Monday, December 3, 2007
Digging a bit deeper
One thing that's always exciting when searching for rare Christmas music is when you find a Christmas song that was never released on a Christmas record, or even in a Christmas compilation. These songs are a bit more special to me because if it were not for sites such as this, they may be forgotten entirely.
I am offering up two examples of this today. First up is from a 70's folk ensemble called Ellis and Lynch and the song is off their debut album, There's A Time, There's A Moment. The album also includes songs for other holidays as well. I feel "A Simple Christmas Song" is just that...a simple reminder of the reason for the season.
Next up is a rare track by Steve Richardson. While not a well known name among even a few, there is a chance you might know some of his songs as they have been recorded by well known acts such as the Gaither Vocal Band, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, and Vicki Yohe. He's had a number of cassette releases as well as a couple CD releases, all of which are long out of print and hard to find. (One of his cassette releases is Pianoel, a Christmas recording, so expect to hear more from Steve on this blog in the future.)
I had an opportunity to meet Steve in Des Moines, Iowa where he was performing and there were several songs he sang that I could never find on tape or CD. I was convinced there had to be an old LP record he released before his string of cassettes in the 90s and CDs in the recent years. However, even the most strident Google search yielded no results. Nothing even turned up on the all encompassing E-Bay.
One day I was in a record store about 400 miles away--in Minneapolis--and I flipped through the R's and I found it...a Steve Richardson record still sealed from sometime in the early to mid 80's. It was an incredible find, and for a mere five dollars, I was glad to pick it up.
It included the songs I was familiar with from his live performances, but it also included a song called "Empty Manger," a Christmas song that no doubt has never seen the light of day on CD and never on a Christmas compilation. It's one of those songs that this Christmas record collector strives to find but recordings like this are near impossible to find unless you happen upon them, because they are not even on official Christmas records.
So here, and possibly for the first time online, are two long and nearly forgotten Christmas songs from non-Christmas records.
Ellis & Lynch-A Simple Christmas Song
Steve Richardson-Empty Manger
In recent years Steve Richardson has succumbed to diabetes and kidney failure. He has lost his legs and is on dialysis. I understand that there will be a compilation of cover versions of his most beloved songs put together to honor him, but I don't have more information at this time.