I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Need an upbeat winter tune to help get your gears in motion? Irving Berlin wrote a real treat in this one : I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.

It’s guaranteed to get you off of your chair, out of your blue funk, and ready to face those never ending lists of chores, parties, shopping….. that MUST be done before the BIG day arrives.

The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
I've got my love to keep me warm

I can't remember a worse December
Just watch those icicles form!
Oh, what do I care if icicles form?
Oh, I've got my love to keep me warm

Off with my overcoat, off with my glove
I need no overcoat, I'm burning with love!
My heart's on fire, the flame grows higher
So I will weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
Oh, I've got my love to keep me warm

The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
I've got my love to keep me warm

I can't remember a worse December
Just watch those icicles form!
What do I care if icicles form?
I've got my love to keep me warm

Off with my overcoat, off with my glove
I need no overcoat, I'm burning with love!
My heart's on fire, the flame grows higher
So I will weather the storm!
What do I care how much it may storm?
Oh, I've got my love to keep me warm

The snow is snowing, the wind is blowing
But I can weather the storm, storm, storm
What do I care how much it may storm?
Oh, I've got my love to keep me warm

(Irving Berlin, 1937)
Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong's version: https://youtu.be/OYQMG_Ou27Y

Northern Sky

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.

I've been a long time that I'm waiting
Been a long that I'm blown
I've been a long time that I've wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind's eye.

Would you love me for my money
Would you love me for my head
Would you love me through the winter
Would you love me 'til I'm dead
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.

(Nick Drake, 1970: https://youtu.be/S3jCFeCtSjk)

River

River, released nearly 50 years ago, is a classically Canadian, non-Christmasy, Christmas-time tune of lost love. It’s perfect for those who may have the Christmas blues, or are just tired of listening to the fake, off-tune, glittery tunes the radio churns out 24/7 this time of year.

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Oh, I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

(Joni Mitchell, 1971: https://youtu.be/F8MqF7xEGhs)

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Do They Know It's Christmas?

Initially released in 1984, Do They Know It’s Christmas? was a collaboration of top UK musicians, under the header Band Aid . The recording was made in an attempt to raise money for the starving in Ethiopia, who the world seemed to have forgotten.

In 2004, Band Aid 20, re-recorded the original song. The records sales were to support the people of Darfur, who were undergoing terrible atrocities at the hands of local rebels but being denied aid by the Sudanese government.

In 2104, Bob Geldof once again reformed Band Aid 30 to record an updated version of the tune, this time to support the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The participants included some members of the two previous versions of Band Aid. Lyrics below show who sang each line.

[One Direction:] It's Christmas time, 
there's no need to be afraid

[Ed Sheeran:] At Christmas time,
we let in light and we banish shade

[Rita Ora:] And in our world of plenty
we can spread a smile of joy

[Sam Smith:] Throw your arms around the world
at Christmas time

[Paloma Faith:] But say a prayer
and pray for the other ones

[Emeli Sandé:] At Christmas time it's hard
but while you're having fun

[Guy Garvey:] There's a world outside your window
and it's a world of dread and fear

[Dan Smith:] Where a kiss of love can kill you

[Angelique Kidjo:] Where there's death in every tear

[Chris Martin:] And the Christmas bells that ring there
are the clanging chimes of doom

[Bono:] Well, tonight we're reaching out
and touching you

[Seal:] Bring peace and joy this Christmas
to West Africa

[Ellie Goulding:] A song of hope where
there's no hope tonight

[Sinéad O'Connor:] Why is comfort to be feared,
why is to touch to be scared?

[Bono:] How can they know
it's Christmas time at all?

[One Direction:] Here's to you

[Olly Murs:] Raise a glass to everyone

[Bastille:] Here's to them

[Sam Smith:] And all there is to come

[Rita Ora:] Can they know it's Christmas time at all?

[All:]
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again
Feel the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again
Heal the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again
Feel the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again

Heal the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again
Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again
Feel the world
Let them know it's Christmas time again

(Bob Geldof, Midge Ure, 1984.)
Updated and re-released 2014: https://youtu.be/i1jeiC-JEsI

Grown Up Christmas List

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies

Well I'm all grown-up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

What is this illusion called
The innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief
Can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

(David Foster, Linda Thompson-Jenner, 1990)
Amy Grant : https://youtu.be/AN8wPCJSTwA

So This Is Christmas

First released in the early 70’s, this song is sadly way too relevant nearly 50 years later. The message of peace still seems to fall on deaf ears far too often.

Be kind to your neighbours and strangers on the street. Live love.

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over
Now

(John Lennon, Yoko Ono, 1971: https://youtu.be/yN4Uu0OlmTg)

Winterlong

I waited for you, Winterlong
You seem to be where I belong.
It's all illusion anyway.

If things should ever turn out wrong
And all the love we have is gone,
It won't be easy on that day.

Waiting to follow
Through the dreamlight of your way
Is not so easy for me now.

Half the time has passed away
Things we thought of yesterday
Come back now, come back now.

Waiting to follow
Through the dreamlight of your way
Is not so easy for me now.

Half the time has passed away
Things we thought of yesterday
Come back now, come back now.

I waited for you Winterlong
You seem to be where I belong.

(Neil Young, 1970: https://youtu.be/4Clt2zin4O4)

Live to Love

Love is life's end,
an end but never ending

All joys all sweets
all happiness awarding

Love is life's wealth
ne'er spent but ever spending

More rich by giving
taking by discarding

Love is life's reward
rewarded in rewarding

Then from thy wretched heart
fond care remove

Oh should thou live but once
Love's sweets to prove

Thou wilt not love to live
unless thou live to love

(Phineas Fletcher, Venus and Anchises, 1628)

All I Get for Christmas is Blue

Not all of us feel like going “HO! HO! HO!” at this time of year. We’re not really in the mood for merry, jolly, happy, silly, sappy tunes ALL of the time.

I worked in retail for 3 Christmas seasons. I got so sick of listening to corny “Christmas” tunes song off key all day every day. I was ready to throw the store’s radio out of the window – if we’d actually had a window to throw it through.

Today I discovered this song, which I think totally sums up what a lot of us might be feeling at some point this month – the Christmas blues. Karin Bergquist’s voice is a perfect fit. The band, led by her husband, Linford Detweiler, completes the story.

Strings of lights above the bed 
Curtains drawn and a glass of red
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

Saxophone on the radio
Recorded forty years ago
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

When you play my song
Play it slowly
Play it like I'm sad and lonely

Maybe you can solve my mystery
Wrap me in your arms and whisper
You miss me

Weatherman says it's miserable
But the snow is so beautiful
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

It would take a miracle
To get me out to a shopping mall
All I really want for Christmas is you

Let them ring the bells
They won't miss us
I'll be drinking down your kisses

Deep into the night we'll go stealing
Underneath a starry ceiling
Revealing

White lights on the Christmas tree
Thank God you are here with me
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

All I ever get for Christmas is blue
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

(Over the Rhine, 2006 : https://youtu.be/reAw6rushxg)
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