Here in the UK the BBC aired a festive programme called ‘Blackburn sings Christmas with Gareth Malone’. Gareth is a well known choirmaster and presenter, and he went to the Lancashire town, one of the areas hardest hit by Covid, to produce a concert celebrating the work of the National Health Service and the local community spirit, featuring local folk.
Amongst others he met Stephen, a hospital porter and cleaner who also worked as a singer before the pandemic. Gareth decided a good choice of song in his case would be Jim’s ‘An Old Christmas Card’. As Gareth said – “This is an old country song, and what I like about it is 1947 (the year of its original publishing) so 80’s and over this is. This is gonna be a banger for them, and it’s Jim Reeves!”
Stephen quipped – “My grandmother loved Jim Reeves!”
Well as far as I’m concerned, and I suspect many others, Jim is still for all ages. Nevertheless Gareth went on to say – “Oh God, if you could bottle Christmas I’d have about a litre and a half. What’s good about it is there’s this bank of songs people sing every year, over and over again, but now and again you just discover a little gem that’s ripe for reinventing and rediscovery.”
Speaking as a proud Englishman a couple of pints would do for me ! but I know exactly what he means. An Old Christmas Card has long been one of my favourites of Jim.
Stephen went on to sing it very nicely indeed, in a voice a little higher in range than Jim’s. What particularly interested me was he didn’t include Jim’s spoken interlude, but he commenced with a very pretty verse which was presumably included in the original publication –
‘Every Christmas Eve,
When Santa’s work is through,
I tiptoe through the little attic door.
Go through my souvenirs,
And turn back all the years,
Until I find what I’ve been looking for – ‘
I hope someone much abler than I will put it on You Tube.
It’s nice to know Jim’s never forgotten.
All the best to all Jim’s fans for the New Year.
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