A very Merry Christmas! The Yule edition of Free Ride* celebrates the music of Annie Lennox, who shares a Dec 25 birthday with the incarnation of freedom himself. The former Eurythmics pop sensation has a couple of musical Christmas connections, as well as sharing a birthday with Jesu Bambino. One of these connections involves her latest release, A Christmas Cornucopia, which provides us with a set of freedom lyrics in the classic carol, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (click on the lyric link below to hear her version):
That last line reminds me of Robert Plant and his new group, Band of Joy, and their cover of the old spiritual, Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down. This is the kingdom of fear, of prejudice, of exclusion, of greed, of violence. It is the kingdom that calls for expelling foreign children from our borders. It is the kingdom that causes people to lose homes and businesses while bankers flourish. It is the kingdom that believes you can combat terror with weapons of war. It is a kingdom that must come down. And the Christmas hope, described in this wonderful old English carol, is that this virgin born baby will free all those who are willing to trust in another kingdom, a kingdom based on love for enemies, welcome of strangers, and having all things in common. Those are some of the fruits of the Spirit in the great cornucopia of Christmas.
There is a reference to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in A Christmas Carol, where Ebenezer Scrooge, upon hearing the first sound of God bless you merry gentlemen, may nothing you dismay pitched such a fit that the singer fled in terror. This provides us with our second Annie Lennox musical connection to the Christmas season, as she provided a song for the Bill Murray movie re-make of the Dickens classic, Scrooged. I love that flick, partly because I love Bill Murray, and if you’re looking for a somewhat cheesy and offbeat family film-watching experience, go out and rent it and watch it this Christmas. I mean, what other movie has “extras” the likes of Miles Davis, Larry Carlton, and David Sanborn playing street musicians? At any rate, when all the ghosts have visited the modern day Scrooge, and he has done right by employees and reconciled with family, the final montage comes complete with background music from our birthday girl Annie Lennox and Al Green, reminding us to put a little love in our hearts this yuletide season. After all, as they say, it’s getting late, don’t hesitate, put a little love in your heart, and the world will be a better place for you and me, just wait and see.
*Free Ride is a Saturday blog that takes a different song each week and muses on the lyrics of freedom. You can click on the live links in the post to hear various versions of the song by different artists. If you have a favorite “freedom” song (it could be any song that has the word free or freedom in it), feel free to suggest it in the comment box below. As always, your feedback and comments are welcome.