Thursday, 13 December 2018

Burl Ives - Master Christmas


As with my preceding post, I freely admit to being a sucker for Christmas music/albums/interpretations. This stretches from pop hits to Country to soulful [as with the Michael McDonald reviewed] to choral and other traditional variations.

I think this Burl Ives collection hits the spot for two main reasons, and we'll start with the musical: Ives was as well as a popular actor in the 50s and 60s, a folk singer, and it is this folk-vocal that informs these generally 'classic' Christmas songs, and by that I mean your Silent Night and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and perhaps lesser known but still 'Christian' song-melody The Seven Joys of Mary [parts 1 and 2] - it is a beautiful voice, a sweet crystal-clear tenor, and I love it.

The second reason is entirely nostalgic. Listening to Ives I am reminded, largely subconsciously, of my American childhood, of his appearance in films I cannot recall at all but visualise him in so clearly, and the voice which is so distinctive, both in terms of the quality I have described, but also my having heard it so often on the radio and TV of my midwestern upbringing.

Ives' folk roots are so clearly evidenced in the two songs I have just listened to, King Herod and the Cock and The Friendly Beasts.


  1. Replies
    1. To Bah Humbug [!]

      Pete Seeger forgave him, and that's good enough for me...