Christmas Posts 2019 part 1

This is a repeat of a post I did last year. Having picked up a copy of his fabulous 1978 Avocet album (on vinyl, obvs) this afternoon, it seemed only fitting to repost this. In the coming weeks I will post albums and tracks of the year. I know some people are posting albums and tracks of the decade, I’m still trying to puzzle those out. Not because I haven’t heard lots of amazing stuff over the past decade, but because I’m overwhelmed by it all…

Bert Jansch is one of many folk artists that I’ve discovered over the past decade or so, along with Fairport Convention, John Martyn, Sandy Denny – and of course, Richard Thompson. His version of Christina Rosetti’s poem ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’ is gorgeous. It can be found on his 1974 album LA Turnaround.

It was originally set to music written by Gustav Holst; and the setting by Harold Darke a few years later in 1911 was judged the best carol in 2008. The Darke setting below is performed by King’s College, Cambridge. Funnily enough, while I’m not religious, there is still something incredibly Christmassy to these ears about hearing the Christmas Eve services – and as much a part of Christmas to me as offerings from the Pogues, Slade and Frightened Rabbit. Similarly, I do like the sound of a Salvation Army band playing carols, it’s part of the ambience I associate with Christmas.

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