Seasons Greetings

And so I couldn’t let the holidays go by without a few Christmas songs. So a little blues, a little Medieval folk and since we’re not quite done with them, the Beatles.

Steeleye Span were a British folk-rock (with Medieval flavor) band of the early ’70’s.  An offshoot of a similar band named Fairport Convention, in 1973, they had a hit with a beautiful traditional carol called “Gaudete.” It is one of the few hit songs that was not only a capella but also entirely sung in Latin. I love this song and can listen to it any time of the year. (A few scratches in this one but it was the best version I could find).

And now for something completely different. I originally thought that “Merry Christmas Baby” was a Chuck Berry song. Turns out it goes back to the ’40’s and has been covered by just about everybody. And even though he’s permanently left the building, I’m partial to Elvis’ version. Nice and bluesy. I’m pretty sure that’s the great James Burton on guitar. (“Dig it James. Dig it!”). Thank you, thank you very much.

“Happy XMAS (War is Over)” is a song (with the Harlem Community Choir) that John and Yoko released in 1971. In typical Lennon fashion, he decided to combine Christmas wishes with anti-war protest. Lennon had by now moved to New York City and gotten involved (sometimes over his head) in protests of all sorts. So much so that the United States government under the Nixon regime tried to silence and then ultimately deport him. There is a documentary about it that you can rent on YouTube. But save that for after the holidays.

And to all races, religions, and creeds I wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, belated Happy Hanukkah and merry Winter Solstice.

Next post, after Christmas: Tribute to a fallen bluesman.

4 thoughts on “Seasons Greetings

  1. Merry Christmas, man! In my opinion, if there is one song that is both a great christmas song as well as a great song by itself it’s ”A Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues. Part of me likes the fact that England’s most successful christmas song is relentlessly sad and contains the word ‘f*ggot’, though in an inoffensive way… Have a great Xmas and thanks for the great posts.

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    1. Pogues. My knowledge of them – correct me if I’m way off here – is Irish punk band with a penchant for bad behavior. They have been on my “to-do” list for a while but I’ve dawdled. Thanks for the reminder. Happy holidays, dude.

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  2. Finally got around to listening to the music from this holiday post. I was surprised that I enjoyed “Gaudete” as much as I did. This song will be on my song list for Christmas each year. I was really surprised though that I liked the Elvis song even more. I am not an Elvis fan but this song was well done by him. The guitar work by James Burton was terrific. Appreciate you putting names to these great musicians. Always loved Lennon’s Christmas song but haven’t seen the video with the Harlem Community Choir for a long time so another nice gift from this post.

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    1. Yeah, I love Christmas music, that’s for sure. Over time I’ve developed a nice mix, not all of which is actually XMAS music. So, the traditional carols, the Nat King Cole stuff, Johnny Mathis, Bette Midler and James Taylor. Then stuff like Gaudete, bluesy stuff, Charlie Brown and then Gregorian chants. So overall it creates a nice effect. I was originally going to do two Beatles tunes and then one of the songs they used to do yearly for their fan club. But then I circled around on the three I posted a mix that worked.

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