Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Midnight's Clear

I have, over the last fifteen years or so, become something of a connoisseur of Christmas songs. I seek them out and save them. From the moving to the cheesy to the sacrilegious, I find, I listen, I add them to my collection. As a result, this time of the year my family is subjected to all manner of holiday audio assaults. It's my thing.

I have my personal favorites, both old and new. My Morning Jacket's Christmas EP from a couple of years ago is one. There are also some stunning bop jams worked from Christmas standards that I'm fond of.

There is one however, that I have been unable to track down. The recording is out of print and I have yet to find a DL that is still intact. It remains as haunting now as it was the first time I heard it. A standard carol, It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, this arrangement is dropped down into a minor key. The singer, Sam Phillips, solemnizes it, but she also imbues it with a deep sadness and - almost - dread. It originally played over the end credits of the film, "A Midnight Clear" - an equally moving and sad story of disaster overwhelming a desire for peace in this season.

Bruce Cockburn later used the same arrangement (and rightly credited Phillips for it) to great effect and had some success with it, but it isn't the same.

The only thing I can offer you is someone's montage of the film backed by the song. The song itself does not begin until around 1:50 in.


Anonymous said...

You can use http://www.captureyoutube.net/ to convert to MP3 and save to your computer, then use audacity (free to download - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ )to chop off the first 1 minute 50 seconds, and the bit at the end, if you want.

arlopop said...