Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day here I have posted several times in the past to mark the event as many of you will, I know, be enjoying your special day today: it is my way of showing some respect for your culture and traditions. In previous years I have posted about the day and its traditions: the 2019 effort For Thanksgiving Day is typical of these. and you can see in that an example of what I’ve been saying (not least because I have recycled some of the words over the years!). Last year I thought I’d do something a little different to mark the day: having posted a lot of music, in particular since early 2020, it struck me as a good idea to post a few songs on the theme of giving thanks. Only one of them was specifically about today, but the others mined a similar seam. Having done that, it left me with the question of how to follow it up. All of the songs I posted were ones I like, and I didn’t really want to drop any of them, but there were others I knew of too. So I’ve decided to share again last year’s four songs, adding in four new ones. If things are getting on top of you after all that celebrating, relax and enjoy some good music!
A theme that runs through the day, and which I think is particularly appropriate in the blogging community, is friendship. We are all grateful for our friends, I think. I began with this one last year, and it seems a good place to start again now:
I bought the album that came from – All This And Heaven Too – at the time of its release in 1978. You may well recognise it as the theme tune from the long-running tv show The Golden Girls, although they used a cover version by Cindy Fee for that. If we are going to be thankful for anything on any day – not just today – friends and family top the list for me.
My next choice is another I shared last year, and which I described as “very much a gift from English folk music to my American friends”:
Fairport Convention were one of the two main leading lights in the development of the English folk-rock music movement, along with Steeleye Span. That clip is remarkably well-preserved, being over fifty years old, but watching it takes me straight back to my youth: I was 17 then. The song was released as a single in September 1970: I bought it on the 1972 compilation album The History Of Fairport Convention, the first of many such albums in the band’s lifetime. They continue to this day, and guitarist Simon Nicol is still with them. The song was written by Dave Swarbrick, who takes lead vocal, and Richard Thompson, who provides the main harmony. Swarbrick is sadly no longer with us but Thompson is still producing wonderful music to this day.
The third song which I shared last year is also nothing to do with today, but is a heartfelt ode to being thankful for love:
You will do well to recall that I included this song in my Tuesday Tunes 31 post, but it is so good that I just had to share it again! If you want to know what I said, do please follow the link back to that post. For today, all I want to say is that, as an expression of love, and of being grateful that someone is in your life, you can’t really do any better than that.
It’s about time I shared some of those new songs I promised you. As before, they are mostly here because they are about ‘thanks’ rather than having any particular relevance to this day, but that’s my version of artistic licence, I guess. The first was a big hit, so you may well know it:
Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong, to give her her full name, is an English singer and songwriter. I guess they had to shorten it to Dido as there wasn’t room on the record label for the full thing. She enjoyed international success with her debut album No Angel in 1999 (UK #1, US #4). This is one of the hit singles (UK #3, US #3) from the album, which sold sold over 21 million copies worldwide, and won her several awards, including two Brit Awards: Best British Female and Best British Album, and the MTV Europe Music Award for Best New Act. The first verse of this song is sampled in Stan, a collaboration with American rapper Eminem (you may remember him from Tuesday, the one who didn’t like Weird Al).
This next one is actually the reverse of giving thanks, but as the word is in the title I’m including it anyway. Because I can. It was never a single, so this is an audio only job, I’m afraid:
As the clip shows, that was on Rod Stewart’s album Blondes Have More Fun, which was released in 1978, peaking at #3 in the UK and #1 in the US, as it also did in Australia and New Zealand. That was the time of the crest of the craze for disco music, and Rod, never one to miss a trick, jumped on the bandwagon with this album. It is some way short of being my favourite of his records, but this track was, for me, the best one on the album, by miles. The hurt, bitterness and anger that come out of it are powerful – I wonder who it was about? Wikipedia and Google aren’t telling, but as Britt Ekland dumped him in 1977 over his alleged infidelity she looks to be the prime suspect.
This next one is also an audio only clip, for the simple reason that it is by an English folk band that I doubt many (if any) of you will know, and there isn’t a video for it:
I don’t think I’ve ever included Show Of Hands here before, which is very remiss of me: they are one of my favourite bands, and one of those I’ve seen play live on multiple occasions. The long term core of the band (formed in 1986) comprises Steve Knightley and Phil Beer, and for a long time they have been joined by Miranda Sykes and, more recently, Cormac Byrne. They perform on the basis of a share of the takings, rather than a fixed fee, and have recently had to scale back to just the original duo: times are hard for less well-known acts in these pandemic days. This was the closing track on their 2012 album, Wake The Union, which achieved the unlikely feat of hitting the UK album charts, all the way up to #73. I can remember discussing them here, but I guess it was in a comment rather than a post. They are a pretty special band, as their Wikipedia entry tells. One of the times I saw them was on their tour promoting this album, which they kindly signed for me afterwards. This was the closing track to the show, and we all left in good spirits after it.
This is the fourth ‘new’ one I’m sharing today. Again, although it is called My Thanksgiving, it isn’t about today in particular, but it is a very pertinent take on what we have in our lives that can make us grateful:
Given that Don Henley is a member of The Eagles, who are the scourge of bloggers trying to embed their songs in posts, I’m keeping everything crossed that this one plays for you, as it is a wonderful song. Doubling my chances, here is the link to an audio version of it, too (you’ll need to log in to Spotify to hear the whole song, though):
This was the closing track on Don’s Inside Job album, which was released in 2000 – his first in eleven years. But that was just a short gap compared with his next one: the follow up came out in 2015. But then again, he was busy back being with the boys in the band, so I’ll forgive him. Inside Job reached #7 in the US and #25 here in the UK.
My final song for today is the remaining one from last year, and is the one I promised you that is actually about Thanksgiving Day:
I also shared this song in 2019: I know there are other songs by American singers about today, but anything by Mary Chapin Carpenter is going to be high on my list. The warmth and beauty of her voice and her lyrics give me comfort, and the video that someone has made for this song is a perfect fit. You can find this one on MCC’s 2008 album Come Darkness, Come Light, a fabulous collection of songs for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year: highly recommended, and you will hear more from it next month.
Wherever you are, if you are celebrating today I send you my best wishes for a wonderful day, hopefully spent in the company of those you love. In these continuing pandemic days, it isn’t always easy to get together with loved ones, but I hope you have managed to find a safe and officially-approved way of doing so. Enjoy your special day.