It’s been a long, hot and depressing summer, with so little joy and less motivation on my part. You’re probably surprised to see me back again and to sport the Christmas logo I used to some acclaim last year, but I have to break the silence, as yuletide approaches and gives me one of the few bright spots on the horizon to get excited about.
At any rate, I thought one way of shifting myself from the Peel Wiki and back onto here was to begin celebrations a bit earlier: and I take you back in time to December 1977. This was the official Xmas number one for that year:
Paul’s maudlin pile of sheep droppings became the first UK single to sell more than two million copies, thereby surpassing anything he ever did with the Beatles. Now, isn’t there something wrong with that? There’s nothing like rubbing people’s noses in it, along the lines of, “Hey, I’m a multi-millionaire and I can afford a Scottish farm, so buy buy buy, you peasants heading for a winter of discontent and a Tory government.” The nostalgia is false: the addition of bagpipers is merely a cynical move to snag the credulous and spike them on the horns of their own lack of sound musical judgement.
No, if it was nostalgia you were after at this time, something else, a one-hit wonder that Mull Of Kintyre kept off the top, offered a more immediate and joyous celebration of what our memories hankered for.
The Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band is composed entirely of self-financed amatuer musicians and has been delighting audiences since 1881 with their professionalism and consummate artistry. Like most one-hitters, this is the single that should never have made it. The song itself is not as old as you might think: although the original ‘Furry Dance’ which it celebrates is a traditional Cornish tune, most of the song was written by one Katie Moss, a violinist, in 1911, and recorded shortly afterwards by Peter Dawson (a name that those of you who downloaded the 1900 Peelenium should be familiar with). The Briggus’ version was a Derek Broadbent arrangement (for it is he you see on the video), and it sold half a million in England. (My dear buddy Adam celebrated Terry Wogan’s knowing and artful version last Christmas, if I remember rightly.) I post it here now both as a reminder of one of the very best Christmas Number Twos and as a salute to my father, who would have been 81 this month and loved this to bits.
It’s good to be back and I hope to regale you with more delights soon.
Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band, Floral Dance