heard on the wire

And the bells were ringing out

Bells

A consensus appears to have been reached, if my Facebook and Twitter timelines are at–all reliable indicators, that Kirtsy MacColl and The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is the greatest of Christmas songs.

As I’ve mentioned before, this blog’s holiday affections lie elsewhere, but we can only be happy that the season’s airwaves are more likely to be filled—and I’m not being sarcastic here—by Shane MacGowan’s beautiful voice than the tuneless drone of the Richard.

Another voice not readily associated with beauty, but like MacGowan’s capable of giving a rare, raw emotion to a lyric, is Billy Bragg’s. A few years ago—and at just two hours’ notice—Bragg teamed up with Florence Welch of Machine fame, taking the Kirsty MacColl part to Florence’s MacGowan. I may be in a very small minority when I say that I
prefer their fairytale.

Florence Welch and Billy Bragg :: Fairytale of New York

Bragg recently concluded a European tour to promote his excellent 2013 LP, Tooth & Nail. His Brussels show was, without hyperbole, the finest live performance I have ever seen. Grown men cried, not least during this song.

Billy Bragg :: Goodbye, Goodbye

Lovers, of course, never say goodbye.

The Flamingos :: Lovers Never Say Goodbye

Audio MP3

 
Sinatra did, indeed, swing, ever-so-gently on this, a highlight among many on his 1956 LP, Songs for Swinging Lovers, probably the greatest of the decade. His voice never sounded better.

And, by the way, Merry Christmas.

OK, maybe that is the best.


Photo: Bells; some rights reserved

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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All the music on this site is posted to encourage listeners to enjoy it and then rush out and buy as many songs by the artist as they possibly can. Any artist, record label boss, publisher or other rightsholder who doesn't want their works featured here only needs to get in touch and the offending file(s) will be removed at the earliest opportunity.