Saturday 19 November 2016

The best of Christmas Carols? Steeleye Span again

Not found on any of their albums, but from the B-side of their famous hit single Gaudete 

And for even more fun:

I didn't hear this version as a youth - but it was released as a single in 1971. Martin Carthy takes the lead vocal.

Now, why is this so very good? 1. Carthy is a genius. 2. The arrangement and backing singers are superb. 3. Although in a sense it is a parody, being an unaccompanied folk version of a 50s single with exceptionally banal lyrics - it is done with absolute seriousness and performed at the highest standard of polish.

(It is a common but fatal error to imagine that parodies can, or should, be done badly; when in fact the better they are performed, the better they work. I once saw (in a Newcastle Dental Students Revue, 1977) a really amusing take-off of Glenn Miller's In The Mood done with kazoos to replace the brass and saxaphone sections - with the kazoo players thoroughly rehearsed; standing and sitting in groups, and to take improvised solos, just like 'the real thing'.)

1 comment:

Albrecht said...

Your enthusiasm for Steeleye Span takes me back to the 70s when a friend of my brother's was into them. He was English, of course. Few Americans would have listened to such stuff. The song Hard Times of Old England always stuck with me. Magnificent English harmonies.