Extracts of Blagg's football blogs as he follows West Ham United and England through the usual series of near disasters.

Featuring links to the Annual Billy Blagg Advent Calendar of Christmas Songs.

Also featuring guest appearances by 'Captain Olympic'.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Day 23 - 'When My Heart Finds Christmas' - Harry Connick Jnr.

A guilty pleasure for the Blagger since I was introduced to Harry Connick by the young and buxom Lady B, back in the days when we were a vicious rumour.

I’ve been tempted to put this on the calendar for years but was afraid of the scorn and abuse this sugar-coated schmaltz would invoke amongst the general population; but then I caught a Fearne Cotton show on Radio 1 earlier this month that made me think that people might be changing their listening habits.

At 11.30am this particular morning I heard, in order, Drum & Bass protagonist’s Chase & Status, Hipping and a hopping twosome Kanye and JayZed, Indie darlings Friendly Fires followed by, in the Live Lounge, Michael Bublé with a swing band singing three Christmas standards. Now the love – as they say nowadays – was pouring in for Bublé and his renditions of what is (and I have nothing against what he does at all) ground well-trodden by Sinatra, Deano, Nat and many others back in the black ‘n’ white years.

So if the Canadian is now deemed to be as much a part of the mainstream as everyone else – and why not? – perhaps we can view H.C. Jnr with a little less of a jaundiced eye. Harry Connick straddled the years between Sinatra and Bublé in a time when he was viewed as a bit of curio is some quarters as he attempted to re-introduce a strand of music barely anyone had visited anew since the 40’s and 50’s.

Now, in truth, the ‘When my Heart Finds Christmas’ album is probably not a place to try and see if your tastes can cope with a bit of post-modernist Rat Pack crooning, at times it’s cloying and dirge like (Ave Maria anyone? No thanks!), but there are three or four good swing tracks and the gem of a  title song that soars like the backdrop to a Hollywood holiday classic movie. Connick has cleverly invoked the whole choir and orchestra thing - careful with that horn and ahhhhh overload Eugene! - so that it sounds like a film soundtrack and if the hairs don’t rise on your neck at the ludicrous soaring orchestration before the last verse then you should probably just go back to your Low Christmas album and never attempt it again.

For me though, I have to pretend that a Heston Mince Pie has gone down the wrong way as I wipe away a tear…

There are a few versions on Youtube, a video and a live version but I love the album track just for the choir and orchestra and you can check that out here: When My Heart Finds Christmas


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