Advent Calendar Day 13

As I said last week, I like to recognise Sundays in my Advent Calendar with versions of carols. These aren’t the kind of versions you’d hear in your local place of worship – I try to be a little different.

You may have seen that I have featured Kate Rusby in my Tuesday Tunes series, for the obvious reason that I’m a huge fan of her music. I spent last evening watching a streamed concert by Kate and her band – the regular six, augmented by a four-piece brass section. She always plays a series of Christmas concerts, and this was her way of doing something in current times. It was a lovely evening, comprised entirely of tracks from her five (count them) Christmas/New Year seasonal albums. I had to wait for this one, but it duly arrived as the first encore, by which time they were all in fancy dress:

I’ve shared that version of the song in all six years that I have been doing this. It is one of hundreds of variants of the carol about washing socks, as Kate has recognised: she has to date done three versions on her albums. The first known instance of the song dates back to 1700, when it was one of only fifteen songs authorised by the church to be sung at Christmas. This video is lovely, made to go with her version of the song, and the singer bears a remarkable likeness to her. Sweet Bells was her first seasonal album, all the way back in 2008, and it is still my favourite – though the others are all excellent too, as you might expect.

Question: where do ageing rockers go when they ‘retire?’ Answer: in Ritchie Blackmore’s case, they form a folk duo with Candice Night, the lady who later becomes their wife, and make lovely music a million miles away from their days in Deep Purple and Rainbow. This is a live recording of two carols, which looks like it was performed as part of a (large) house concert for friends and family:

The surroundings are magnificent and help set off the music to its best effect, I think. That was on their 2006 album Winter Carols, which was remastered and expanded in 2017 to tie in with the DVD release of this concert. They released a four track Christmas EP this year, Here We Come A-Caroling, and a new album is scheduled for release in March, by which time Ritchie will be nearing 76 (and in time to celebrate Candice’s 50th). It’s probably easier than strutting around a stage playing rock guitar, I guess.

To close today’s offerings here is another bonus video for you. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have rather taken to heart the Christmas adverts made by Hafod Hardware, a shop in the small mid-Wales town of Rhayader. So far, I have shown this year’s plus their first, from 2017. I said I would share them all with you: continuing the sequence, this is from 2018:

I love little Arthur’s toddle-on part at the end, and his happy giggle. This is a family business, and I think it is lovely to see them sharing that ethos in their adverts, which reflect their commitment to the local community. As in all four, the music is by Andrea Von Kampen, and is a perfect fit.

I hope today’s songs have helped create a suitably relaxed Sunday mood, and I’ll try not to spoil that with today’s picture:

Perhaps I’m not, but it’s worth a try. Yes, I did find that on the internet, and no, I didn’t get it specially made: I don’t have even Hafod’s tiny advertising budget for that.

Till tomorrow 🎄