If your tastes run more to popular, folk, or jazz music, there are still plenty of beautiful, creative, and moving interpretations of classic Christmas songs in a Christian vein to listen to. Here are some favorites that can serve as an antidote for unsatisfying Christmas music concerts (as well as various other sad and troubling things in our world).
I call Sunday afternoon “Radio Sunday” as WPFW 89.3 PM has 6 hours of great programming, starting with Miyuki Williams’ Sunday Kind of Love from Noon to 2:00 PM, continuing with Donnie McKethan’s American Songbook from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, and winding up with Larry Applebaum’s The Sound of Surprise from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.
Donny McKethan often plays different renditions of the same song back to back. Today he had renditions of George & Ira Gershwin’s A Foggy Day (in London Town) by Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. The beauty of standards such as A Foggy Day is that different singers, with different styles, can perform them and be equally persuasive.
I had not heard A Foggy Day before, but I smiled when I heard the lyric:
A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
It reminded me of the weekend that I spent in London, in a hotel room no larger than a closet. Restaurants were so expensive, that I bought a grab’n’go sandwich at Boots to eat for dinner. The serendipitous discovery was that the British Museum was just around the corner from the hotel. I have more to say about the British Museum, but enough for now.
Here is another rendition of A Foggy Day, this time featuring Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald:
Speaking of AbFab, its theme song was “This Wheel’s on Fire” by Bob Dylan, as sung by Julie Driscoll. Here’s a version that Julie Driscoll did in 1968 with organist Brian Auger:
I’m going through a major Julie moment. She was a great singer and she’s amazing to look at. We last saw Julie wearing a dark wig on I Feel Alright, in which she held her own against Eric Burdon, Steve Winwood, Long John Baldry, and Rod Stewart.
In order of appearance: Eric Burdon, Steve Winwood, Long John Baldry (you’ll understand why he was called “Long John” when you watch the video), Julie Driscoll, and Rod Stewart, before a bird’s nest landed on his head. Check out Rod’s moves! Lots of great R&B shouting and energy all around.
One Reginald Dwight took half of his stage name after Long John Baldry; the other half he took from saxophonist Elton Dean. He, of course, became Elton John.
Julie Driscoll is probably best known for singing Ab Fab’s theme song This Wheel’s on Fire.