Song- Last Month Of The Year
Artist- The Blind Boys Of Alabama
By now those of you who have been following the previous 18 Christmas Soundtrack Of A Photograph blogs will have noticed that the photos have been a mix of ones from around the city and also…quite a few from inside our own apartment. I hope no one will accuse me of being uninspired in choosing photographic subjects from my own home. Though part of the reason for this has been lack of time during this busy time of year to get some new Christmas themed photos, it is also because the simple and personal things we adorn our homes with at this time of year can be just as meaningful. So it is with the nativity scene or creche most people put up at this time of year. For some reason growing up, I was charged with setting up the one in our home every year. My parents still have the same one, and occasionally to this day, I still find myself setting it up. It is not a particularly fancy set, but rather the usual type of thing with a wood base and fencing, with a mural as a backdrop and a roof that is slightly difficult to set in place correctly and be balanced to prevent it from toppling over. I don’t know when my parents actually bought it, but it is quite old at this point. Before the original box disintegrated, I remember faithfully recreating the image on the box. Everything had to be exactly as it was on that photo, right down to the number of sheep (attempts to merge the animals from another nativity set that were the wrong scale and made from a different material met with my stern disapproval) and the figures had to be in the correct positions as well. Fragments of straw that came with the set to be scattered over the wood base were placed year after year before it too eventually vanished. If any of the figures had been jostled and hastily put back in place incorrectly by someone in the family, I hastily corrected their error. The photo above comes not from that nativity, but a small one my wife bought a few years ago, and the reason I used this photo (other than not having one of my parents set) is simply because I enjoy seeing a nativity in the home at this time of year. Without delving into the spiritual too much here, it really is the truest Christmas decoration quite simply.
All of which has very little to do with today’s song. But it is Friday, and I thought a fun, rollicking, boisterous, exuberant, toe-tapping song would be a good choice for today. It was not hard therefore to select the opening song from The Blind Boys Of Alabama’s 2004 Christmas album, the sublime Last Month Of The Year. I defy anyone to sit still during this song. I love the way the song stretches out the month of November and 25th day of DE-CEM-BER before the band and that groovy organ kicks in . I have heard a few pedantic people nitpicking this song over the years, saying how historically inaccurate the song actually is. To them I say, you may very well be correct, but for goodness sake, just listen and move your feet to this song. I also really recommend this album, Go Tell It On The Mountain as a great Christmas album to add to your collection. Lots of guest artists, but at the heart is the trademark Blind Boys Of Alabama gospel sound. So for me, whenever I set up that nativity at my parents house, or catch a glimpse of that little one sitting on top of my CD collection along with the other Christmas paraphernalia if you see me tapping my toe and bopping along, THIS is the song in my head!
Last Month Of The Year-Traditional, Arranged by The Blind Boys Of Alabama, John Chelew and Chris Goldsmith
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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