it different than usual. So, the version you like is up to you.

1. Waukegan - Spotlightlover - great sound and lots of feeling to the song, complete song

2. Waukegan - Filomena123 - there was very little difference in this one and spotlightlovers, really good sound and complete song

3. Charlotte - ImAllEars - This also has great sound and the ending is the usual one he does which is the one I prefer, but I put the Waukegan up as 1st because the sound quality is maybe a little better, but there is not really much difference.

All 3 I've listed also have great videos if you're interested in watching him (and who isn't!). But, I'd also like to recommend the video of Long Island by ClayFaninVA and Scarlett. This was an amazing performance and he poured his heart into this song while gripping that stool to keep from falling off. The only reason this was not in my top 3 was the noise and coughing at the beginning. There is not a lot, but just enough to mess up an audio version. The video on the other hand is highly recommended!

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All of my reviews are of video clack since this was not a good song to hear, but to be seen is very nice. Got quite a few chuckles while watching his face on this song.

1) WAUKEGAN - Scarlet - Comic relief. Made a few faces in the song.

Rated 3 out of 5.

2) MERRILVILLE - Jojoct - Screwed up song big time. Great faces that he made.

Pants of perfection.

Rated 4 out of 5

3) ENGLEWOOD - Secretlyloveclay - Partial view. Brown suede suit. Nothing


Rated 1 out of 5.

4) BALTIMORE - Boring version but he did play with his hair some during the

introduction of Jesse. Brown pinstripe suit.

Rated 2 out of 5.

5) NORFOLK - Just okay.

Rated 2 out of 5.

6) WILLIAMSPORT - Canfly172 - Little rough but just a typical song. Nothing


Rated 2 out of 5


8) EASTON - Jojoct - Blurry at the beginning. Cut off. Bad version. Picture taking

at the end was a little humorous.

Rated 2 out of 5


10) LONG ISLAND - What can I say about Long Island. He had vertigo and was hanging

onto the chair for dear life. He screwed up the words but what an

effort he put in on this performance. Don’t know how he did it. Sure

willpower. Great riff at the end.

Rated 4 out of 5.

11) WESTPOINT - Partial - wearing stripped suit. Okay. Nothing to write home about.

Rated 2 out of 3.

12) REDBANK - Pant of perfection. Okay

Rated 2 out of 5.

13) DETROIT - Detroit, what can I say about this. It was blurry at the beginning. He was

very playful with the audience. This is my favorite just for comic relief. He

makes me giggle through this song. Makes great faces at the audience. Is

definitely having a good time and it shows.

Rated 5 out of 5.

14) GRAND RAPIDS - Just okay. Kind of boring after Detroit.

Rated 2 out of 3.


16) CHARLOTTE - Partial view - gray suit - blurry

Rated 1 out of 5.

17) GREENSBORO - Partial view - blocked a lot of the time. Definitely had a hair cut - I

seem to like his hair a little longer on the sides. Just my personal

opinion. Some facial shots.

Rated 2 out of 5.

So my 1st , 2nd and 3rd place finishers are as below:

[) Detroit.

2) Merrilville.

3) Long Island.

I hope you agree. I finally finished it. Yeah.

:F_05BL17blowkiss: :allgood::hubbahubba: :pod: :fca:

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Finally, my recommendations for Christmas Waltz:

1) Merrillville - jojoct: nice balance of voice and orchestra, Clay is in fantastic voice, Jessie sounds great on the piano, the crowd sounds and so forth are the most like being there without detracting from the performance

2) Charlotte - clayheaven: rich sound, good blend of vocal and orchestra, Clay is in great voice

3) RedBank - Solo: there's a lot of talking around her or I would have rated this higher, Clay's voice is terrific for this performance, the performance (by both Clay and the orchestra) is lively and fun

4) Red Bank - clayheaven: starts quiet, rich sound, good blend, Clay's in great voice, pitch perfect, someone is talking at one point

5) Williamsport - guitargirl : rich sound, opening couple of words almost can't be heard, orchestra sounds great, the sound guy may have been playing around with the sound for the first repeat before the interlude, someone lets out a wahoo before the interlude, the sound is better during the interlude and after

Honorable mentions - Baltimore - dlh7777: the sound is clear but sounds like it's skipping a bit or Clay and the orchestra are not quite together? loud feedback from the sound system at one point, sounds good from the interlude through to the end - Waukegan - Filomena: nice, rich sound, voice stands out clearly, orchestra's sound is not so clear in interlude.

Others in my top 12: Williamsport_jojoct, Wilkes-Barre_jojoct, Grand Rapids_Lacy, Charlotte_ImAllEars, West Point_Scarlett

Every performance is virtually the same, note-wise, lyrics and so forth. The challenge with CW is that it's the first song and he comes on stage as the orchestra is playing the introduction. There are cheers and wild applause, as there should be, but it doesn't make for the best start for an audio recording. Every recording begins with the mike volume down for a few notes and then the sound is brought up--it must be deliberate on the part of the audio team. A few great recordings were marred by excessive talking - why folks sitting next to clack gatherers feel the need to chat to them I don't know. On some recordings it sounded like Clay was a bit off on a few notes, but other recordings from the same venue were pitch perfect, so it must have something to do with the equipment. As an amateur sound geek, I just thought that was interesting to know.

I'll be glad to participate in creating mp3s for posting on FCA once a final list is decided. We could provide several choices for each song, or just one final, ultimate set. Or we could provide mp3s of all the choices and then let people come vote for their favorite???

Edited by jmh123
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I'll be glad to participate in creating mp3s for posting on FCA once a final list is decided. We could provide several choices for each song, or just one final, ultimate set. Or we could provide mp3s of all the choices and then let people come vote for their favorite???

hmmm...thats true...what do y'all want to do?

at this point I was thinking of simply providing mp3 of all the recommended songs and then people can list their own ultimate xmas06 CD...

but we can also have a poll for each song...

so let us know what y'all think.

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With much trepidation, I post my recommendations. Actually it turned into a fun little project. You can rest assured that at least I feel confident weeding out versions with loud noises, too much laughter, and bad notes. Clay sang this pretty darn well every night. There weren't too many vaiations although I noticed sometimes he sang it ..and how do I explain this because I know nothing about singing..with little breaks after every third or fourth word. Don't know if that was a conscious choice or he was struggling. This song also sped up in the middle and sometimes it felt like the band was dragging Clay along for the ride. But I mostly concentrated on Clay's voice. I'm real good at blocking out everything else. Anyway, my recommendations are:

Red Banks Scarlett Wave file ... I love this version..there is a low mumerring through the scarlett version/jt granny has quieter version on that front but there is only video so would have to be converted. He does that phrasing that I mentioned above..where he seems to take a pause after a few words. The beginning and end of the song would have to be cut..clay is talking in the beginning...sreams at the end. I think the symphony is better on this version. I'm more aware of the orchestra which means they are a bit louder. He sounds fantastic... a very dynamic version

Englewood - 061205_englewood_MCWL_PBV_SecretlyLovesClay I listened to a WAV file. I thought Clay was fantastic on this version -- so relaxed and at ease ..when the song speeds up he goes along naturally. there is lots of applause at the end that may need to be cut out. Minor murmerring in the background in just one or two spots. It sounds like it was recorded in the bathroom so wonder how it will fit next to songs from other shows.

Baltimore: it was standing after I deleted everything else. But it's so Clay with a lot of the little vocal things that are uniquely Clay. Can't explain it any better than that. LOL. I listened to all of the version and I think Hippoga video needs to be converted and cut at the beginning and the end.

Special mention to Merrillville.. very little embellishment but beautifully sung and the ONLY version with deep voiced Clay on "Carolers sang as she oppened the door, faces of friends in the crowd.) jojoct has audio but has banter in the beginning so would have to be cut.

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Hey! It's Christmas in June! Yes, I've finally gotten around to this. 5 months ago, I had a terrible time whittling my list down, but got it to 12 clips. After letting it sit for a few months though (and I apologize for that), it took me all of 30 minutes to come up with this list! All of these clips have practically no audience interference.

Winner #1: 061204_Verona_OCOCE_Ianaren&TorontoGirl05. In my opinion, this one is simply amazing. Clay had gotten “in the groove” for touring by this show, and his performance is magical. The “production” on this clip is incredibly clear, and the balance between instruments and voice is great. Bravo!

Winner #2: 061215_WestPoint_OCOCE_Scarlett_xViD. Clay’s voice is strong and clear as a bell in this clip. Scarlett captured a fantastic performance that night.

Runner Up #1: 061202_Merrillville_Banter&OCOCE_Crimsonice. Now, I’m partial to this clip, because this is the show I attended, and Clay’s voice is a little rough (IMO, he wasn’t at full tour voice quite yet). But the recording on this one is fantastic, and it’s one of the cleanest clips out there. This is also one of the few that he added a vocal variance to, toward the end of the song.

Runner Up #2: In my mind, I had to pick a Long Island clip, just because I was simply amazed at what he pulled off that evening. The best of the bunch is 061214_LongIsland_Banter&OCOCE_TorontoGirl05. I thought this had some great sound quality and balance to the song.

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It suddenly struck me (ouch)

that with all of the CLACK and fantastic clack gatherers that it be only fitting for there to be some sorta "CLACK AWARDS" or The Clackheads (a bronze bust of Clay's feet pointing opposite directions, in boots of course as the award) presented in cyber ceremony orrrrrrr not.

Yikes, I'm just bouncing off the walls tonight. Sorry for chattering away. I found the reviews of the clack/performances kinda neat and thought hmmmmm.

Is it August yet?


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