And now for something a little different.
Last week, my friend Jer posted this to his Facebook timeline:
Sharing music is fun. If you “like” this post, I’ll assign you a letter of the alphabet which you will use to pick an artist to post on your timeline along with this text.
Because [one of Jer’s friends who I don’t know and I’ve elected to keep anonymous] gave me the letter ‘E’ enjoy some classic Eric Johnson.
And then he posted a YouTube video of Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover. I’d offer up a review of that song, but I already did that whole album not that long ago.
I’m always on the hunt for music to listen to, so of course I liked his post. He gave me the letter “L” and I posted a live medley from Leo Kottke:
But only because I couldn’t decide which Lynyrd Skynyrd song to share. In turn, two people liked my post. To one of the best drummers (especially jazz) I’ve ever played with I gave the letter “O.” As of this publishing he has yet to post an artist. And to my wife I gave the letter “A.” And she shared David Archuleta.
Which I would have filed under “D,” although I understand where she’s coming from. Whatever, not a big deal.
Even though there are five other people playing this weekly round robin music sharing game I usually post, I still find myself with a dearth of more or less new music to listen to throughout my days at work. So even though I’m starting to get a little sick of Christmas music (I prefer to spread mine out throughout the year), I decided to listen to (and review) the whole performance.
Except I can’t find the album of that concert anywhere. To listen to for free, that is. I’m sure my wife wouldn’t mind if I bought it.
The individual songs are on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s YouTube channel. They’re only missing one of the David Archuleta tunes from the Glad Christmas Tidings album, Los Pastores a Belen.
Joy to the World was good. It’s a classic Christmas carol done in a pretty straightforward arrangement. Let’s be serious, the MoTab isn’t really going to do anything too wild. The Cat and the Mouse Carol was fine. I had never heard it before, and I don’t know that I loved it enough to go looking for another version. Gesù Bambino was okay. This version isn’t bad or anything, I’m just not a fan of really any version of that song. There’s two lines that have an interesting variation on the melody, but other than that, I don’t really care for it.
You can never go really wrong with Silent Night. Well, I’m sure someone has, but as long as you remember that it’s a spiritual lullaby, you should do alright. All this music is very well performed, but I feel like this showed Archuleta as a pop singer, which isn’t exactly what this song needed. I think it was in the third verse. I think he should have kept his voice more simple and not been so ornamental with it. But that’s just me.
For me, the highlight of the songs featuring Archuleta was Angels from the Realms of Glory, partly because it hits the other end of the spectrum. It’s pretty much just a rearrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High, which I think is one of the better carols anyway. It’s jubilant instead of meek, but still reverent. This arrangement made it a little more interesting, and it really stood out to me.
There’s also an abbreviated, Sunday morning version of the concert that is missing Los Pastores and Silent Night, but also has some tunes performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra on Temple Square without Archuleta.
As a point of interest, I couldn’t find the post Jer liked. Although I’m not friends with all of his friends, so there is a chance I just can’t see everything that was posted. And that also means that while quite a few people liked his post, I could only see two others share any music – and neither in such a way as to prompt additional sharing. One played trumpet and sang in a band with Jer and I. He shared Howard Shore’s soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
Despite what other issues I might have with Peter Jackon’s pretty alright, but only mostly faithful adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, the music is really good. The leitmotifs really help set the mood and really do so much to help tell the story, even if there weren’t dialogue. This track is particularly great. Partly because it’s so different from the darker feel of most of the rest of the score. I can find no fault with it.
I feel like I should say that I’ve only heard the standard CD release of the score. I know they released a 10 disc complete version of the score a few years ago, but I haven’t heard it. It’s three hours and unless I mix it in with other stuff, I think I’d get a little bored.
And the other, Jer’s twin sister, shared Santigold:
Now, I’ve heard of her before, but I didn’t realize it was a person’s stage name. I thought it was a band name. Which I guess might be a fine line as, except in the case of Jeff Lynne’s ELO or Owl City, music is almost never done by one person working more or less alone. It was much more ’00s-remix-of-’80s-pop than I was expecting. But as little as I might have been expected to be drawn in by that kind of music, I found it kind of catchy and rather enjoyable.
Of the four people who liked my wife’s post, I could only see two. One just shared a link in the conversation to a Tom Jones cover of Good King Wenceslas:
It’s pretty terrible sound quality, like someone was using a camcorder to film live TV. And I can’t say the performance would be much improved with a cleaner video. It feels pretty robotic. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why he was a sex symbol of the ’60s and ’70s.
And only my wife’s little sister continued the chain. She shared some Stevie Wonder:
I have heard this before, but I’m not sure I ever realized it was Stevie Wonder. It seemed a little rough, but I think it’s because it’s a YouTube video of a song from the ’60s. It had a good little groove, but it was just alright to me.
And that’s as far as the chain has gotten so far. Neither of the people who liked my sister-in-law’s post have moved the chain along (as far as I’ve been able to see). If you’d like to play along, I now challenge you to share to your Facebook timeline some band/artist whose name begins with the letter H.