For Brian Wilson chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!
By Chris Moore:
If you have found yourself suffering from a “pernicious case of the Mondays” and need something to turn your week around, then look no further than the best cover song music video blog on the Internet today!
This week, as with all weeks, there’s a lot to look forward to.
Tonight, there’s Chris Moore Monday. Tomorrow, there’s Jim Fusco Tuesday. On Saturday, there’s chords to one of the most classic Christmas songs of all time. And, finally, there’s The Weekend Review on Sunday, a very special edition during which I’ll reveal my pick for the #3 best rock album of the decade, 2000-2009. Thus far, it’s been The Barenaked Ladies’ Maroon at #5 and, as of yesterday, Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 at #4.
But that’s enough about the future. For now, let’s live in the moment.
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a traditional song, which basically means that no one knows who wrote the song. I learned tonight that the song is more accurately referred to as “God rest you merry, gentlemen,” even though it is often incorrectly punctuated as “God rest you, merry gentlemen.” Of course, as an English teacher, I found this fascinating. Don’t you?
And, as if that wasn’t enough, Charles Dickens referred to this song in his classic holiday novel, A Christmas Carol. This is a novel that I loved when I first read it in my Charles Dickens class at CCSU, and I loved it even more when I returned to it a couple years ago. If I wasn’t so busy this month, I would re-read it for a third time.
Instead, I’m grading, getting car work done, attending real estate meetings, and, of course, decorating for Christmas. We had a lot of fun pulling out old decorations and buying some new ones to complete the Christmas spirit in the apartment. Even now, I sit bathed in the multi-colored glow of Christmas lights, and really, there’s no better atmosphere for typing a yuletide post.
I’m very proud of tonight’s session for a couple of reasons. First of all, I couldn’t find any reliable chords on the web to work from, so I essentially started from scratch. I used a set of lyrics and chords for the traditional arrangement as a foundation from which to transcribe, but Brian Wilson, true to form, added some twists as well as an instrumental middle section that I figured out on my own. Being that I’m more of a lyrics guy, I always feel excited when I crack a musical code, no matter how simple or complex it might be.
How long it took me, I won’t mention… 🙂
The other main reason I’m happy with this session is that, for whatever reason, this became one of those songs that I just couldn’t relax for. For instance, for the life of me, I couldn’t remember which line to sing after the instrumental break. I kept opting for the blending of the first and third bridges, singing, “To save all those who…” So, I played more takes than I’m willing to admit here, but in the end, I walked away with a complete session that I’m happy with. I especially enjoyed being able to play my Bb harmonica, a first for the Laptop Sessions!
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is one of those songs that I’ve known forever. As I mentioned, it’s a traditional Christmas song that anyone who has gone to church has heard. I never particularly cared for the song — even the Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan version was one I appreciated but never really loved.
Then, I listened to Brian Wilson’s 2004 Christmas album, What I Really Want for Christmas. I was immediately drawn to Wilson’s arrangement of this song, and it has become an instant favorite for me these past several years. The album as a whole has become a favorite of mine, right up there with the Beach Boys’ Christmas album and the Moody Blues’ December. (And, after five years, another top holiday album has been added in Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart.)
If you’ve heard Brian Wilson’s Christmas album — or even if you haven’t — I strongly recommend you go to YouTube and search “Brian Wilson What I Really Want for Christmas Video Part I.” I just watched this documentary today, which includes some great behind-the-scenes making-of footage, interviews, and clips from the album. If you love the album, it will remind you why. If you haven’t heard the album, it will make you want to.
And, on that note, I hope that my video makes you interested enough to want to hear the Brian Wilson version.
See you next session!