James Taylor

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.



About Angus Lewis

My wife and I lived our whole lives in Arkansas until ten years ago. We moved to the Kansas City area in 2011 (a job change). That was the reason for the 'From a Far Country' title. Our children and grandchildren were in Arkansas. Six months ago we sold our house and bought one in Sherwood, Arkansas and my wife moved back down here. Two weeks ago I retired and moved back too. (I'm probably going to try to find something part time to keep me out of trouble.) So maybe the 'From a Far Country' title is not so much of a fit anymore. But I think I'll stick with it. I'm still not home. Not yet. The Bible says we are all strangers and pilgrims here. Our real home is with God and some day we'll be there. We'll be home.
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2 Responses to James Taylor

  1. Kathy Brockinton says:

    I am sure enjoying your blog, Angus! I loved James Taylor’s music growing up. “In the Bleak Midwinter” brings back some very special memories for our family. A dear friend my boys called “Uncle James”who pastored a Methodist church invited us to their Christmas service each year. The highlight of their tradition was this song which was sung by a leader in their denomination every year. Uncle James has since gone on to be with Jesus but the sweet memories remain. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Angus Lewis says:

      Thanks for the kind words.
      I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that song till I stumbled onto it on At Christmas. It started as a poem early in the nineteenth century, published as a song early twentieth century. Glad I happened on it.

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