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Padre Steve’s Traditional Country Christmas

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I grew up in a house with a lot of music. My parents both liked Country Western music, though my dad was more of the fan of it, while mom had much more eclectic musical taste, from rock, to R & B and top 40 Pop music. As a result I was exposed to a lot of different musical genres and the Christmas music played around our house reflected that diversity. I have written a number of articles about Christmas music, the latest more focused on Rock and R & B.

Since I have done those I figured I would add to the mix with the Country and Western Christmas music that I grew up with, which I consider to be classic. What you won’t find in this particular list is anything new, and by that I mean anything done in the last 20 years. This is a conscious choice on my part and not because I dislike the new Country music sound or artists. I actually want to reintroduce people to some of the classics, the artists who made the overwhelming success of the modern artists possible.

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Like R & B Country and Western music comes out of the unique experiences of Americans. The unique styles of the the artists even when they perform traditional Christmas music comes through to make a distinctive sound. Like the R & B artists the Country and Western artists also wrote and performed Christmas music the spoke to both the joys and heartaches of life, especially of lost loves and loneliness.

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Lynn Anderson’s Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xwd0OvuxtV8 is a song that speaks of losing love and the pain of a broken relationship.

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Loretta Lynn’s To Heck with Old Santa Claus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEc65BgbK3c is a funny song about a person who didn’t get they wanted for Christmas. She also recorded A Good Old Country Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x5Ws_fiVVE and the sad Christmas Without Daddy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x5Ws_fiVVE

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George Jones released Lonely Christmas Call http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvHocPrFcTU another sad song of a broken family and kids missing their mother. Merle Haggard did Daddy Won’t Be Home Again for Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjZ1qCoJyck

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Buck Owens’ All I Want for Christmas Dear is You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_973SwUSvz8 is another song about missing a loved on at Christmas.

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Ernest Tubb was one of the first to perform Blue Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPz6fge6vBM later made famous by Elvis Presley.

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Tammy Wynette’s (Merry Christmas) We Must be Having One http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5SHleiV08A speaks of Christmas together while Barbara Mandrell’s It Must Have Been the Mistletoe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD7NmzQjKDg speaks of love discovered at Christmas. The Silver Fox Charlie Rich recorded the fun Santa Claus’ Daughter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmoA0Zt7xuU

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Kenny Rogers did Kentucky Homemade Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQHnFCMlTlg talks of Christmas in a poverty stricken home. Rogers also teamed up with Dolly Parton on The Greatest Gift of All http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eap7smYFalg a song about love at Christmas.

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Freddy Fender’s If Christmas Comes to Your House http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltluy_tUkak speaks of sharing Christmas with a child who is sad because of his parents divorce.

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Glen Campbell released the classic Christmas is for Children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ_RJjdMyCE in 1968.

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Willie Nelson along with a number of other artists did Pretty Paper http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqNFdFbo8cA and Porter Wagoner recorded a song about a young boy asking Santa for a Christmas tree and his dad feeling bad about being poor called Johnny’s Christmas Tree http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blIOyH2Q2Kw and how his prayer was answered.

Roy Clark

Going to more traditional songs, Roy Clark did a nice rendition of The Christmas Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSY9szl2bnQ and Johnny Cash did I’ll Be Home for Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3LZr6dSM8A

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Jim Reeves did Silver Bells http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYIv9IPkxJQ and Connie Smith recorded What Child is This? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVkW0MJkUjU .

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Anne Murray recorded Away in a Manger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOPkImLx8YA and teamed up with John Denver on The Christmas Song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqEBdqxQQeY . Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter did Silent Night http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZbLujMQJ40 while Jim Neighbors lent his amazing voice on O Come All Ye Faithful http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkxAaDfkxYg

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But perhaps my favorite Country Christmas Song is Dolly Parton’s Hard Candy Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pttkAyWvAhU was featured in the musical Best Little Whorehouse in Texas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A3amYOiZms

So wherever you are in whatever circumstance this Christmas season finds you I hope that you find hope and comfort in these songs.

Until tomorrow,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Give Love for Christmas: More of Padre Steve’s R & B Christmas Favorites

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Yesterday I reposted an article from last year about my R & B Christmas favorites. As I listened to each song again I decided to look at some other songs from this genre. It is really fascinating because I am familiar with a lot of them performed in a multitude of musical genres but also because of the diversity represented in this collection.

Some of the songs are traditional carols while others are more secular sung by artists across the style, racial and religious spectrum. In the United States one thing that it is not uncommon to see people who are not Christians singing or recording what are most usually categorized as Christian Christmas carols.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s article the Rhythm and Blues genre has its roots in the heritage of the African American experience and it includes some forms of Jazz.  These songs like yesterday’s span the spectrum of R & B. Some are songs that come directly from the experience of African Americans while others are traditional carols as well as secular Christmas and holiday songs.

So here we go into the second set of my R & B Christmas favorites from some of the greats.

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We’ll begin with guitarist John Lee Hooker and his classic Blues For Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuNf0kqf-HU

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The Godfather of Soul, James Brown has a good number of Christmas song out. Here are a Soulful Christmas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcQJj7d18eA and Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBW3fc15iVg

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The girl group the Emotions have a haunting song that rings true to a lot of people’s experience, What do the Lonely Do at Christmas?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OBKkmXgXJU

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The O’Jays “I can Hardly Wait for Christmas”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAYXXf-XyNc sums up much of how we anticipate Christmas throughout the year.

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The Temptations’ tremendous vocals on this very original interpretation of Silent Night  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfgNR_aiSTg are amazing.

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Now we go to two versions of Merry Christmas Baby by Otis Redding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEyV8gnC4aQ  and Ray Charles  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAPvi9Oe29A

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Ray Charles and Dione Warwick performed this duet of It’s Cold Outside http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmWvR-kdnCo at the Grammy Awards but a version I like better is Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton. The only problem with this one is that we don’t actually see the two performers playing off of each other because it had to be fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZBFk-Y-4Jo

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Lou Rawls rendition of Silver Bells http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll_VVOcjaFs is always a nice listen.  While Isaac Hayes wrote, produced and recorded Mistletoe and Me  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ_qbUwzyLo  in 1969.

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Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul is always amazing. Here are her versions of the classic Spiritual, Go Tell it On the Mountain from which she then segues into O Christmas Tree  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-HHh-pSkiA and her rendition of O Holy Night  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbzCqZRjugc

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R & B legend Patti LaBelle displays her vocals on this for the most part a cappella performance of O Holy Night   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6NeBp8YJY0

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Marvin Gaye’s “I Want to Come Home for Christmas”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6rpnKZR02o is a song that those who can’t be home for Christmas, in this case that of a Vietnam Prisoner of War set in 1972. It is a song that anyone who has served in a combat zone at Christmas can understand.

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No R & B Christmas would be complete without Stevie Wonder and That’s What Christmas Means to Me  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgigrz8nU7A 

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But for a song that I think speaks of the human meaning of the season; something that anyone, of any faith or simply anyone who just want’s to be a good human being can understand it is The Jackson 5’s Give Love on Christmas Day”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUc20MmFeAs. I like it because love is something that any of us can give to someone else if we want.

People making lists

Hiding special gifts

Taking time to be kind to one and all

It’s that time of year

When good friends are dear

And you wish you could give more

Than just presents from a store

Why don’t you give love on Christmas day

Oh, even the man who has everything

Would be so happy if you would bring

Him love on Christmas day

No greater gift is there than love

People you don’t know

Smile and nod hello

Everywhere there’s an air of Christmas joy

It’s that once a year

When the world’s sincere

And you’d like to find a way

To show the things that words can’t say.

Why don’t you give love on Christmas day

Oh, the man on the street and the couple upstairs

Who need to know there’s someone who cares

Give love on Christmas day.

No greater gift is there than love

What the world needs is love

Yes, the world needs your love.

Why don’t you give love on Christmas day

Every little child on Santa’s knee

Has room for your love underneath his tree

Give love on Christmas day

No greater gift is there than love

What the world needs is love

Yes, the world needs your love.

Give love, oh give love on Christmas day

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry, every Susie too

Needs love every bit as much as you

Give love on Christmas day

So with that message I wish you the best in these next few days leading up to Christmas. Until tomorrow my friends…

Peace

Padre Steve+

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