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A #ChristmasSongOfTheDay Part One

December 6, 2018 15 comments

You may have noticed that my blog’s tagline includes the phrase ‘with occasional music,’ and you may also have noticed that I have made the odd post or several on this theme. I think I’m now in the fourth year – or maybe the fifth, time flies – of posting a Christmas song on Twitter and Facebook every day in December, leading up to two on Christmas Day itself. This year, for the first time, I’m sharing them with my newish Facebook page for this blog (obligatory plug – please feel free to hit the ‘like’ button on the widget thingy to the right), as well as Twitter, of course. Last year, I began posting them here too, in several chunks rather than daily, and as it went tolerably well I thought I’d do it again. You may have seen last year’s posts: if so, I’m relying on your memory being poor, as a number of these songs have featured before! So, welcome to Part One of 2018’s imaginatively titled #ChristmasSongOfTheDay.

One of the things I try to avoid with my choices is falling back on the usual suspects. There are many very good Christmas songs which have done little or nothing on the pop charts, and those are probably more to my musical tastes anyway. So, if you’re looking for Slade, Mud, Wham etc kindly move along now – nothing for you to see here! Having said that, I do make a few honourable exceptions, and the song I’ve started with each year is one of those. This has been one of my favourites since it was a massive hit in 1970, and was written as a message against the rampant commercialisation of Christmas. Nearly fifty years later that message is just as relevant, if not more so:

For December Sundays I try to choose something reflective, maybe a little more serious than some of my other choices which, as you will see, can be a little raucous! This year, my first Sunday choice was this one, with a beautiful video to accompany it:

I’ve loved Jackson Browne’s music ever since I first heard it, around the time I went to university – 1972. You may know of him as the co-writer of the song from which my blog takes his name, and I rate him very highly as a singer-songwriter. I was lucky enough to see him play live in 2010, at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and he didn’t disappoint. And yes, he did play Take It Easy!

Another longstanding favourite of mine is John Mellencamp (aka John Cougar, Johnny Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp). This was my choice for Day 3: it is a live concert performance of a Christmas pop classic and, whilst other versions have been chart hits, this one wasn’t – although it does appear on a benefit album, A Very Special Christmas, which was released to support Special Olympics International Inc. This performance is typically boisterous and features a cameo by his then three year old daughter Teddi, who rather steals the show at the end.  The ‘proud Dad’ look on his face is lovely and, thirty or so years on, I hope she is as proud of this as he clearly is:

Continuing in rowdy mode into Day 4 I chose a song and video which encapsulate all the joys of a family Christmas. Or maybe not. You may not be familiar with the Dropkick Murphys but do watch this – the song is great, and the video is a hoot:

Something a little calmer for Day 5? OK, here you go – well, to begin with, anyway. Walk Off The Earth have made their career on the back of a whole raft of very creative videos, both cover versions and their own songs. If you like this, and haven’t come across them before, you can find loads more to watch on YouTube. Again, this is a Christmas pop standard which has featured in the charts, notably in the ‘duet’ by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. WOTE’s take on it is a little different:

The final song in this selection is the one I posted earlier today. Anyone with an interest in rock/folk/pop music will be aware of the Nobel Prize winner Mr Robert Zimmerman. But you may not be familiar with the album of Christmas songs he released in 2009: Christmas In The Heart. This is one of the tracks on that album, and shows a side of him you probably won’t have seen before:

That’s all for today, folks. There are so many songs to choose from, and I’m already afraid that I’m going to have to leave out some of my favourites. Oh well, there’s always next year. I’ll be back on Wednesday with songs 7 to 12 and I hope to see you again then. Do please let me know in the comments if there are any songs you would like me to include. I’m always open to suggestions: but be warned, I can always ignore them, unless they are very good, of course!

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3 Day 3 Quotes Challenge – Day 3

October 14, 2016 9 comments

It’s the final day of my three quotes for three days challenge. As I said before I’ve been asked to do this by the lovely Olive Ole – do please take a look at her blog if you don’t already know it, you won’t regret it. Just click on the link to the English posts, unless you can read Norwegian!

As I said in my two previous posts for this, I’ve themed my three days. Having started with some of my favourite quotes around mental health, and then moving on to retirement, I’m closing today with another subject that matters to me: music. Music is such an important part of my life, and always has been. I believe that it is essential to our wellbeing, and the fact that music therapy is used in the treatment of some mental health problems seems to support me in this. Music has existed in some form throughout human existence, and has often been quoted by various writers and commentators: it soothes the savage breast (or is that beast, I never know), it is the food of love etc etc. I had already planned to make this subject choice but it feels even more appropriate to be doing this the day after Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. I do have my nagging doubts about that however: in some way, by awarding him the prize they are – rightly – recognising the genius of his lyrics, but aren’t they also separating these from the whole of his music, and music in general? Isn’t music the sum of all of its parts? Too deep and philosophical for me, but it might be the subject of a post at some point, if I can get my head around it.

As befits my wide musical taste, I’ve chosen an eclectic mix to demonstrate what I think music means, starting with one of the earliest writers still known to us:

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To be honest, I could probably leave it at that. I’ve always thought that a beautiful description – the words are almost musical in themselves. But I want to share more with you, like this one, from another early commentator on the human condition:

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We all need pleasure in our lives, and music can give us so much. Or to put it another way, from possibly an unexpected source:

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I’ve always thought of Nietzsche as being in some way harder-edged than some philosophers, and that quote is typically blunt and to the point. But he encapsulates the meaning of music for our lives, albeit in a negative way!

So, there you have it. The importance of music, in three quotes. But wait, shouldn’t there be something else for a musical performance? Of course, the encore! So here, updating it in more modern words, is my encore:

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Yup, that does it for me!

A final day recap on the rules of the challenge, in case you haven’t seen them before:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

My Day 3 nominees are:

Anyone who is reading this! Yes, you! Having played by the rules for the first two days, I hit a major problem in choosing for today: I follow around 250 blogs, some more avidly than others, it has to be admitted. Choosing from among these was nigh on impossible, so I’ve wimped out. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this so I thought it only fair to give you all the chance to do it too. Let me know if you do, and I’ll be looking out for you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my three days of quotes and have followed the links to my previous nominees. And thanks again to Olive Ole for nominating me – it’s been fun 🙂

 

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