Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.
To celebrate the patron saint of children, it is the custom in many countries to give a small gift to children on December 6, St. Nicholas’ Day.
This week, music of the Fat Man, Jolly Old St. Nick. Let’s get started. First, some history.
And could it be true? The patron saint of children, who attended the Council of Nicaea where he slapped Arius across the face when the arch-heretic was bold enough to assert that Jesus Christ is not the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, but a kind of supernatural superman created by God the Father, actually had a connection to ladies of the evening?
St. Nicholas. A racy character? Well, we know Santa can boogie. We like to open with a rousing number whenever possible.
In November 2019, under doctor’s orders, Setzer was forced to cancel his 16th annual “Christmas Rocks! Tour” by THE BRIAN SETZER ORCHESTRA due to a severe case of tinnitus. That’s when you experience ringing or other noises in one or both of your ears.
This August Setzer released his first solo album in 7 years, “Gotta Have the Rumble.”
Other than The Beach Boys the American rock band that has sold the most records is Chicago. Those recordings include some Christmas albums. Here they pose a musical question.
Chicago and Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, have announced they will embark on a 25-date tour across the U.S. in 2022, including stops in Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa, Dallas and more. Tickets went on sale today.
ST. NICK NOTE:
When Nicholas was born, his parents were serving the needs of the sick. They contracted the same disease as the sick and died. Being the only child, he inherited everything. St. Nicholas’s anonymous gift-giving originated in his hometown of Patara in Turkey. According to ancient tradition, to deliver a destitute family of a widower father and his three daughters, who their father was considering to sell into slavery, out of dire poverty, the young Nicholas secretly threw three bags of gold coins through their window on three consecutive nights.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Elvis’ Christmas Album along with its reissues has shipped at least 17 million copies in the United States making it the best-selling Christmas album of them all.
Perfect lead-in to our next selection.
Garth Brooks does the intro on his Christmas TV special.
Brooks and Yearwood married in 2005. They will celebrate their 16-year anniversary next week.
ST. NICK NOTE:
There were times when Nicholas was not hidden or anonymous in helping the afflicted and those suffering unjustly. There are records of him intervening to save three men falsely condemned to be executed by a corrupt magistrate who accepted a bribe. Fearlessly, Nicholas walked up to the executioner and grabbed the sword from his hand. Hence, he was a protector of the innocent.
For my money the best Christmas albums are those by The Carpenters. Lush orchestral arrangements by Richard. Angelic vocals by Karen.
We have a twin spin. First, this brief clip…
And a more extended mellow version.
The Carpenters appeared on a Perry Como TV special where comedian Rich Little played Santa impersonating legendary entertainer and cheapskate Jack Benny.
Listen for an awesome sax solo.
ST. NICK NOTE:
St. Nicholas spent seven long, hard years, tortured and imprisoned for his faith in Christ under the Diocletian Persecution, until the first Christian emperor, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313 that gave religious liberty to all Christians.
He died in 345. Venetian sailors stole the bones of Nicholas from his tomb in Myra then left behind some fragments, and in 1100 went back to Myra to collect the remaining fragments. Those fragments are enshrined in the church of St. Nicholas on the Lido, Venice, Italy. A pure liquid known as the Manna of St. Nicholas (or St. Nicholas Manna) has flowed from his bones for 17 centuries. Each May 9th on the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas, a Dominican priest siphons the manna of St. Nicholas into a glass vial. The manna is traditionally used to bless the Christian faithful.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend.
OK. If The Carpenters have the best Christmas albums, then just a notch below in my book are The Boston Pops. Wonderful stuff.
From the 2013 live album “A Boston Pops Christmas: Live from Symphony Hall”. The album also features the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and is conducted by Keith Lockhart. Originally recorded December 15-16, 2011, and December 13-14, 2012 from Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.