This year, I wanted to experience the Christmas season on the fly, seeing what I could see and hearing what I could hear at random.
So, when I was out and about, or in the car, or at home, it was fun catching the snippets of Christmas music that came along at random in the stores and on the radio and online. That includes the WFMU “Testify!” and Funky 16 Corners Christmas shows from my friend, the mighty Larry Grogan. (Who, by the way, should unwrap a MacArthur genius grant one of these years.)
Some were new to me, some not. It was good to appreciate again the great horn charts on the Carpenters’ version of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”
I wanted to try something different, to get away from the same old, same old Christmas experience from time to time. To that end, I have a lot of Christmas music in my collection, and I listened to almost none of it.
There are a few exceptions, of course. On Christmas Eve, this is one.
Reverent yet thrilling, Irma Thomas’ rendition of “O Holy Night” is done as a New Orleans-style dirge with some moody Hammond organ and some terrific gospel voices singing backup.
Ten years ago, my friend Rob in Pennsylvania declared this to be “goosebump-inducing stuff.”
It still is.
“O Holy Night,” Irma Thomas, from “A Creole Christmas,” 1990. It’s out of print and not available digitally, but Amazon will rip you a copy. It’s also on “MOJO’s Festive Fifteen,” the fine Christmas compilation CD that came with the January 2011 issue of MOJO magazine, if you can find it.
Embrace the moment, especially at Christmas.
Enjoy your holidays, everyone.