Everybody’s favorite secular Christmas song has to be The Christmas Song . Written by Bob Wells and Mel Torme in 1945. Mel Torme was one of my favorite song writers and ballad singers. The recording of The Christmas Song that seems to be everyone’s favorite is by Nat King Cole.
It’s always been my favorite. Mr. Cole’s voice is silky smooth, comforting. But this year I’ve gotten hooked on a James Taylor album, At Christmas. It’s a good mix of sacred and secular. James Taylor’s voice is every bit as smooth and calming as Nat King Cole’s. But this album has the added blessing of outstanding arrangements and orchestration including James Taylor on guitar and harmonica. I don’t know who’s backing but to me it’s vaguely reminiscent of Dave Brubeck. It might be Dave Grusin. Here’s James Taylor singing The Christmas Song.
He says ‘Some holly and some mistletoe’ instead of ‘Some turkey and some mistletoe’. I don’t know. Maybe he’s vegan. But I’m not eating holly. The berries can make you sick.
I love this album. It includes my favorite spiritual Christmas carol, Oh Holy Night Go Tell it on the Mountain is there too. I’ve always seen that one as the song they include on a Christmas album because they just have to put something religious in there but if you listen to the words you can see that it has a powerful Christian message. James Taylor does it justice.
There are two on the album I haven’t heard before, Who Comes This Night (written by Dave Grusin by the way) and In The Bleak Midwinter. Both touch my heart. Here is In The Bleak Midwinter. Listen especially to the last verse.