Saturday Music: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Emmanuel, God with us.

That’s what the birth of Jesus Christ means.

He would come and live a perfect life so that we could be reconciled to God and live with Him eternally.

He came and did all of this for enemies.  As Romans 5:8 tell us, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And now we wait for Him again to return.

O come, o come Emmanuel.

“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.


Saturday Music: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

The album, A Very Special Christmas, provided a transition from the Christmas music I enjoyed as a child and the music I would enjoy as an adult.

Growing up, we had a couple of Christmas albums, namely ones by Elvis and Gene Autry, but the month of December wasn’t filled with holiday music like it is now on certain local radio stations.  After Thanksgiving, we would hear the occasional Christmas song interspersed with other music, and then around Christmas Eve, certain stations would start playing them for a few hours in a row.

As a result, there was a very limited range of Christmas music that I knew.  I knew a few religious Christmas carols (that we probably sang at school because I didn’t regularly attend church), the few we heard on the radio and the few from our albums.  But with A Very Special Christmas, things seemed to change.

The songs on this album were covered by some of the largest pop stars of the day, such as John Mellencamp, U2, Bryan Adams and Sting, and they were all really well done.  In many cases, like “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” performed by Mellencamp, the songs were performed with a modern sound that made them sound, well modern.  They were performed in a manner similar to the way these artists would have performed their other songs and it made the songs popular and updated for a couple (at least) of generations to follow.

Popular artists of each era have always covered Christmas songs, but this album seemed to particularly well made and served to energize the practice.  And I believe that eventually encouraged so many radio stations to play holiday music non-stop for much of the holiday season.

“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.

Saturday Music: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

I guess it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  Black Friday has come and gone.  Bama has won the SEC title game.  The tree is up and the light fairy has sprayed lights all over the trees out front.  So, I guess it’s time to put on the Michael Buble Christmas album.

In terms of secular Christmas music, Buble’s “Christmas” is about the best there is.  Like a lot of his music, he takes what others have done and does it differently — and a lot of the time does it better than the original.  That’s the case with this album.  He covers a batch of the classics and tosses in a couple of original songs.

My favorite song on the album comes down to two of them.  If I hear his version of Mariah Carey’s  All I Want for Christmas first, I usually think that’s my favorite until I hear the song above, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

Shoot, since we’re only a couple of weeks away from Christmas, how about a bonus track today?  Here’s my almost favorite, All I Want for Christmas:

“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.

Saturday Music: Livin’ Thing

“I’m takin’ a dive.”

I don’t know much about the history of ELO Electric Light Orchestra — but I have listened to their music for most of my life.  And, generally, speaking, that’s been a good thing.

I mean, it’s not good in the sense that it’s cured a disease or won a football game, but it’s good in the sense that I’m a little happier after hearing one of their songs.

This song, “Livin’ Thing,” also highlights a lot of what I find entertaining about ELO’s musical style.  Take a close listen to this song a note the background vocals.  At different times, you’ll hear the female background singers telling us, “I’m taking a dive” and you’ll hear the male techno voice telling us the same thing, but with a different cadence.  I probably listened to this song for at least 20 years before slowing down enough to catch these cool details.

So on this first Saturday of the holiday season, I hope you’ll take a few moments to slow down and listened to the wonder of ELO.  I think you’ll be glad you did.

“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.

Saturday Music: Remember When

Today’s song is Remember When by Alan Jackson.  There’s no special connection to this song for me other than I really like the touching story it tells.

The song tells the lifetime story of two people that meet, fall in love and then spend their lives of highs and lows together — and sometimes apart.  Many of us, I’m sure, can identify with the story because we’ve lived through, or we are anticipating many of the things that happen in the story. Maybe it’s the puppy love part or the getting married part.  Perhaps it’s the memories of love ones dying and then the miracle of new little ones somehow filling in the missing spaces.  Or it could be the memories of the sounds of our young children moving around the house — the same kids that are now all grown up and gone.

Ultimately, through all of the ups and downs, good times and bad, times of being together and sometimes apart, the couple in the song makes it to the finish line.  I like that.  I don’t want Sweet Wife and I to go through all of the things mentioned in this song, but I do want us to finish well together.

“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.

Saturday Music: Jerry Reed

Today, we’re going to revel in the music of Jerry Reed.

First, I want to point out two songs written by Reed that were later made famous by Elvis Presley, Guitar Man and U.S. Male.  Here are the Reed versions of these classics:

Of course, most of us probably Reed best for East Bound and Down.  And, yes, this song had a lot to do with my childhood dreams of driving an 18-wheeler for a living.

Yeah here comes Amos
Now Amos Moses was a Cajun
He lived by himself in the swamp
He hunted alligator for a living
He’d just knock them in the head with a stump

Oh, sorry.  I was singing along with this classic, Amos Moses.

Who else would tell Porter Waggoner “no thanks” when Porter asked to sing along?  That’s right, Jerry Reed.  Why?  ‘Cause he knew he was gonna kill Wabash Cannonball.

You can see on this last song why I really like to listen to Jerry Reed.  Folks, he ain’t lip syncing.  He is clearly talented, but there’s more.  He looks like he really enjoys playing his guitar and singing.  Lot’s of folks are good I suppose.  And I suppose a lot of folks like entertaining.  But when you see the really talented folks knocking it out and enjoying what they do, that really resonates.

I also think there’s another reason why I like Reed’s music.  To some degree, his songs were background music (along with some other folks) to my childhood.  No, we didn’t sit around and listen to Jerry Reed albums, but his music was always on the radio, and as you heard above, it has a way of sticking with you.

Another thing is that he reminds me a little of my dad, especially my dad circa 1970s.  Physically they were similar during that time and both were a little nutty with their sense of humor.  They way you can see Reed messing with folks in his good natured way is similar to how my dad acted.  I miss my dad and I like anything that reminds me of him.

“Saturday Music” is a weekly blog series about the music of our lives.  Click here to read all of the posts in this series.