This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
Well it’s the time of the year when I go on my annual rant about snow, icicles, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, sleigh bells and all that other folderol that seems to infect Christmas songs.
That’s not Christmas where I live and the couple of times I’ve experienced Christmas like that it felt completely, totally, utterly wrong.
Christmas is long warm (or dare I say hot) days with chilled Champagne or cold white wine sipped in the shade with cold prawns, lobster, salads and such for the Christmas feast.
Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting, let’s play some jolly music.DADDY COOL would certainly know of what I speak as they come from Melbourne too.
They were the biggest band in Australia in the early seventies until they split. They reformed and split several times over the years but alas, no more as only two of the group are still alive.
The song today is from one of their later reformations when they recorded an album called “The New Cool”. The song is The Christmas Bug.
JULIA LEE AND HER BOYFRIENDS seem to have some sort of Christmas Spirit.
It’s not the spirit usually associated with Christmas because Santa can’t bring what she wants most. I’ll let her (and her friends) tell you about it.
KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK AND JACK DEJOHNETTE perform and record regularly together.
Separately they are some of the best around on their various instruments, so together they play some of the finest jazz going these days. From one of their albums, “After the Fall” we find out that Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
Well, we knew that already, but it’s good to hear what they make of that hoary old song.
THE HOLLY TWINS want only one thing for Christmas.
Before I tell you what that is, I’d like to say that I know very little about The Holly Twins. The only thing is that they are twins and their names are Jonell and Glenell McQuaig. They sing I Want Elvis for Christmas.
They have the help of Eddie Cochran on this song both playing guitar and impersonating Elvis in between verses. Eddie died in a car crash at age 21.
I featured a live video of THE POGUES' song Fairytale of New York in the very first of these Christmas columns and I thought it was time for their original studio version.
In the past I've also used a superior version of the song by Tex Perkins and Claire Bowditch who are also far better looking than SHANE MCGOWAN who sang the song. But then, I'm far better looking than Shane too.
That's Shane, not me. Singing with Shane is KIRSTY MCCOLL, daughter of singer/songwriter Ewan McColl.
Kirsty died in a boating accident in 2000.
RUFUS THOMAS is probably best known for his novelty songs, one of which, Walking the Dog, was a nice little earner for him when the Rolling Stones covered it.
Naturally he doesn’t take the season too seriously when he tells his sweetie (or someone): I'll Be Your Santa Baby. He gives it a really funky feeling.
ESTHER PHILLIPS, also known as Little Esther, recorded a few songs with MEL WALKER, backed by the JOHNNY OTIS orchestra.
Esther is disconsolate because her baby is so far away, but like all good Christmas wishes, everything comes good in the end. All this is revealed in Far Away Christmas Blues.
This year we’ll have a couple of moments of couth to end proceedings.
First up is ARCANGELO CORELLI.
Around his time the Concerto Grosso was top of the pops and he wrote a bunch of them (as did Handel and others). The one I’ve selected is the third movement of Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 8 because it’s also generally called Christmas Concerto, or if you want to be technically correct: Made for Christmas Night.
J.S. BACH wrote cantatas for every Sunday of the year and all religious holidays.
He wrote several for the various days around Christmas and the one I’ve chosen is a chorale cantata for the first Sunday after Christmas which is close enough for me. It is the first movement of BWV 122, Das neugeborne Kindelein, or The new born child.