Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who visits this Calendar now and in the future. Thanks for your support this year and hope we can all meet back here next year, in 2018, for the 12th Annual bash.



Day 25 - 364 Days To Go - Brad Paisley

And here we are again. There's twenty-five windows of the Blagg Advent Calendar and what better way to celebrate the day than with this spine-tingling song that just about says it all. 

Don't you get the sense tonight / That for now the world is right / And as another Christmas ends / My mind drifts and once again / I'm thinking like a six year old / Only 364 days to go

Have a peaceful Christmas.



Sunday, 24 December 2017

Day 24 - O Holy Night - The Temptations

The most magical day of the year - I prefer to travel than arrive - and, being a Sunday, it's a Carol for the day. There's six minutes of this wondrous track; a sumptuous vocal treat for the ears. Listen and thank your deity of your choice for the fact you're here and you can enjoy this fantastic season for another year.

Merry Christmas!



Saturday, 23 December 2017

Day 23 - You Are My Christmas - Bobby Bland

Well if this doesn't have you adjusting your new socks, reaching for the Listerine and topping up the Eggnog then nothing will.


Friday, 22 December 2017

Day 22 - On Christmas Morning - Loudon Wainwright III

A bit of a rarity for the Calendar but it's a 'Buy One Get One Free' offer today.

Wainwright Jnr made an early appearance on the blog with the exceptional 'Spotlight On Christmas' (Year 1 Day 4 Here ) and now it's time for Dad. 

'On Christmas Morning' has been ringing round Blagg Acres - well, the Blagg motor vehicle at least - for many a year now, but when I went to post it I found the provocative 'I'll Be Killing You (This Christmas)' - that I'd not heard before - right next to it. I was torn. 

I often post a Christmas song expecting those interested to seek out the album or E.P. it comes from but it doesn't preclude me from putting another track from it on another year if I think it's worthy. 'Killing you' though is an extremely divisive song; not perhaps in the UK where the idea of the 'right to bear arms' is considered to be an obscene concept, but certainly in the U.S where it has been used by both pro and anti Gun Law lobbyists as a rallying cry. Wainwright himself has found himself at the centre of controversy whenever he has performed it; some liking it and others getting uncomfortable with it. There's no doubting which side of the mast Wainwright has nailed his colours too but some have misinterpreted it just adding to the argument.

Against a tune deliberately reminiscent of 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' we find the chilling lyrics.

Though there's no way you can miss this / A Bushmaster's on my wish list / My right to bear arms you cannot deny 

and

I'll be shooting folks this Christmas / But there's no reason to be frightened or alarmed / What's the matter with a handgun? / When everybody has one / Which is why we all need to be armed

Even so, some will find the black humour theme either as scathing satire or, possibly in some cases, bad taste and I wasn't sure it was a song I'd revisit on the Calendar another year - even though tune-wise it is exceptionally Christmas-y. 

So, I post it here for those - like me - who think it's genius, and you can take both as you find them.  





Thursday, 21 December 2017

Suspended

'Suspended' is the new Art Installation from Arabella Dorman (See 'Flight'using clothes cast off by refugees in their desperate search for  a new home. Suspended from the church ceiling at St James's Church, Piccadilly London, all these items were found on the beach at Lesbos in the Greek Islands and reflects the 'limbo faced by those caught between a past to which they cannot return and a future they are denied'.

'These highlight the sense of dis-empowerment and imprisonment, stuck in a present that is fraught with uncertainty, risk and fear' says the artist. In fact, like the clothes themselves, 'Suspended'.  

Nobody knows the fate of the original owners of these clothes and the 'My 1st Christmas Ever' shirt is particularly evocative and heart-breaking. We hope he had a second and a third and many more to come.




Photos: B.Blagg

Day 21 - Xmas Prison Blues - Seasick Steve And The Level Devils

'I been on the inside on my birthday / I been on the inside at Halloween / Ate Institutional turkey on Thanksgiving / That ain't the worst I got to say'


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Day 20 - You Trimmed My Christmas Tree - Baby Jane And The Blenders

From 1963 comes this R 'n' B / Doo-Wop hybrid that will have you checking your own trim to ensure it's all tidy and not dangling..


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Day 19 - It's Christmas And You're Boring Me - Slow Club

From the 6 track E.P. 'Christmas,Thanks for Nothing' comes 'You're Boring Me'. 

The irony is lost on no-one.


Monday, 18 December 2017

Day 18 - Post-Apocalypse Christmas - Gruff Rhys

I was going to save this till next year but after seeing the latest statements from Kim Jong un and Donald Trump, decided you may as well hear this little gem from Super Furry Animals front man Gruff now. It's from his 'Atheist Xmas' E.P. and you may want to catch it while there's still time. After all, I'd hate to post it next December only to find there's no-one left to hear it. 


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Day 17 - The First Noel - Bing Crosby

In any other list, Crosby would have made an appearance a long time ago. This being a place a little different from the norm however, Bing had yet to trouble the Calendar. It was getting to be a tad embarrassing though, so what better way to change things than with this gorgeous offering for Sunday's Carol.



Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Cats at Blagg Acres

 Photo: B. Blagg - Morris 
Photo: B.Blagg - Buzz
Photo: B.Blagg - Ziggy

Day 16 - Snowman - Sia

Sia can be a bit marmite vocally but her 2017 'Everday Is Christmas' album is a festive pop-tastic delight. You'd need a heart like flint not to enjoy this. 


Friday, 15 December 2017

Day 15 - Soul Christmas - Graham Parker & Nona Hendryx

Second Christmas party Friday of the year and I was going to run another smoocher so you could have another crack at that girl in Accounts, but I figure if you've not made it by now then you're just wasting your time anyway so why not liven it up with this dance floor scorcher?

Who'd have guessed when I started this that Graham Parker would get on the Calendar at  least twice (Day 7 Year 9)? Accompanied this time with one-third of Labelle, this also has great lyrics that someone has kindly left under the YouTube post. Do yourself a favour and visit it. Then dance.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

Day 14 - Santa Claus - The Sonics

As a counterpoint to Day 13 here's U.S. punk / garage / hard rock innovators with a track from 1965 that's barely aged either...errr....sonically nor in sentiment.

'I want a brand new car, a twangy guitar, a cute little honey and lots of money'

'And he said nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing'



Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Day 13 - I Believe In Christmas / Christmas Times a-Comin' - Glen Campbell

Wondrously awful or disturbingly festive, you take your choice with this strange double offering from Glen Campbell; a man who sadly left us this year.

Presumably from some U.S. show of the time, this apparently dates from 1985 but - in that strange way that sometimes happens - it not only looks older, it seems to have come from another dimension entirely.

The story is Pat Boone - yes I assume it is THE Pat Boone (ask yer Gran!) - has bought some kid (from a US TV show apparently) to the Campbell Ranch in California because said lad doesn't feel it's particularly festive on the warm and sunny West Coast. I'd have given the little sod a clip round the 'ear and told him he was in one of the greatest places on Earth and to enjoy himself while he could but, no, instead our Glenn sings to him on his horse and all is made perfect when he sees the cowboys a-singing and a-dancing around the chuck wagon

I saw Glen Campbell on his farewell tour; playing Southend-on-Sea on November 5th 2011 - no that isn't a typo! - and it was a strange, yet exhilarating night. Backed by his adoring family, Campbell was in top form but showing signs of the dementia that eventually took him; playing an Essex coastal town with Guy Fawkes celebrations going off all around must have confused him further, considering he could sell out any venue with his own brand of fireworks back in his heyday in the 1970's.  

When Campbell passed away in August a social media tribute from me was met with varying degrees of acclamation.  Some were aware of Campbell's astonishing session work that, had he done nothing else, would have marked him out as a musical great. Some agreed that he was a great interpreter of other's songs - check out the excellent 'Meet Glen Campbell' album and the astounding version of the Foo Fighters 'Times Like These' among many other songs by U2, John Lennon, Green Day, Tom Petty etc. - while many agreed that, if nothing else. 'Wichita Lineman' was one of the greatest records ever made.

Some though saw the man as a one of those Vegas-style crooners with a US TV show type persona who belonged to some other circus they weren't part of. I can understand that and, for anyone who sees Campbell that way, this excruciating video - or indeed any of his Christmas offerings - isn't likely to make you feel any different. 




Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Monday, 11 December 2017

Day 11 - Christmas Will Break Your Heart - LCD Soundsystem

There's been barely a 'Best of 2017' album list that hasn't had LCD Soundsystem's seismic 'American Dream' in the top three.

This is from 2015 with front man James Murphy explaining "I originally had about 75 lines of lyrics but cut them down to eight to keep the suicide rate in check"

You've been warned


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Day 10 - O Come All Ye Faithful - Frank Sidebottom

Mr Sidebottom nearly made it onto last year's list after I saw the excellent film 'Frank' - loosely based on the life of the Comedian / Musician also know as Chris Seivey - with Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson in 2016. 

After reading the Jon Ronson book of the same name this year though, then discovering this version of 'O Come All Ye Faithful' - a Carol yet to appear on the Calendar - it was difficult to resist a moment longer. Besides which I want to hear everyone going 'Cha-Cha-Cha' at every Carol concert this Christmas.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Day 9 - Santa Claus Is Coming in a Boogie-Woogie Choo-Choo Train - The Tractors

All aboard with Country rock outfit The Tractors as they get on the right track with a festive boogie-woogie that rattles along (you jotting this stuff down?) with a wonderful video of the Canadian Pacific Christmas train to complement it.