Giving Thanks

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914

I have posted several times in the past to mark the US’ big day, and have written about its history. For the past two years I have played some songs loosely related to ‘thank you,’ but am taking things a little more widely this year. Some of you may follow the lovely Bernadette and her blog, New Classic Recipe. She has been a long time supporter for me, and her blog contains the most delicious looking recipes – though they are way outside my culinary range! I just hope her preparations are going better than this:

Bernadette is in the midst of a season of celebration, and invited me to come up with a playlist. She will be doing this until New Year so this gave me a wide range to choose from, and as I will be doing my usual stuff for Christmas and New Year I thought I’d share something with her for Thanksgiving. These aren’t a bunch of party songs as such, but they all say something about what people we love mean to us, and that is what Thanksgiving Day is all about, right?

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, aren’t we? 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.

Another song which I have played before isn’t specifically for today, but is a heartfelt ode to being thankful for love:

I included this song all the way back in my Tuesday Tunes 31 post – exactly 100 posts ago in that series – 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.

This is another that I have played before, and it is also here because it is about ‘thanks‘ rather than having any particular relevance to today. This 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.

This next one is an audio only clip, for the simple reasons that (1) it is by an English folk band that I doubt many (if any) of you will know apart from my playing them, and (2) there isn’t a video for it:

I played several Show Of Hands songs in my recent piece on Remembrance, and as they suffered from copyright blocking I’m hoping this one will be ok for those of you beyond British shores. If not, and as I can’t find an alternative clip, the song is called Thanks, and maybe you’ll find it on your version of YouTube – you won’t regret it! They are one of my favourite bands, and one of those I’ve seen play live on multiple occasions. This is a little song about a band being grateful for its audience and their support, and 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. They are a pretty special band, as their Wikipedia entry tells. One of the times I saw them in concert 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. It might also be a good way to thank your guests for coming today, if you have some.

I’m slipping in a couple now which don’t have the word thank in their title, but both of them are songs about how much people can matter to us. You’ll know them both, I’m sure. First, this one:

I could have played you an audio version of the original recording, but this intimate live performance at the White House seemed a perfect fit for today: how much more ‘American’ can you get?

And as a song of love, this is another in the category of ‘you can’t get much better than this’:

Another that I havent played before is one about families, memories, and what our childhood home can mean to us. This is, I think, perfect for a family get together to share, to reminisce, and to remember those who may no longer be with us:

My final song for today is the only one that is actually about Thanksgiving Day:

I have played this one before and although I know there are other songs by American singers about today, 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 wonderful. 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. This is a poignant thing for me to say, as my ex-wife’s mother passed away on Tuesday evening and she and my two daughters are absolutely devastated. I know how much they will all miss her, and with Christmas being just under five weeks away they will be feeling that even more so when that day comes. Family are the most important thing for us, and I hope that Bernadette and all of you will be able to reflect on that as you listen to these songs.