The Coventry Carol

This beautiful carol is from the sixteenth century. Traditionally performed as part of a mystery play, it’s about Herod ordering the death of all male infants in Bethlehem, and is a lullaby sung by the mothers of all those poor babies about to be murdered.

Cheery stuff! But also a nice antidote to all the cheesy stuff.

Merry Christmas.

Kate Paine: piano and vocals

 

 

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I’m on fire

Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple, because even though the song’s crying out to be sung there’s not much you can do to improve the original. And so it is with this song, released by Bruce Springsteen in 1985.

Kate Paine: piano and vocals

I wanna dance with somebody

Ah, Whitney.

How do you reinterpret a song sung by someone so famous and so tragic?

With trepidation, is the answer. But there’s something about this song I find intriguing. So upbeat, so disco, and so eighties, it’s really all about longing to find that one person to love and who will love you in return.

Written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam for Whitney Houston to record on her second album and released in 1987, it was a huge hit.

‘Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me.’

Kate Paine: vocals and piano

 

Beauty and the beast

Ah, Disney.

With lyrics by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, this song was written for the animated film of the same name, released in 1991.

It’s about a tale as old as time, and the song really does have a timeless quality to it, not least because it’s been recorded so many times, by Celine Dion, Angela Lansbury, Ariane Grande, Emma Thompson, to mention just a few, as well as being named one of the greatest songs in film history (no.62) by the American Film Institute.

So here’s my effort. I’ve changed a few chords and given it a bit of a shuffle feel, but it’s still the same song, ‘certain as the sun rising in the east, tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme.’

Kate Paine: vocals and piano.

 

Calling you

Written by Bob Telson for the 1987 movie Bagdad Cafe, this song is like no other. It’s a slow burn, with a dream-like quality that, if you watch the movie, perfectly captures the feeling of the truck-stop cafe in an abandoned town in the middle of nowhere, and those few troubled souls who take refuge there.

It’s been covered many times, including by Celine Dion, Jeff Buckley, Barbra Streisand, Paul Young and so many others. For my money, though, it’s at its absolute best when it’s kept simple, just piano and voice.

Kate Paine: vocals and piano

P.S It’s been a while between posts. Lot of music making but not so much recording. Where does the time go??

Here comes you-know-who

‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ was a Top-10 hit when it was recorded by Gene Autry in 1947.

Elvis Presley made it his own in 1957, and so has nearly everyone else, including Mariah Carey, Doris Day and Bob Dylan, among others.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re expecting a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve because this song is a gift all  by itself. It captures that exquisite feeling of anticipation we all remember from when we were children and you just knew you wouldn’t be able to wait a moment longer.

 

Kate Paine: vocals

Big Band arrangement: Malcolm Haylock

 

Let it snow…

This song, composed by Jules Stern and with lyrics by Sammy Kahn, was first published in 1945. They wrote it, apparently, in the middle of a heatwave, dreaming of all things cold and snowy.

It’s been recorded by so many people, from Bing Crosby and Dean Martin through to Rod Stewart and, most recently, Kylie Minogue.

But I’m not going to let that stop me, because it is an unabashedly joyous song, celebrating everything cold, but always with the understanding that no matter how cold it might become, love will keep you warm.

 

Kate Paine: four-part vocals