25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 24

Hello, Vixens!!!  Merry Christmas Eve!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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 (Original source unknown)

Today’s song dates back to 1847 and combined the words of French poet Placide Cappeau and the music of Adolphe Adam.  The more familiar singing edition came to life in 1855 courtesy of Unitarian Minister John Sullivan Dwight.

In whatever language this song is sung, the message is clear:  to rejoice over the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  No matter how many signs we see at stores that read “Jesus is the reason for the season”, it may be easy to forget that Christmas is a religious holiday for those who believe in him.  We all know how commercial this holiday has always been (even Charlie Brown commented on that in 1965) and how it is arriving earlier and earlier in stores and the media each year.  But the little Catholic school girl I used to be 100 years ago cannot choose any other song for Christmas Eve than the one which celebrates the greatest gift God gave us.

These are my top three favorite versions of this song:

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                                                                                             (Original sources unknown)                                        

Aretha Franklin:  “O Holy Night

Al Green:   “O Holy Night

Mahalia Jackson:  “O Holy Night

And for the sarcastic adult that I have become, I cannot resist including this irreverent version every year because it makes me laugh until I cry.

Eric Cartman:  “O Holy Night

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 (Original source unknown)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

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Christmas Song Countdown #11

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

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Vintage Christmas Scene (original source unknown)

 

If a line was drawn in history as to three biggest voices to put soul music on the map,  it would read like this:  Sam Cooke, Otis Redding (featured in yesterday’s post) & the singer with today’s song.

Side note:  It is not James Brown.  While he was without question “The Godfather of Soul”, he was also credited with being one of the inventors of funk music.  Hence, he was on a completely different path than the other three singers. In his own league, as the saying goes.

But, as usual, I digress.

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Vintage Christmas Card (original source unknown)

 

Today’s singer carried the torch after Redding’s death, and never put it down.  While Motown & Philly Soul were more than respectable outlets for great music, today’s singer cruised past both with the same achingly impassioned vocal delivery that made Redding a legend, but giving it a more polished sound, much like Cooke.  The combination was electric.  That is how his sound rose above everything else in the 1970’s.

When I saw him in concert, he ran into the audience and I was lucky enough to get a great big bear hug from him.  Unfortunately, it took place at a time when cameras were still banned from concerts, so I do not have a picture of the momentous occasion.  But I relived it every time I saw him take the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theater when he made his yearly visit to “The Late Show With David Letterman” (another reason why I miss that brilliant show!!!)

Al Green:  Winter Wonderland.

I chose Green’s song specifically for today because on this date in 1964, Sam Cooke died at the age of  33.  Through the time machine that is YouTube, I came across this holiday greeting he made in 1963.  I am not sure why he recorded it.  Perhaps it was done as a radio station promotion or for his record label.  All I know is it is a gift, so Christmas came early for me.  Listen to it here.

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Sam Cooke (original source unknown)

 

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #7

Hi, Vixens!!!  How are all of you today?  Ready for another great holiday song???  Then let’s get to it.

Soul music-whether in the form of Motown, R&B, Philly Soul, Gospel or some other variation-has been a favorite of mine forever.  I love music that is consumed with so much emotion.  It reminds me I am alive and hits my soul like a bolt of electricity, which is perhaps where the term “soul music” came from-music that touches the soul.

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Original Source Unknown

So many moments hit me like that:  the first time I heard Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay“, and Ray Charles’ “America The Beautiful“, and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through The Grapevine” not to mention his absolutely sublime version of “The Star Spangled Banner“, anything at all by Aretha Franklin and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, to name a few.

And while we are on the subject of Al  Green, his version of “O Holy Night” sent shivers down my spine from the second I heard it.  Done in his signature style, it oozes personality, charm, soul, R&B and every emotion it makes you feel.  It is simply majestic!!!

I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  steppersusa.com

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #9

Song #9, like #10 before it, is also a soulful upbeat love song, but this one has the distinction of actually being the #1 hit song on Valentine’s Day in 1972.  It is “Let’s Stay Together” by another one of my all time favorite soul singers, Al Green. 

I had the honor of seeing Green in concert almost a decade ago, and he is every bit the phenomenal performer live that he is on TV when he is blowing the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theatre during one of his numerous yearly performances on “The Late Show With David Letterman” (just one more reason to be despondent over Letterman’s impending retirement). 

Green’s remarkable voice exudes the exquisite beauty and polish of Sam Cooke, the passion and raw emotion of Otis Redding and the power and sophistication of Jackie Wilson all rolled into one.  Add to that equation one of the most sublime falsetto voices ever heard and there you have the genius of this utterly superb performer.   

He wrote the lyrics to “Let’s Stay Together” and the music was written by Al Jackson, Jr. (drummer for Booker T & the MG’s) and producer Willie Mitchell.  The words are so simple, yet so powerful and direct.   I do not know about Green’s mindset today, but when he wrote these lyrics he clearly was a man devoid of any intimacy issues:

“Let me say that since, baby, since we’ve been together
  Loving you forever is what I need
  Oh let me be the one you come running to

   I’ll never be untrue”………Simply beautiful.

Rolling Stone ranked this song #60 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.   In 1995 Green was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Natalie Cole.

In 1976 he became a reverend and nearly every Sunday he can be found giving the sermon at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, TN. The services are open to the public and even though I have seen Green live, seeing him at the pulpit of his own church is on my bucket list.

Enjoy!!!