Soundtracks Of Christmas

As we are now in the holiday season I thought I would try something a little different. Having written this blog for just over a year now I learned a great deal about the blogging world. I learned about themes, and templates, and widgets, and working those social networks as a way of getting your blog out to the greatest number of people. I also found out that in general, the more often you blog, the more connected people feel with your own perspective. So instead of my monthly or so posts which tend to be long and have several photos built around a particular theme, this is going to be a series of short blogs gathered around Christmas music. Little snippets about some of my favorite Christmas songs centered around one single photograph that represent that song to me in some way. I am purposely keeping these brief. I had thought about one singular Christmas blog, but I realized the time constraints, both for me the writer, and you the reader at this time of year make it difficult to find time for creative pursuits. I am going to try to do one per day from now until Christmas Eve.  Inspiration for this idea came from two friends, both of whom have their own excellent (but vastly different content blogs). My friend Tony http://sunflowerchalice.com/ posted a Christmas song a day on Facebook last Christmas, which I thoroughly enjoyed. He came up with some good ones, and my own list might match some of his selections. My other friend Scott https://thewhinelistdotcom.wordpress.com/ posts an oldie of the day every day on Facebook, always with a brief explanation of why the song was chosen and personal reflections on it. So I have decided to combine these two ideas together with one Christmas song, and one photo to act as the Soundtrack. The music I have chosen comes from several different genres, just like my regular blogs. A few of the artists have been written about in previous blogs, though not in terms of Christmas music.  Whether you are familiar or not with the artist or song I hope you join me on this little sleigh ride. Scroll down below for today’s song and photo.

 

 

Soundtrack Of A Photograph, The Christmas Editions, Part 1

 

Song-The Holly & The Ivy

Artist-The Albion Christmas Band

 

 

Much has been written about this song over the years. The contrast between pagan and Christian themes, the somewhat baffling chorus with its juxtaposition between the running of the deer and a church organ all make it a bit of a puzzler. Rather than delve into all of that, here are some links I found that discuss those mysteries in detail-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/3674119/The-story-behind-the-carol-The-holly-and-the-ivy.html

https://sylvaansuz.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/the-holly-and-the-ivy-battle-of-the-sexes-preserved-in-song/

The reason I wanted to include this song here is to show how songs most people know to be sung in one way, actually have their origins in a more humble way quite often.  So it is with The Holly & The Ivy. Most of us probably know it as being sung by choirs this time of year, with its beautiful and complex arrangement. Because of that arrangement, people might assume it to be from more of a classical music origin. However, the origins are in fact traditional, and probably  were closer sounding to this jaunty and robust version as performed by The Albion Christmas Band.  

 In their hands it is more of a sing-song in a tavern type of song than the choral version. Regardless of the origins, The Albion Christmas Band have been delighting fans in England for years now. An offshoot of The Albion Band, led by ex-Fairport Convention member Ashley Hutchings (whose career could encompass a blog devoted to his music alone, so prolific has been his work) they perform both the well-known Christmas songs like The Holly & The Ivy together with songs from the deep well of ballads from the English folk tradition interspersed with contemporary songs and spoken word passages. The version sung here with the deep resonating vocals of Simon Nicol (see part 10) and the jaunty melodeon playing of Simon Care have made this my own favorite version of this carol.  For the photo, I chose one half of the two elements of this song, the holly. Forgetting the symbolism of the song, the holly has long been one of my favorite plants.  Deep green waxed leaves along with the vibrancy of the red berries make it a strong symbol of Christmas time. When I see a holly in the fall with the clusters of berries I know Christmas is not far away. So a good choice to start off this special edition with.

 

The Holly & The Ivy-Traditional, arranged by The Albion Christmas Band

 

All photographs by Robert P Doyle All images in this blog are available in limited supply for purchase as unframed prints. Sizes may vary. Contact via robpatdoy@hotmail.com for details.

Like this blog on Facebook and Twitter (Links above on the right). Also, check out my Soundtrack Of A Photograph YouTube page for links to all the songs mentioned in the blogs as well as extra content.

Also look for Soundtrack Photo on Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest.

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2 thoughts on “Soundtracks Of Christmas

  1. Keith

    “Holly & Ivy” most likely a tavern tune. A bit off-topic (for Christmas) but Elvis’ hit “Love Me Tender” is an old rowdy tavern song from the 19th century, perhaps earlier. There is a performance in the film “Come And Get It” sung by Francis Farmer.

    Our national anthem is a drink song with less colorful lyrics. Good post. Thanks a bunch, Keith.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always find “origin” stories behind art (or any idea actually) fascinating and I especially love humble origin stories. Humble is good. Feels so counter to so much of the big hype in our wold today in general and at the holidays in particular. Three cheers for humble–in sight, sound and action.

    Liked by 1 person

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