Posts Tagged ‘#MindySmith’


December 25, 2015 8 comments

As you will know if you follow me on Twitter (@clivechip) or are Facebook friends (I’m Clive Pilcher), I have been posting a Christmas Song every day throughout December. I even started my own hashtag – see above! – but I don’t think it has really caught on. I just did a quick search on Twitter and the only tweets I could find using this were my own! Still, I had a lot of fun choosing them, anyway!

For Christmas Day I thought it might be an idea to reprise a few of my favourites from these here, on the assumption that you won’t have seen them. I tried as far as possible to steer clear of the usual suspects too, so if you are looking for Wham, Wizzard or Slade please move along now, nothing to see here! I’m hoping that some of these videos, dredged from the depths of my musical taste, will be completely new to you and will encourage you to look at the full set, which is available here. If you check it out you’ll find that, for the 25 days of December I have posted, er, 27 videos. I gave a couple of bonus ones along the way! Only 7 of these have been chart hits in the UK, so I think I’ve managed to find the more obscure ones quite well!

The first one of this ‘best of’ is from my favourite live band, Bellowhead. You may well never have heard of them, but don’t worry, they have only been going for 11 years and are in the midst of their farewell tour! This gives you a feel for why their live shows are so spectacularly entertaining:

I’m going to miss them: I think I’ve seen them play live 7 times so far, and will add an 8th to that in April. And if you weren’t already wide awake you are now!

I included this next one among my choices as, although it doesn’t to my knowledge appear in any compilation of Christmas songs, it is in my view a perfect modern retelling of the nativity story, the gift of a special child who will change people’s lives. Add in the fact that it is a beautiful song from one of my favourite singers and there’s no way I could leave it out! See what you think:

One of the all-time great Christmas pop songs is I Saw Mommy (or, in UK English, ‘Mummy’) Kissing Santa Claus. There have been many versions of this, but it was easy for me to choose the one for my list: John Mellencamp has made so many good records and his version of this is great. This video also has the bonus of a cameo performance by his daughter. Given that this was in 1987 I hope she looks back at her younger self now and sees just how adorable she was (and hopefully still is!):

Another pop standard at this time of year is Little Drummer Boy. Again, there are so many versions of this to choose from, but I went for this one. I bet you’ve never seen it done like this before!:

If you haven’t come across Walk Off The Earth before, all I can say is “where have you been?!” Look them up on YouTube and you’ll find some brilliant videos, both covers and their own songs.

For Christmas Eve I posted this:

A bit of a no-brainer really: accurate in my timekeeping, and it’s a lovely little song. Mindy Smith was one of only two artists who featured twice in my selections, the other being the aforementioned Walk Off The Earth, and the other of hers that I chose – Snowed In – is equally lovely. 

My final choice, for Christmas Day, is a version of another Christmas standard. This is a largely unknown singer – Brynn Andre – but I think her version of this is an absolutely perfect way to round off this brief walk through Christmas songs, and the video is so appropriate for Christmas Day:

All that remains is for me to wish everyone reading this a very Happy and Peaceful Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful time, with the people who matter most to you. If you’d like to see the full selection of songs, do please look up my YouTube playlist. And if you really want Slade and Wizzard et al I have a longer playlist which you can find here.



New Year’s Day

January 1, 2014 3 comments

So it’s 2014 already? When 2013 started I thought it would feel like the longest year of my life. As I may have mentioned (ahem!) I retired in September and as I was really looking forward to this I imagined that the months would drag until then. How wrong I was! It seems to have been a whirlwind all around me, and the year absolutely rocketed by. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m loving retirement – I was clearly born to be a gentleman of leisure! – and have been caught up in turning my rented flat into much more of a comfortable home now that I’ll be spending much more time here. Well, officially, anyway! Those of you who have been with me here for some time will know that I started this blog to share my experience of depression in the hope that it would help others, and I have to say that the dark days of 2011-12 seem a very long way away. Of course, I am still under the care of the health services and am likely to be on medication for a while yet, but I rarely think about my illness now. That has to be a good thing, right?

This is probably the last chance for me to post while I still have WordPress’ wonderful seasonal theme for my blog, complete with falling snow. So for New Year’s Day I thought I’d share with you a few songs that I think are right for this time of year, as well as leaving you with my hope for the year ahead. Although it isn’t perhaps the most seasonal of the songs, I chose as the title for this piece an early U2 song, if for no other reason than to show you Bono in his angelic youth phase, before he became a great world leader. It also happens to be today – clever, eh!

It wouldn’t feel right to write this without wishing you a ‘Happy New Year!!’ somewhere along the way. This seems like a good way to do it:

In the UK and, I believe, other parts of the world, the song Auld Lang Syne is associated with New Year. I’d like to include it here, but – with apologies to my Scots friends – I couldn’t possibly do that with some hairy-arsed bagpipe players involved. So here’s a new version, which I think is rather lovely. It’s by Mindy Smith and she put the video together after asking fans to send her pictures of  “those WE LOVE and those WE WILL NEVER FORGET.” It tells the story well:

If you can watch that without a tear in your eye then you have a harder heart than mine!

The turn of a new year is always a time which encourages us to look back at what has happened and to think about what is to come. This Counting Crows track is in my view one of the best at conveying those feelings. As an added bonus, the video includes some of Courtney Cox’s finest ever acting work:

In the vein of that song, I too have spent some quiet time over the past few days thinking about where I was, where I am now and what lies ahead. Whilst I’m grateful to be so much better, I know of several people who have been, and still are, in difficult situations either physically or mentally, or both. This saddens me, as it makes me feel unable to help. I’ve been so well supported during and since my illness that I wish I could give something of that to people I am proud to call friends. I’m not in any way qualified to provide counselling or any other assistance, but I know I can help people by listening to them and sharing my experience with them. But I’m far from being unique in this. We all have something to offer others, especially when they may be afraid to ask for it. So my hope is that we can all think of someone who needs and deserves our love and support, even if they are unable to tell us that, and to do something about it. Hopefully we can then all look forward to a better year in 2014, no matter how good 2013 may have been for us.

Happy New Year. May it bring you peace, joy, love and fulfilment.

It’s Christmas!!! (Well, almost…..)

December 22, 2013 7 comments

I love Christmas. There, I’ve outed myself and it feels good. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve always loved this time of year and, although I’m not particularly religious, I recognise the importance of this time for so many. Christmas nowadays is a rampantly commercial affair and I’m as guilty as the next person in contributing to this – although I do as much as I can from the safety of my home and computer though! I don’t have an open fire to sit in front of and on which I can roast my chestnuts, and as music is such a large part of my life I thought it would be a good way to mark the season by compiling a YouTube playlist. A humongous market has developed for music to celebrate Christmas, from the religious and spiritual to the frivolous and commercial, and with so many to choose from I decided that any attempt at comprehensiveness was doomed to failure. I have therefore restricted myself to some favourites and a few obvious and less obvious choices. This has resulted in what I think is an eclectic mix, which I am splitting into two parts. I shall be posting again on Christmas Day with a selection of carols but for part one here’s a random selection which I hope will entertain you. I was going to embed the entire playlist but as there are 33 videos on it lasting almost three hours I thought it fairer to let you choose for yourself! I hope there’s at least one in there that you like! To give you a taste of what you can find, I’m sharing a few here too.

The playlist isn’t really in any order, though I have put my favourite live band first. Bellowhead are probably unknown to anyone not interested in folk music but I can highly recommend their gigs if you like to be entertained and have fun. This video – made on a ‘no expenses provided’ budget – is so typical of them and is simply great fun:

I defy anyone to watch that without tapping their toes and smiling!

I also wanted to highlight a couple of other less well-known artists. This next song, with an accompanying ‘home made’ video, is by Mindy Smith from her new EP Snowed In and is just beautiful:

If you liked that, and I hope you did, the title track from the EP is further down the list.

I also hope you like this next one. The song Let It Snow is an old standard and has been covered countless times. Whilst it may conjure up images of the old style crooners in woolly jumpers, sitting in front of a log fire smashed out of their brains on whisky, it can be done in other ways. This version, by Brynn Andre, came out last year and in my very very ‘umble opinion is the best I’ve ever heard – by miles! The video is lovely too:

Those who know me will be aware of my admiration for the band Walk Off The Earth and their videos. Here’s one which by their standards is very simple, but conveys their usual spirit of fun and good vibrations (no, not that one):

Now, to close this post, a trio of songs without which a Christmas playlist would be totally inadequate. The first two date back to the mass explosion of Christmas pop songs in the 1970s, when it suddenly became cool to have a Christmas hit. Although there are a couple of others on my list, these two are the ones most people know. Firstly, a Wizzard Christmas:

And then, of course, the song which still makes the band a cool £500,000 in royalties every Christmas – and it’s been around for 40 years! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

The last one for this selection is, I think, my favourite Christmas song:

You may disagree with my choice but do take a look at the whole playlist as I’m sure you’ll find something there to brighten up your Christmas. After all, there are another 25 songs and a whole TV show there, so the odds must be good! Enjoy the music! I hope your preparations for the big day go well, and I’ll see you again on Christmas Day.

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