Christmas in the Heart – Third Time Around

My friends just don’t get it – not even my Dylan-fan friends – but I remain fascinated by the 2009 release “Christmas in the Heart“.

It seems to me to be one of the consummate Christmas albums for several reasons which I will list below. I’ve written about this album on two occasions before –  most recently here:

But here’s my reasons that this is a classic of the seasonal kind:

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Carols at Ravenscourt Park

As I mentioned last week, we sang Christmas carols to raise money for the homeless at our neighbourhood tube station, Ravenscourt Park, here in Hammersmith. The event went extremely well. The sound was beautiful. Several hundred pounds were raised from kind passers-by.

Last night, the London Paper, one of our local evening freebies, made our event subject of the picture-of-the-day. That’s Sereyna, my daughter, in the foreground, with her collecting bucket.

God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen

Place: St Brides Church, Fleet Street, London

Time: Yesterday Evening

Event: The "Jethro Tull Christmas Carol Service"

What? Those rockers who so ably debunked organised religion on their album, "Aqualung", in a Christian church and involved and leading an event full of Christmas Carols, prayers and Bible readings.

Surprising, indeed.

But this was an event aimed at raising money and support for London’s homeless and this proved an easy alliance. Aqualung, a wheezy old tramp of the old school, didn’t make an appearance but there was a portion of "Thick as a Brick". In short, Tull took care of seasonal entertainment whilst the clergy and church members added the spiritual decoration. And a fine night was had by all.

Highlights of the night? Gentle wintry folk, from Tull, including "Weathercock" from Heavy Horses, and "Jack-in-the-Green". They also turned their hand to jazzy renditions of traditional Christmas music – albeit in instrumental form – with "God Rest Ye, Merry, Gentlemen" and "We Five (Three) Kings of Orient Are". They even came over all Steeleye Span with their own re-working of "Gaudete", led by Ian Anderson and the church’s choir, with the congregation doing their best on the chorus.

Journalist, Gavin Esler and actor, Andrew Lincoln helped Ian and the men in dog-collars out with the scripture and poetry readings.

Apparently, the whole thing will be mixed down for a limited cd release.

A cool yule indeed!

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull gets into the Christmas Spirit