Today is Sunday 5th December, and it has always been my custom to share Christmas Carols on Sundays in my Advent Calendar. But they come with a difference: you won’t see any church choirs here. Two of these have appeared in previous years, but I like both a lot and for that reason I’m sharing them again. I’m also working on the assumption that you won’t remember them, anyway, so I can get away with some repeats – if the tv companies do it, why can’t I? I’m giving you another weekend bonus of a third song today, and this is definitely a new one: the video was only published three days ago.
If you search YouTube for Angels From The Realms Of Glory the first few results are of the aforementioned church variety. This one comes a few down the results, and it is MUCH more fun:
Again recycling words I’ve used before, Maddy Prior has been a part of the English folk music scene since the late Sixties, and was a founder member of Steeleye Span, one of the two bands (with Fairport Convention) at the forefront of the development of our folk-rock tradition. She is still in the band but each Christmas – apart from last year, for obvious reasons – she has also been with the Carnival Band, who do a series of gigs putting their own slant on traditional carols. This is a typical example: they have a lot of fun doing these shows, and from the roar at the end it seems our typically stuffy British audiences enjoy them too! As a side note, the fiddle player is Giles Lewin, who was a founder member of Bellowhead, another of my favourite bands – they will be making a return appearance here too. I’m happy to report that Maddy Prior And The Carnival Band’s live shows have returned this year, as this kind of joy needs to be spread around at Christmas.
The brand new one is from a band I have included in my selections before, but not with this carol:
Blackmore’s Night is, as you might have guessed, partially fronted by a certain Ritchie Blackmore. It is a British-American traditional folk rock band formed in 1997, consisting mainly of Ritchie (acoustic and electric guitars, hurdygurdy, mandola, mandolin, nyckelharpe) and of Candice Night (lead vocals, lyricist and woodwinds). Their lineup has seen many changes over the years, but they are still releasing albums – their latest came out earlier this year. Their lovely music is a million miles away from Ritchie’s days in Deep Purple and Rainbow. Despite the twenty-six year age difference between them (he is now 76, she is 50) the two were married in 2008, having been together for nineteen years, since a year or two after they first met: she approached him for an autograph at a Rainbow gig. This is a track from their 2006 album Winter Carols, which achieved the great heights of #74 in the German albums chart and #56 in Japan, though it did also make #7 in the Billboard ‘New Age’ albums chart, of which you have all heard, right? It has been updated and re-released several times, including this year: this is one of a series of lyric videos they are releasing to promote the new record. I think it’s rather nice.
As I said at the outset, two of these are making a return here. This is the second of those – it is just so stunningly good that I couldn’t possibly omit it:
As I said when I selected this one last year, Annie Lennox is a singer who I loved when she was in the Eurythmics, but whose solo career has largely passed me by. I think this is amazing: the folk, almost pagan, treatment is very much to my taste, and her powerful voice carries the song so well. The video is brilliant, too. This was released on her album A Christmas Cornucopia in 2010. The album peaked at #16 here and at #35 in the US. This track was also released as a single, but only got as far as #126 here, failing to chart anywhere else. But it is a great way to bring today’s carol choices to a rousing finale. There has been very much a folk feel to all three of today’s choices – I’ve been in my element!
How about an image for the day? As it is Sunday, I’ll try to keep it clean(ish):
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’ll be back again tomorrow, and hope to see you then ☃️