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Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections

UK Steve 20 Sep 99 - 07:06 PM
Jo Taylor 20 Sep 99 - 07:18 PM
Joe Offer 20 Sep 99 - 08:48 PM
sophocleese 20 Sep 99 - 09:23 PM
Arkie 20 Sep 99 - 09:56 PM
DougR 20 Sep 99 - 09:56 PM
Stewie 21 Sep 99 - 12:48 AM
Ted from Australia 21 Sep 99 - 02:24 AM
GeorgeH 21 Sep 99 - 07:56 AM
Barbara Shaw 21 Sep 99 - 08:05 AM
sophocleese 21 Sep 99 - 05:27 PM
Susan A-R 21 Sep 99 - 09:30 PM
DougR 21 Sep 99 - 10:46 PM
Magpie 22 Sep 99 - 02:53 AM
Sandy Paton 22 Sep 99 - 03:46 AM
Stolzi@aol.com 22 Sep 99 - 01:24 PM
DougR 22 Sep 99 - 05:07 PM
KathWestra 22 Sep 99 - 05:49 PM
Scott Cooper 22 Sep 99 - 07:50 PM
Sandy Paton 22 Sep 99 - 08:46 PM
Susan A-R 22 Sep 99 - 10:34 PM
David Coffin dcoffin@cove.com 23 Sep 99 - 09:55 PM
Bat Goddess 24 Sep 99 - 07:57 AM
Wotcha 24 Sep 99 - 09:02 AM
MMario 24 Sep 99 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Sweetpea Musical Promotions 12 Dec 11 - 05:09 AM
Les in Chorlton 12 Dec 11 - 07:44 AM
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Subject: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: UK Steve
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 07:06 PM

My daughter Anne is taking part in a Christmas production at the local Church. The basic concept is Christmas through the ages and the many facets of its celebration. Anne is planning a solo vocal accompanied by hopefully guitar or maybe piano. We are looking for something that is perhaps a little outside of the mainstream Christmas carol catalogue, we are particularly interested in English traditional music. I have had a look in the local library and there are various books of folk songs covering the usual subjects, love, lust, death etc, but nothing particularly seasonal outside of I Saw Three Ships, and references to partridges in pear trees. Does anybody out there have any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Jo Taylor
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 07:18 PM

The Coventry Carol
The Holly and the Ivy
with the older tune, I'm humming it but you can't hear me, can you? If you don't know it, I'll do ABCs ...
Jo Taylor


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 08:48 PM

Hi, Steve - try a category search of our database here. Put @Xmas or @carol in the search box in the upper-left corner of this page, and you'll find lots. One favorite of mine is "Cherry Tree Carol." We have at least three versions of that.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: sophocleese
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 09:23 PM

How mainstream is mainstream? The Oxford Book of Carols has some lovely carols that are rarely heard annd many of the tunes are English traditional, some of the words too. I'm also trying to think of others, thinking, thinking...


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Arkie
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 09:56 PM

"Twas On A Night Like This" is a wonderful Christmas recording with lots of good songs. Sandy could probably elaborate more, since he and Caroline did that with Cathy Barton and Dave Para. The Christmas Revels have quite a few songs which are not all that well known. I also really like O Little Town of Bethlehem sund to the tune Green Forest. You could get those from a Methodist Hymnal.


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: DougR
Date: 20 Sep 99 - 09:56 PM

UK Steve: I would recommend "The Cherry Tree Carol," a lovely simple little song that lends itself well to simple guitar accompaniment.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 12:48 AM

The Watersons' Frost and Fire, now on CD on Topic, has a few good'uns, including the lovely 'The Holly Bears a Berry'.


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHRISTMAS IN THE ALICE (Greg Hastings)^^^
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 02:24 AM

Try this for something different

CHRISTMAS IN THE ALICE
By Greg Hastings key c

Christmas in the Alice is like no other place I know
Santa doesn't like it much 'cause there isn't any snow
His reindeer get all grumpy as the waterholes go dry
For when it's stinkin' hot down here its bloody hard to fly

Dressed up like a polar bear isn't very wise
His nose gets even redder and the sweat runs in his eyes
Once he nearly missed us and his nose began to freak
By the time he turned the whole thing 'round
He'd got to Tennant Creek

He always seems to make it & he's full of Christmas cheer
For when he's finally landed he's guaranteed a beer
He leaves behind his presents with a cheery ho ho smile
Then they pour him back upon his sled
And off he roars in style

Now someone once asked him if he'd ever lived in fear
Of ever being caught one day drunk in charge of deer
He gave a little chuckle with a twinkle in his eye
You may have cops with bags down here
But none of them can fly

And then there was this rumour, or so I've heard it said
He once used six white boomers to pull along his sled
He thought it was a good idea while travelling in the bush
But they hopped of in the scrub one day And left him there to push

So if you should spend Christmas out in Alice Springs
Be very well prepared mate for some bloody funny things
Big fat men in polar suits screaming across the sky
And sweaty grumpy reindeers complaining as they fly

Through all the dust the flies the heat and every thing it brings
Carrying all the pressies out back to Alice Springs
I told to you this story 'cause I thought you all should know
Santa doesn't like it much 'cause there isn't any snow

.(make up your own tune or if you're really keen I'll make up a short .wav audio file and email it to you)

Regards Ted ed42@4kz.com.au


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: GeorgeH
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 07:56 AM

If you're going to do the Cherry Tree Carol - and it's a song I love - PLEASE have the courage to include the verse which says "Let the father of your baby/gather cherries" (ok, misquoted from memory).

In sanitising our Christmas story we do remove the humanity of the main players; if you look at the Mystery Plays you might share my impression that this is a recent and unfortunate tendency.

G.


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 08:05 AM

Little Drummer Boy, Simeone
Christmas Time's a'Coming, Tex Logan
O Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, A.L. Phipps


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: sophocleese
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 05:27 PM

You could do the traditional 'My Dancing Day' ("Tomorrow shall be my dancing day...") and segue into the Hokey Pokey. The Oxford Book of Carols says that "the interweaving of the two love motives is as ancient and widespread as the association of religion with the dance." Even without the Hokey Pokey 'My Dancing Day' is a lovely tune.


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Susan A-R
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 09:30 PM

John Roberts and Tony Barrand's Noel Sing We Clear recordings are pretty wonderful. Is it Golden Bough??I believe they have a web site. Anyone up for a little blue clickey action?? One of my favorites is Green Grow's the Holly

Green grows the holly So doth the ivy The wintry blasts blow ne'er so hard Green grows the holly

It goes through the seasons and is a lovely progression and unusual melody. They also do several wassails which tie blessings at Christmas to productivity for the rest of the year in an interesting way. We have also paired I Saw Three Ships with Bring a Torch. They actually overlay pretty well.

Have fun.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: DougR
Date: 21 Sep 99 - 10:46 PM

George H: You are right! The "Cherry Tree Carol" is a lovely song and should be done as you suggest.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Magpie
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 02:53 AM

Defititely not English, but nice all the same is Nanci Griffith's On Grafton Street, from the album The Flyer.

Magpie


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 03:46 AM

All of the "Nowell Sing We Clear" CDs are available from Folk-Legacy CLICK HERE. These can be ordered through the Mudcat Shop, remember, and a percentage goes to help support this amazing endeavor.

Ruth Crawford Seeger did a book titled (I think) Christmas Folk Songs for Children and Peggy and Mike Seeger made a couple of recordings of material from the book. You might also find these listed in the Mudcat Shop, since it's likely that Wally has them on Camsco.

I also love the "Cherry Tree Carol," but the folks in our local Protestant churches would surely be disturbed by what I consider to be the wonderful humanizing of Joseph. The simple "The Holly Bears a Berry" or the lovely "Babe of Bethlehem," both of which are on Folk-Legacy's Golden Ring (CD-16), might go down a bit more gently in a somewhat conservative setting. And, yes, as Arkie pointed out, "The Holly Bears a Berry" is also on our 'Twas On a Night Like This, a Christmas Legacy (CD-114).

As noted above, the Watersons do a more vigorous version of "The Holly Bears a Berry" on Frost and Fire, which is one of my favorite recordings of all time. Check it out!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Stolzi@aol.com
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 01:24 PM

"I Wonder As I Wander" is very beautiful, from the American mountain tradition which derives in the long run from England.

And what is the counting song which ends with "One for the little bitty baby who was born, born, born in Bethlehem?" Oh yes: "Children, go where I send thee/How shall I send thee? I'm-a gonna send you one by one..." Seems to me Harry Belafonte recorded that one.


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: DougR
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 05:07 PM

Yes, Stolzi, I agree that "I wonder as I wander" is a beautiful old song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BURGUNDIAN CAROL^^^
From: KathWestra
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 05:49 PM

Just for the record, though, I Wonder As I Wander is not traditional, from here or England. It was written by John Jacob Niles.

Another couple of lovely ones, though not English, are the Burgundian Carol and the Star Carol. Pete Seeger recorded the Burgundian Carol, which has a gorgeous modal melody. The words:

The Winter Season of the year
When to this earth our Lord was born
The ox and donkey, so they say
Did keep his holy presence warm.

1st Chorus:
How many oxen and donkeys now
If they were there when first he came
How many oxen and donkeys you know
At such a time would do the same?

And when unto these humble beasts
Our Lord appeared so mild and sweet,
With joy they knelt before his grace,
And gently kissed his tiny feet.

2nd chorus:
How many oxen and donkeys now
Dressed in ermine, silks, and such
How many oxen and donkeys you know
At such a time would do as much?

The Star Carol is the title song of Folk Legacy's 'Twas On A Night Like This," and has a lovely Italian melody perfect for harmonizing in thirds. See Sandy Paton's message earlier in this thread to get a copy. Being a Folk-Legacy recording, you'll also get a handy-dandy booklet with the words.


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Scott Cooper
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 07:50 PM

Another less trad carol is a recent setting by John Gorka to his original tune of Longfellow's "Christmas Bells." I got it from Windham Hill's "A Winter's Solstice III." A very pretty, 'folky' tune. One of my all time favourite traditional carols is the Wessex Carol, but the tune might be a little challenging. The last suggestion would be another more modern but folk-styled song: Jake Thackery's "Bethlehem." That one might be tough to find. Slainte


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 08:46 PM

The "Star Carol" is actually a wonderful Sydney Carter song on the 'Twas On a Night Like This CD, but the title song is a very nice one, too. (Thanks, Kathy. Your kind suggestions make me all the more glad that I rescued you from Grand Rapids.)

To correct my earlier misinformation: the Ruth Crawford Seeger book I referred to above is properly titled American Folk Songs for Christmas. Sorry for the memory lapse. Hope you didn't spend the afternoon at the Library looking for it under the wrong title!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Susan A-R
Date: 22 Sep 99 - 10:34 PM

Sandy, Thanks for the spelling on Nowell, and the source. Of course, I should have thought of that.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: David Coffin dcoffin@cove.com
Date: 23 Sep 99 - 09:55 PM

I would encourage to look at some of the Christmas Revels recordings. They have several song books available as well. You can call them at 617 972-8300. I have performed with them for twenty years and they are a great resource. So is this amazing website which I am learning ti use as we "speak".


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 07:57 AM

Another song from a Waterson's recording:

"Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy"

Linn


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Wotcha
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 09:02 AM

I'd also commend Roberts and Barrand's "To Welcome in the Spring," which has a nice "Candlemass Eve" [on the database]. You get some good liner notes (at least in the old vinyl edition) discussing the origin of Carols as an end of winter celebration of renewal -- originally not much to do with December.

As one might say on the Kuwait Hash ... "Check it out." Allahamdalla, cheers, Brian


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: MMario
Date: 24 Sep 99 - 10:04 AM

How about the Huron Carol, possibly done with Away in a manger as a contrast....


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: GUEST,Sweetpea Musical Promotions
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 05:09 AM

Greg Hastings' humorous Christmas Song CHRISTMAS IN THE ALICE is on his Walkabout CD and available via his website.

www.greghastings.com


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Subject: RE: Help: Folk Songs with Christmas connections
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 07:44 AM

Interesting that given how important Christmas is in the great scale of English things that some few actual folk songs about Christmas were actually collected?

L in C#


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