I was never jealous of Christmas Trees… okay, maybe I was jealous of the huge piles of goodies underneath them, but I was okay with the trees. I was also okay with the Easter eggs… I love a good jellybean just like the next guy, but again, I was all right with it.
I dig Chanukah and I dig Passover, and all the crazy food that goes with those great stories and lessons. They both fulfill the old adage for every Jewish holiday: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!”
But when it comes to music… Well… During the holidays it gets tough. Hell, the way retail works now, it gets hard starting on November 1st. No one cares about Thanksgiving any more… As soon as the black and orange comes down, watch out… Xmas songs start blaring.
Let’s just say that I need more than “The Chanukah Song.” I love it and think it is the funniest thing Sandler has ever done, but it is hard to put that up against “White Christmas” (ironically written by the Jewish Irving Berlin) or “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” (written by two more Jewish fellows, Mel Torme and Robert Wells).
I think half of the Christmas classics were written by Jews, but still… I feel a bit left out.
This really happens with Gospel. There are definitely some pretty inspiring melodies I have heard in various temples over the years, but Klezmer music does not get me up out of my seat, waving my hands in the air and pointing to the sky. Gospel is just… uplifting.
When I was at Northwestern, I did a sketch comedy/improv show called The Mee Ow Show. The band who played with us was Dr. Bob and the Fakakta Blues Band… Yes, there were a few Jews there, too… but one of the songs they played was “Jesus Dropped The Charges.” Really great song. Todd, who was also my harmonica mentor, told me I must get the album it was off of, and so I did… and I was then hooked on Gospel.
Say Amen Somebody – Music From the Film
Now, since we are talking about religious music, I will confess that I have not seen the whole film… I know, I know… I actually forgot about it until I started writing this and realized that I REALLY need to see this… so it is now on the top of my queue (as is The Gospel at Colonus… another rec from way back in college).
Thomas A. Dorsey and Willie Mae Ford Smith are highlighted, along with the O’Neal Twins… All will move you in different ways… The fact that the first two are still singing when this was made (1980) is a fantastic testament to the spirit of music and the spiritual itself.
I have the old, silver-colored version, which I am happy to see selling for over $23 on Amazon, but Rykodisc did a special re-release back in ‘o7 of just the CD or a special package with the never released on DVD documentary and the soundtrack…
This is some good old-time music, and not matter what your religion, this will have you dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’…
Not bad for a funky white boy.