11" x 8.5"
pen and ink on paper, 2010
'Tis the season for thrift stores to organize their records. Once a year the Christmas records are separated from the secular records. I enjoy this, it makes it easy, I only need to browse through a considerable smaller selection to try to find something I like than I do the rest of the year. So why did I browse through the Christmas bin the other day? God only knows but there she was, the embodiment of the Afro-American presence in the 60s folk scene in America: Odetta. A Christmas record indeed, the songs are all 'Negro-Spirituals' and most songs are about the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus. The song Virgin Mary Had One Son may very well end up in the Top 100 and become the first ever Christmas song in the Top 100 history. God bless Odetta. The album is called Odetta: Christmas Spirituals and was released by Vanguard.
Here's half of the Top 10 that featured the song:
- Odetta - Virgin Mary Had One Son
- Art Ensemble of Chicago -Thème de l’Amour Universal —Who would have known that the Art Ensemble of Chicago would be such great driving music. I drove a truck this weekend and got really stoked on the CD Les Stances the Sophie.
- Beth Orton - Worms —I already knew Beth Orton made great driving music. The lyrics of this song are brilliant: "They got a wish bone where a back bone should have grown" is the last sentence of a verse about chickens ('tis the season).
- Bai Guang - Hypocrite —According to Ling, the host of Antique Mandarin Pop Music, the singer chants (in Chinese) the words embarrassed. I'm keen on that because it is my philosophy that one's memory, and therefore one's entire being, is made up from series of embarrassments. My oldest and most vivid memories are all embarrassing situations. Not many songs actually sing that word, but a few years ago I had two in a Top 100: Odyshape by the Raincoats and No Sense by Cat Power.
- Dan the Automator - A Better T —It took a while before the first Jazz tune entered the list, even longer for a blues song, and I still don't have a Hip-Hop track yet. Dan the Automator could be the one, he is a Japanese-American DJ who once was in the 100 with his band Hansome Boy Modeling School.