Week 17 - Fri 25 Dec

It's Christmas !....as someone once....er, shouted, and welcome to the last RPM Seven Day Soundtrack of 2020, one of, if not THE, strangest of years we've ever lived through in our lifetime.....so far. Thank goodness for my record player and a bunch of favourite LPs! A Christmas theme prevails throughout this week's 7DS, exhibiting various degrees of seasonal jollity, with a few sidetracks thrown in for variety. So, let's get on with it. Over to..............

Alan -

"Christmas may have been (belatedly) cancelled by this pathetic excuse for a Government but, by leaving it several weeks too late, they have allowed this sickening virus the opportunity to spread within the hallowed area inside of the M25 where the general public seem to have shown scant regard to any regulations imposed ever since its arrival. As if to prove the point, witness last Saturday's obscene rush at the capitols rail stations where thousands headed out God knows where 'escaping' the virus but, probably, only serving the interests of that very virus's needs. Deaths are still averaging around one every three minutes and infections seem to be around 30,000 per day (that's one every three seconds!!)......

Rant over!!!

By the time this is posted it'll be "Not bluddy turkey again!!" time so I've selected three 'Christmas' songs which don't really abound with the usual bonhomie of, say, Mariah Carey, Slade or Wizzard!!

Hope everyone had the best Christmas possible under the circumstances............... stay safe."

Snowflakes and Teardrops by The Angels (US issue single. Smash label beeside to 'Wow, Wow, Wee', released November 1964) - "The Angels were best known for their 1963 US hit 'My Boyfriends Back' but had several other minor hits with 'Til' and 'Cry, Baby, Cry' before a dispute over the rights to 'The Angels' nomenclature forced a name change to The Halos', which intentionally utilised the title from their most recent album, 'A Halo To You'. However, the change of name did not bring any further success and by 1968, and following a return to 'The Angels' identity, the group broke up."


Christmas In My Soul by Laura Nyro (from 'Christmas and the beads of sweat' album released 25th November 1970. Columbia label.) - "The final part of Laura's 'trilogy', 'New York Tendaberry' and 'Eli and the Thirteenth Confession' being the predecessors, this album see's Laura hand over production duties to Felix Cavaliere and Arif Mardin whilst she retained responsibilities for the arrangements.The famed Muscles Shoals Rhythm Section, complete with Duane Allman, were drafted in for the albums first side whilst Alice Coltrane pops up playing harp on the reverse. The presence of the Rhythm Section adds a fresh dimension to Laura's output and allowed her to indulge in her first love, r&b and soul, by including a cover of the Drifters 'Up on the roof' which became her highest charting single (a glorious No 92 for one week on the Billboard Hot 100!!). In that respect, it was a pointer towards the following years homage to soul music, the excellent 'Gonna take a miracle' featuring Labelle as featured 'back up' singers.

'Christmas in my soul', however, is a dark reflection on the state of the US at the time of its recording (mid 1970) which, following a bright opening appeal to "children" to "respect your Brothers and your Sisters", sees a verse presciently reflecting the US's now current psyche, with Laura declaring:

"I walk the streets where disrespect has been

The sins of politics, the politics of sin

The heartlessness that darkens my soul

On Christmas."

Laura's recording career was sporadic after 'Gonna take a miracle' and her marriage to Davis Bianchini that same year. Ever the reclusive, Nyro baulked at Columbia's attempts to turn her into a 'celebrity' artist and retired until her divorce in 1976 which coincided with her first new material in six years (Smile). There followed a brief return to live performances and another album before she returned to comparative obscurity until there were further releases and tours in 1984 and 1988. The late eighties and early nineties saw Laura appearing at many women's rights benefit concerts as well as the Newport Festival and, importantly, as opener for Bob Dylan at a Tanglewood concert in 1991. One of her final appearances was at London's Union Chapel in 1994 but, in 1996 Laura was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (a disease which had taken her mother) and died in April 1997. Her ashes were scattered under a maple tree at her family home in Danbury Connecticut."


The River by Joni Mitchell (from 'Blue', released June 1971. Reprise label) - "Written mostly in Crete and Formentera whilst Joni was deciding whether to accept Graham Nash's marriage proposal or continue her relationships with Carey Raditz (short lived) and James Taylor, the songs on 'Blue' in some ways followed her usual 'confessional' style with 'Carey' and California' relating to their namesake and 'Blue and All I want' relating to Taylor. It's Nash, however, who is the centre-piece of 'The River' with

" I wish I had a river

I could skate away on

But it don't snow here

It stays pretty green"

illustrating her desire to escape the environs of Laurel Canyon and her comfortable but stifling relationship with Nash.

All I have to say about 'The River' is that this is one of those songs which really strikes an emotional response in me..... and I hope it does the same for you too!!

One of my wishes for Christmas would be for Joni to make a full recovery.... "


Morra -

It May Be Winter Outside by Love Unlimited -


Throat of Winter by Tyrannosaurus Rex -


Butterfly by Lenny Kravitz -


Tony -

"Here are my 3 for this week sans comments. Hope that you have a great Christmas."

Something's Got A Hold On Me by Etta James -


I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday by Fats Domino -


Jayne -

"Season’s Greetings from me to you wonderful RPM collaborators. As it is really the only time of the year to play this stuff, here are three from the 2012 compilation ‘All Ready For The 25th’ from Sartorial Records."

All I Want Is You For Christmas by Kimberley Rew -


Don’t You Want Me Baby (Jesus)? by Serious Drinking -


There Ain’t No Santa Claus On The Evenin’ Stage by Robyn Hitchcock -


Nina -

"Hope everyone's well & enjoying the festive season. I really enjoyed the Radcliffe & Maconie radio 6 Solstice programme last Sunday. Here's 1 from it & 2 more. Take care."

Drive the Cold Winter Away by Stick in the Wheel -


Govinda by Kula Shaker -


Donna & Blitzen by Badly Drawn Boy - "My sister's called Donna, she's a dear not a deer."


Dave -

"Happy Xmas RPMers, hope you got what you wanted from Santa . Here’s my tunes."

Drivin' 0n 9 by The Breeders -


New Year’s Eve by Sinn Sisamouth -


"A cheeky Xmas bonus......."

House of the Rising Sung performed by Sinn Sisamouth -


Jackie -

"Here's a couple of tracks from one of our traditional Christmas CDs, Mojo Magazines Blue Christmas........"

Spotlight On Christmas by Rufus Wainwright -


So Much Wine by The Handsome Family -


Jean -

"This week I thought it must be music to make you want to dance and forget everything but Christmas Joy. Hope you all have a pleasant Christmas and keep safe."

Dancing On The Ceiling by Lionel Ritchie -


Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen -


John -

"Happy Christmas to you all. Here's to another year of amazing selections from all you dedicated RPMers!"

Jesus Christ by Big Star - "As our local Rector said in his Parish Notes: Jesus is not part of the story of Christmas. Christmas is part of the story of Jesus!"


7 O'clock News/Silent Night by Simon & Garfunkel - "The words of the prophets may be written on the subway walls but is anybody reading them...?"


A Christmas Song by Jethro Tull - "Fades in slowly (as Peely would say)..... B-Side of the single 'Love Story'. The Seagull Cafe in Caister-On-Sea had a great juke-box and both sides of this single were given regular spins in December 1968. It was the only cafe open in the village in the winter and me and my mates would meet there on a Sunday and make a single cup of tea (or 'frothy coffee') last the whole morning....all our spare change went in the juke-box!"


Philip -

"Season's greetings to one and all. Thought I'd select three all-time favourite singles this week, counting down from number three in the traditional pop-pickers' manner. I reserve the right of course to change my mind as soon as I've sent this email (but I suspect number one will remain the same)."

At number 3, it's Mr. Marvin Gaye with I Heard It Through The Grapevine - "A hit for Gladys Knight and The Pips before Marvin, and I've also heard a version by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles. Covered by Creedence in a version loathed by some and loved by others (including me)."


At number 2, here's the aforementioned Creedence Clearwater Revival with a live version of Proud Mary - "Convincing swamp rock from California."


And at number 1, possibly my favourite song of all time, it's Ben E. King singing Stand By Me - "(Also the title of a very fine movie starring the late River Phoenix). Many cover versions including one by John Lennon from his "Rock'n'Roll" album, but none of them beat the original."



"Season’s Greetings Folks…..."

"Since the whole Brexit thing started, I have been revisiting my Scottish roots. Perhaps that way I will get my European nationality back. To that end, I have been dropping my Scottish grandparents into conversation, I have found my Grandpa’s Sgian Dubh, (though, although I have tucked it in my sock from time to time, I have never been brave enough to wear it in public!). I have adopted dressing in a smattering of tweed and a Wallace Tartan scarf. Over breakfast porridge, stirred with a spurtle I have been serenading Jayne with reels, jigs, marches, strathspeys and schottisches played on my mandolin. This track fits in with my scheming…."

Till An Crodh Dhòmhnaill by Julie Fowlis -


"When I was younger I was a fan of both Tom Paley and Mike Seeger, individually, (especially the latter), but I found their work with The New Lost City Ramblers just too hokey. In my search for authenticity, I preferred to seek out recordings by original artists from the 1920s and 30s, I wrote off all sorts of ‘quite good’ reinterpreters, such as Burl Ives, Pete Seeger and Odetta, and considered only Rambling Jack Elliot and, of course, Woody Guthrie as worth listening to. Yup! I admit it, I am a snob. But despite that, in the last few years I have developed a new appreciation of the importance of The New Lost City Ramblers. I now think that they were outstanding amongst the late 50s folk revivalists."

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live performed by New Lost City Ramblers -


"I also received the new Steve Tilston Album ‘Such Times’ in the post this morning. There is a promo on YouTube if you are interested, but no whole tracks yet. Not surprising as the album isn’t officially released until the new year.… Almost the last of his generation of folk aristocracy, as well as being a fabulous song writer, singer and musician, Steve is an astoundingly nice guy, and great raconteur….

Merry Christmas All! "

Weeping Willow Replanted by Steve Tilston -


Tim -

"Well, this is not the selection I thought I'd end up choosing for this week; it's gone all seasonal and I'd thought it would be 3 faves from new 2020 albums........."

Apples In Winter performed by Dervish - "Set of tunes from my favourite Irish trad band, this is originally found on their 1993 official debut album, Harmony Hill and still excites as much as when I first heard it all those years ago. Yes, it's fast but they get away with it by playing with a precision and clarity which means the tunes are not lost in the speed. Exemplary."


Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow by Jethro Tull - "Tull have written a fair few Christmas songs, it seems! A Christmas Song (I didn't know John would have them this week as well with their first (?) effort), last weeks Solstice Bells, Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow and Another Christmas Song........I don't mean an additional song, that's the title of a song found on the 1989 Rock Island opus. My choice here, I've liked since it turned up as a B side to the Coronach 7" single (theme music to TV series Blood of the British) in 1986. It had been recorded during sessions for Tull's 1982 LP, Broadsword and the Beast......and I just don't get how it got left off that album, as it's a great song, especially the mandolin part, supplied (I think) by Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention, who also played with Tull during the 80s for a while. The song was reinstated as a bonus track on the 2005 digital remaster of Broadsword.....at last. A fair few fans of the band at the time disliked the dalliances with synths, sequencers and drum machines that keyboard wizz Peter-John Vettese brought to the Tull party, especillay on Under Wraps, the follow up to Broadsword, but I loved the mix of high tech and acoustic."


Sloe Gin Set by Spiers and Boden - "Jackie makes sloe gin each year, or variations of....this year, as it was such a good year for damsons, it's damson gin maturing in the big old fashioned sweetie jar. Can't wait 'til next Christmas to try it!. And, as Norfolk enters Tier 4, or Lockdown by any other name, even though the government won't admit it, these tunes also remind me of where we would usually go on Boxing Day; namely, the Crown at Banningham, to watch some enthusiastic post Christmas Morris dancing provided by Kemps Men and Fiddlesticks Clogg. Get out ya hankies!"


"See you next year, folks, on the new 2021 Seven Day Soundtrack page................."