Artist-Booker T & The MG’s
For today’s Christmas blog, I was thinking of a song that had a real “city” feel to it. Having just come back from vacation and being thrust full on into the Christmas season rather than gradually easing into it, I had to think for a few moments for the song that was going around in my head. Perusing through the Christmas music on my Ipod I quickly realized that what I wanted was Silver Bells. It has always been a favorite of mine, probably because it is a city song, and really reminds me of my home town in many ways. Setting aside the sounds of silver bells and the bustle of city life, I think the finest thing about it for me may actually be the melody. It made its recorded appearance in 1950 by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards. Since then it has become a staple of Christmas albums by a variety of artists ever since. Looking at my own Ipod I realized I had several versions of the song myself. Interestingly though, I noted three distinctly different instrumental versions. The one thing they all have in common though is that stately melody. If the lyrics may seem a little outdated now in 2014, that melody is in no danger of going away.
The decision which to feature here was easy. I went with the first instrumental version I came across years ago by the great soul music pioneers, Booker T & The MG’s. I briefly touched on the great Stax Records sound in Part 5 of this blog, but of course you cannot say the word Stax without saying Booker T & The MG’s, since they played on just about everything that came out of that studio as well as making music under their own name. The way the band stretches out the chorus first before Booker T Jones on the organ hits the verses with that funky organ makes it truly memorable. Have a listen yourself right now-
The photo I am using here is of the great Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens. I went a few years ago and was held spellbound because of the intricate reproductions of landmarks throughout New York City. I chose it because even as a beautifully constructed model, it is stately and elegant. Much like the melody to Silver Bells, even when played a little funky by Booker T & The MG’s!
Silver Bells-Written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
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