Sunday, December 31, 2023

NYE: Dinner For One, by JD

 A perennial celebration in Germany and justly famous. A happy, healthy and successful 2024 to all!

Monday, December 25, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar: Christmas Day!

In 1858 Camille Saint-Saëns composed his Oratorio de Noël for five vocal soloists, mixed choir, strings, organ and harp. The work, sung in Latin, is based on texts from the Old and New Testaments, the Psalms and Gospels, as well as the Catholic Christmas liturgy. A distinctive chamber music-like instrumentation, with lyrical soloistic parts and a modest choral part combine to create a basic pastoral mood which has led this Christmas Oratorio to become one of the most performed works by Saint-Saëns.

Saint-Saëns: Weihnachtsoratorium / Christoph Poppen / DRP

(00:32) 01 Prelude In the Style of J.S. Bach
(03:54) 02 Et Pastores erant; Gloria (chorus)
(08:40) 03 Expectants expectavi Dominum (soprano)
(11:39) 04 Domine, ego credidi (tenor, chorus)
(14:37) 05 Benedictus qui venit (soprano, bass)
(18:42) 06 Quare fremuerunt gentes (chorus)
(21:58) 07 Tecum principium (soprano, tenor, bass)
(26:42) 08 Alleluja (soprano, soprano, alto, bass)
(28:55) 09 Consurge, Filia Sion (soprano, soprano, alto, bass, chorus)
(34:28) 10 Tollite hostias (chorus)

Sunday, December 24, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (24): Christmas Eve

A small selection from around the world of other, and very different, Christmas musical offerings Including what is possibly the earliest Christmas carol (if carol is the right word for it.)

Christmas Song by St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Trivandrum

Veni Redemptor Gentium
This is the oldest Christmas carol ever documented. Dates back to 4th century Rome. (Come, Redeemer of the nations) is a Latin Advent or Christmas hymn by Ambrose of Milan

Theshbuhtho | Syrian Orthodox Nativity Hymns | Crystal Chords | 4K

Yehoodhiyayile Oru Gramathil Super hit Malayalam Christmas song

Saturday, December 23, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (23) - nearly there!

Christmas Must Be Tonight | The Band |

Sarah McLachlan - Wintersong (Official Video)

Amy Grant Vince Gill Tennessee Christmas 1993

Friday, December 22, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (22) - music at the Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice, at 3:27GMT this morning to be precise. The summer starts here! (possibly)

Yo-Yo Ma, Alison Krauss - The Wexford Carol (Video)

Yorkshire carol Sweet Bells (Kate Rusby)
From BBC programme Songs of Praise 
(Carols from Yorkshire, Sunday 5 December 2010), 
presented by Aled Jones

Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Windy Day

 Click vid to watch on Roobarb and Custard on YouTube:

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (21)

Today, a mix of Irish, French and French Canadian:

Chieftains - A Breton Carol (1987)

The Christ Child's Lullaby - Celtic Christmas

The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Christmas hymn, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.

This version is performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English.

Dropkick Murphys - "The Season's Upon Us" (Video)

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

If the Great Disruptor got the consequences...

(Reposted from 2015)

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (20)

A musical mixture for Wednesday 20th December:

Mannheim Steamroller Special Live Performance 
"Traditions of Christmas"

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Bill & Gloria Gaither - 
Angels We Have Heard On High/
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (Medley) (Live)

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (19) - Old Favourites

 Some more from the old-timers who are perennial favourites -

Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter And His Orchestra - 
Christmas In New Orleans

Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga - 
Winter Wonderland (Official Audio)

The Brian Setzer Orchestra (Stray Cats) 
"Jingle Bell Rock" 18/12/2004 Universal Amphitheatre, L.A.

Eartha Kitt - 
Santa Baby (Official Audio)

Frank Sinatra 
Let it snow

Blue Christmas

Monday, December 18, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (18)

As noted yesterday there are too many Elvis impersonaters out there and some of them make fake videos pretending to be the 'King'

There is one however who made no secret of his copycat Elvis style and that was the late Les Gray of the pop/rock band called 'Mud' and you have heard the song every Christmas for as long as you can remember.
Mud - 
Lonely This Christmas

Love Unlimited - 
It may be winter outside (but in my heart it's spring)

Darlene Love - 
All Alone On Christmas (Official Video)

25th Anniversary of Darlene Love's annual appearance performing "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" on The Late Show with David Letterman. December 23, 2011. (I think 2014 was her last performance on Letterman with this song)

Sunday, December 17, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (17) - Elvis!

It wouldn't be Christmas without Elvis! Two problems finding suitable videos, one being the lack of good picture and sound quality. The other is trying to avoid the 'fake' Elvises out there and there are quite a lot so I hope I have the real one every time with these four.

Elvis Presley - On A Snowy Christmas Night, (HD)

Elvis& Priscilla Presley- Christmas in Graceland

Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas ('68 Comeback Special)

Elvis Presley - If Every day Could Be Like Christmas

Saturday, December 16, 2023

WEEKENDER: Wiggia on British champagne-style wines

                                             English Sparkling Wine: a Renaissance

My enforced restriction in drinking has meant no Christmas best buys this year, but I have managed to sample a lot of English sparkling wines, simply because they agree with me and are ever more available.

No longer can they be called a poor facsimile of champagne: they are a worthy comparison in their own right.

Climate change has over time made the champagne region begin to worry about the long term future for grape growing. This of course like all weather predictions could turn out to be a blind alley[ only time will tell. More worrying for the champagne houses is he cost of land: in recent years it has become astronomical as any land for vine production has to be within the designated area to be allowed to use the term champagne and there simply isn’t any left.

So small growers are selling up to the big houses and getting out of the business altogether, receiving offers they can’t refuse, leaving an ever smaller number of big growers and owners to dominate the business.

Even among the big boys expansion is limited so other areas are being considered and the South Downs in particular is a target for these outfits. No they can’t call it champagne but if the product is good enough it will sell regardless and what is now being produced in England more than holds its own on the world stage re sparkling wines. A few years ago we would have laughed at such a thought but here we are with some world class bottles.

Price was a big stumbling block for English wine and still is for still wines but the premium paid for sparklers puts them in a different category. No they can never compete with the cheaper Cava and Prosecco and other sparklers from the New World, but by concentrating on the premium end of the market the tax differences are to a great extent evened out and we certainly do compete.

Where we really excel is in vintage sparklers and we have a lot of them. In France the vintage bottles can reach eye watering levels of cash necessary to purchase them which is why most champagne is Non Vintage NV.

We do have NV sparkling here but the vintage section is where it gets interesting. Whilst being a vintage sparkler does not guarantee quality it does guarantee a more interesting product as each vintage has its own nuances. NV wines are blended from different vintages to get a more uniform standard in the bottle i.e. you know after buying brand x that any year is going to be in the same mould as previous wines; many people prefer that approach ‘a reliable taste and product that they can recognise’.

Although grapes used here do not have to conform with the champagne rules, that is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, Blanc de Blanc champagne is Chardonnay only, surprisingly there are eight grapes allowed in champagne the others are Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier, Arbane in very small quantities, and Voltis.

Outside of France many other grape varieties are used to make sparkling wine. Prosecco is made using the grape of the same name and Cava using Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo plus the champagne grapes are being added to the mix.

But back to the UK: the best of the country's sparklers are from the mainly chalk South Downs. Such has been the success that the French are buying land there partly to offset climate change and more likely to pick up relatively cheap acreage compared with home that can grow the grapes as well as champagne. Tattinger and Pommery plus Henkell Freixinet the German Spanish giant are the big players and Tattinger have released their first vintages here.

The best of the UK's vineyards are well spread across the south. Those with a big coverage and seen in supermarkets are the likes of Chapel Down, usually the cheapest but no drop in quality for the price, Ridgeview, and Nyetimber are the most prolific and none are to be sneezed at. Gusborne owned mainly by Lord Ashcroft do a range of sparklers including probably the best of them all a Blanc de Blanc a pricy £65 yet it is as good as any French equivalent; they even do a limited edition at £195 a bottle called Fifty One Degrees North, a lot of money for any champagne styled wine, yet their cheaper cuvees are a good to excellent buy and a special edition for Waitrose I can vouch for, but you won't go wrong with any of their offerings.

Many of the smaller vineyards do great work and turn out excellent wines. A short list of those I have sampled and liked includes Hambledon, Wiston who also do a splendid rose, Hush Heath another who do a splendid rose, Hattingley Valley, Camel Valley, plus many more all good and Waitrose have by far the largest range.

My own favorite is the one in the header above made from the Seval Blanc grape, a vintage wine that improves with age and is so smooth; their Chardonnay version is not to be sniffed at either.

So at Christmas give our own winemakers a go, you will be happily surprised.

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (16) - USA

From across the water a few old timers singing their Christmas songs:

The Christmas Song-
Nat King Cole with a cozy log cabin & fireplace to keep you warm

Ella Fitzgerald 
Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Bob Zuga 
What will santa claus say when he finds everybody swingin

Johnny Cash

... and as the Met Office predicts snow in the UK, here's
Bing Crosby
'White Christmas'

Friday, December 15, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (15) - Hispanic style

Continuing the Christmas musical journey -

Mercedes Sosa Los Pastores

'Los Reyes Magos'', Ariel Ramirez, Choir of Experimental High Sch

Llegó la Navidad - Ozuna - [BAILA EN CASA]

Marcela Gandára - Alabanzas al Rey con Letra

Thursday, December 14, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (14) - More McKennitt

More from Loreena McKennitt because she wrote and recorded a lot of 'winter' songs.

Loreena McKennitt - In The Bleak Midwinter

The draft horses of Cedar Knoll Farm take you through the snow-covered New England country side to Loreena McKennitt's beautiful song, "Snow". Lyrics by Archibald Lampman.

Loreena McKennitt - Emmanuel

Dickens Dublin

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (13): Loreena McKennitt

Honorary Colonel Loreena Isabel Irene McKennitt, CM OM CD LL.D. D.Litt is a Canadian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer who writes, records, and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern influences. McKennitt is known for her refined and clear soprano vocals.
Loreena McKennitt’s ‘eclectic Celtic’ music has won critical acclaim worldwide and gold, platinum and multi-platinum sales awards in 15 countries across four continents.

Loreena McKennitt - In Praise Of Christmas
Loreena McKennitt in a haunting piece from the album "To Drive The Cold Winter Away", accompanied by chosen nature pictures.
The album was recorded in The Church Of Our Lady in Guelph, Ontario, and, in Ireland, a Benedictine monastery and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

Loreena McKennitt - Huron Carol (Jesous Ahatonhia)

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Coventry Carol

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (12)

 Some 'froggie'* music this time.


Musique de joyeux noël de nos amis d'outre-manche -

"Une très belle chanson de Noël de Jean Naty-Boyer où Noël rime avec paix.

Mon beau sapin / Christmas tree ( in French )

Chorale Gospel - Il est né le divin enfant (Chants De Noèl)

Vive le vent - Tino Rossi

Jacqueline François - Noël Blanc (1949)

^ Aka Johnny Crapaud (Ed.)

Monday, December 11, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (11)

 Start the week with.......

Three songs from Zona vom Herberstein.

I have no idea who she is and her videos have very few 'views' but according to this note on the YouTube page the songs are recorded in her 'home studio' using a laptop, a microphone, a guitar and her voice and very good they are too!

"Die Lieder nehme ich in meinem "Heimstudio" auf. D.h. ein Laptop, ein Mikro, eine Gitarre und eine Stimme"

Zona vom Herberstein - We Three Kings Of Orient Are

Zona vom Herberstein - The Gloucestershire Wassail A Cappella

Zona vom Herberstein - The Seven Rejoices Of Mary

Sunday, December 10, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (10)

Another miscellany, this time from Europe:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon

Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo - O Holy Night / Cantique De

Académie de musique de Paris - Berlioz - L'Adieu des bergers à la Sainte-Famille

Juan Diego Flórez - "Cantique De Noel" from Santo (official video)

Saturday, December 09, 2023

WEEKENDER: The Golden Age of Dance, by Wiggia

It is not the first time that a compilation of top dancers on the screen has been put together, in fact it has been done many times. One of the reasons is nostalgia, for an age when entertainment was almost solely reliant on the big screen or the theatre.

The dancers who became household names and huge stars were often multi-talented and had learned   their craft as part of the necessities  required to earn a living on the stage. Many who became famous went on to become stars of the big screen as actors and their dancing days have faded from memory.

My wife was a very good dancer even  at competition level, and it was the reason she first came to my notice at a dance hall; me, not so much but one day whilst at an upstairs bar I espied a crowd in front of the bandstand and in the middle of all those watching was a couple practising dance moves; a distinctive style stood out; we met a week later and the rest is history.

It was while talking about those great dancing stars of mainly yesteryear that she remarked on all the others that are so often forgotten today. The greats such as Astaire are are a go-to for the pinnacle of dancing in that age but others have been largely forgotten for their dancing prowess.

So for a Christmas treat we have the known and the not so known in examples of this Golden Age and a couple from later musicals.

No compilation of screen dancers could leave out Astaire and there are many examples of him with all the leading ladies of the time. This is not shown quite as much - the famous solo ceiling dance.

You could fill pages of dance numbers with Astaire classics but this is an attempt, however feeble to show something a little different.

Gene Kelly was to many the best of the male dancers, very balletic when the occasion demanded and as versatile as any of them. This was one of his best screen efforts, from the 1955 film It’s Always Fair Weather:

The first of the dancers who are not so well remembered for their dancing, outside of aficionados, is Russ Tamblyn. He had exceptional acrobatic skills which he used to great effect in his dancing as here in the never to be forgotten, for us of a certain age, film Tom Thumb.

And while we are in that area of almost forgotten dancers or little known for their dancing skills, this is a delight: Ricardo Montalban dancing with the beautiful Cyd Charisse - he even did a few moves on Fantasy Island!

Cyd Charisse had the looks, the legs as well as the skill which sets her apart from her contemporaries. All can be seen in this solo dance from Silk Stockings (1957) - you have to go to 5.00 for the dance sequence, but it is worth it.

Many believed Eleanor Powell was the best female tap dancer of all. This clip is a showcase for all her talents and it was said she was the only female dancer with tap that Fred Astaire did not outshine. Whatever the truth of that she was superb and this dance proves it, from the film ‘Ship Ahoy’ with Buddy Rich on drums as a bonus:

Rita Hayworth made quite a few dance based films, sadly most have been buggered about, edited, had inappropriate music added or all of these. Just a clip with Astaire shows her talent. She came from a dancing background: both her parents were dancers and she was taught to dance from a very early age, at 12 she was part of the family act, the Dancing Cansinos, so was no slouch in the dancing department.

James Cagney was a terrific dancer. His Yankee Doodle Dandy routine is the stuff of legends, but something a little different here and the chance to show a surprising Bob Hope strutting his stuff:

This little piece of Cagney descending the stairs in the film Out of the Blue from 1937 is as good an example of old twinkle-toes as any:

Donald O’Connor was another who failed to get the recognition he undoubtedly deserved. This scene includes Lew Parker and the bartender was actually O’Connor's tap teacher:

George Raft will always be associated with his gangster roles, yet is another who in his early career had dancing at the forefront of his talents. Taught to dance by his mother, his early dancing was at carnivals and amusement parks with his parents but he won a Charleston competition and became a professional dancer. His dancing fame came about with his promotion of the tango in the States and abroad. His life could never be described as dull.

A live duet with Anne Miller and Ray Bolger - a long way from the scarecrow role in the Wizard of Oz. His elastic leg routine is worth seeking out but here in later life he shows he can still make it:

And finally a modern classic. I was fortunate to see the original version on stage in London, it was and is fabulous. This is from the movie which I haven’t seen but is a tribute to all the boys and girls without whom no musical would be possible. The work they put in is astounding to get the end product, so a thank you to all those unsung dancers of the Chorus Line:

No wine piece this year: a year ago I nearly died and it has taken all this time to get back to somewhere approaching normal. One of the items I have had to ‘refine’ is my wine drinking: although I was told I should in moderation be back to imbibing as before in reality it has not worked out like that. I had a negative reaction to red wine the first time I attempted to drink it and subsequent efforts proved to be not worth the risk, so only white wine has filled my glass and in much smaller quantities. So no, with no sampling a Christmas wine piece was out of the question, we shall see if things right themselves in coming months. 

A Merry Christmas to all!

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (09)

A miscellany of 'pop' favourites:

Paul Mcartney - Wonderful Christmas Time

Greg Lake - I Believe in Father Christmas


Chris Rea - Driving home for christmas

Fairytale of New York:

Friday, December 08, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (08) - Rod Stewart!

For Friday here is Rod Stewart croaking his way through a few Christmas songs. I know he can't sing but even so I enjoyed his Christmas concert from Stirling Castle about 10 or 12 years ago.

Rod Stewart And Cee Lo Green - Merry Christmas, Baby

Rod Stewart - Blue Christmas (Live)

Rod Stewart And Ella Fitzgerald - What Are You Doing New Year's

Rod Stewart - Red-Suited Super Man

Thursday, December 07, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (07)

Colorado-based Celtic duo Beth Gadbaw and Margot Krimmel have performed together throughout the U.S., the U.K, and Ireland. Recently featured on Colorado Public Radio, their newest release Icy December was described by The Folk Harp Journal as “a wonderful compilation…that will make you feel nostalgic and warm” and by British folk magazine What’s Afoot as “an absolute joy to listen to.” All-Ireland harp champion Sylvia Woods said, “This is my favorite harp and vocal CD.”

Beth Gadbaw & Margot Krimmel perform their own unique arrangements of Celtic & American folk music, as well as their own compositions. Angelic vocals, sparkling harp, rhythmic bodhrán, and surprisingly intricate vocal harmonies define their unforgettable sound, delivered with masterful musicianship and genuine joy.

O Come Emmanuel

Gloucestershire Wassail

I Saw Three Ships

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (06)

Moya Brennan- In Dulci Jubilo

What Is This Fragrance? - Celtic Christmas

"Keith and Kristyn Getty have been called the "preeminent" modern hymn writers in the world today by Christianity Today, with a venerable catalog of songs sung around the world including the renowned hymn, "In Christ Alone." 

Born in Northern Ireland and based in Nashville, they are multi award-winning artists (including a Grammy nomination for Confessio: Irish American Roots) with Keith being the first musician of the modern era to be awarded the OBE from Queen Elizabeth II for service to music and hymn writing. 

With a desire to help teach the Christian faith, their music intertwines deep theology with a unique musical genre, drawing from both inside and outside the classical church form, to reinvent the hymn. According to CCLI, they have written or published 38 of the top 500 songs sung in USA & UK churches, and Integrity Music estimates that more than 100 million people in the world sing their music each year. Learn more at"

Keith & Kristyn Getty - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Sing We Now of Christmas (LIVE) — Keith & Kristyn Getty

Sleigh Ride Medley (Live) - Keith and Kristyn Getty

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (05)

Three more Christmas delights starting with a bit of wassailing!

Wassail, Wassail, All over the Town

Yorkshire Wassail, performed by Elektra Women's Choir

THAT CHOIR: The Holly and the Ivy arranged by Ola Gjeilo

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night (Lyngham) (StF 221)

The Christmas Tree:
This is sung in many of the pubs around Sheffield - with everyone joining in the chorus with gusto; "Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!" I think everyone gets high from the hyper ventilation needed to sing it. Here it's being sung in the wonderful Royal Hotel in Dungworth, a small village out on the moors near Sheffield.

Monday, December 04, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (04)

Featuring some very old traditional Christmas music:

Anúna - Mariam Matrem Virginem

"Long before Christianity took hold in Scotland and Ireland, the ancient Celts celebrated the Winter Solstice and the coming of light and hope. The echoes of Paganism still resounded in the 13th and 14th centuries, when faithful Scots sang the Vespers of St. Kentigern, Patron Saint of Glasgow. This celebration of Celtic artistic traditions, created by Jeannette Sorrell and Sylvain Bergeron, interweaves selections from the medieval Vespers of St. Kentigern with ancient pagan carols and popular tunes from 17th-century Welsh and Scottish manuscripts for lute and harp."

Apollo's Fire - Noël nouvelet from Sacrum Mysterium: A Celtic Christmas Vespers, Pt. 5/9
Noël nouvelet / 15th century French/Breton carol, Oxford English text

Coventry Carol - Clamavi De Profundis

Huron Carol:
A Canadian Christmas hymn based on a French folk song with original lyrics written by St John de Brebeuf, SJ, sung by the Canadian Tenors. Also called Twas in the Moon of Wintertime.

Sunday, December 03, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (03)

 Here is part the third featuring Cajun/Zydeco at Christmas.

I usually read the notes beneath the YouTube videos and they are often very interesting - an albino alligator called Nicolette pulling Papa Noel's boat? Well why not, it's no more fanciful than than a reindeer with a bright red nose!!

"The Christmas season is doubly blessed in Acadiana. The Cajun population of south Louisiana is predominantly Catholic and the birth of Christ is a sacred reason for them to celebrate. Also, Cajuns as a rule simply love to socialize, so their Christmas holidays often abound with visits, parties, parades, food, spirited drinks, gifts, decorated homes, and community festival of light celebrations.

Around the world Santa Claus has many names; but in the deep, swampy bayous of Louisiana, he's known as Papa Noël. In such a hot and humid place, there can be no sleds or reindeer, so Papa Noël rides the water ways in a boat that's pulled by eight alligators, with a snowy white one named Nicollette in the lead."

Cajun Christmas - ¨Joyeuses Fêtes¨

Louisiana Christmas Day sung by Aaron Neville


Michael McDonald: Christmas on the Bayou

La Valse Cadienne de Noël

Saturday, December 02, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (02)

Ho! Ho!! Ho!!!
Bob Dylan - It Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan Reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'

First snow 's falling - "Well it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And for the next couple of hours, it’s going to sound like Christmas too. This is the special yuletide extravaganza edition of TTRH, chock full of Christmas themes, holiday dreams, and jingle bell schemes..."

"It’s night time in the Big City
A department store Santa sneaks a sip of gin
Mistletoe makes an old man sad
Eight reindeer land on the roof of the Abernathy building"

It’s Time for "Christmas & New Year's" Theme Time Radio Hour (episode 34) hosted by Bob Dylan, first aired 20 November 2006.

Theme Time Radio Hour was originally broadcast every Wednesday at 10:00 am ET on the Deep Tracks channel of XM Satellite Radio, a subscription-based satellite radio service.
(In the UK the seriess was broadcast on BBC's Radio2)

This special edition is two hours long - but the musical selection is eclectic as you might expect from Mr Zimmerman!

Friday, December 01, 2023

JD's 2023 Advent Calendar (01)

A calendar of posts by JD, starting with the theme of war (and temporary peace) at Christmas:

By late December 1914, there was no end in sight to the Great War. Morale plummeted, as the soldiers realised that they would spend winter in the miserable trenches.

Winston Churchill wrote to his wife in mid-December: “What would happen I wonder, if the armies suddenly and simultaneously went on strike and said some other method must be found for settling their dispute?” He would soon find out.

SABATON - Christmas Truce (Official Music Video)

“For a single day, the opposing forces mingled in friendly conversation and even in games. It was an amazing spectacle, and must arouse bitter thoughts concerning those high-ranking conspirators against the peace of the world, who in their mad ambition had hounded such men on to take each other by the throat rather than by the hand.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, 1916.

HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER). (Ultimate Mix, 2020) 
John & Yoko Plastic Ono Band + Harlem Community Choir

Friday, November 24, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Karunesh, by JD

 Karunesh (Hindi: करुणेश, "Compassion"; born Bruno Reuter in 1956- is a German-born New Age and ambient musician. His music has strong Indian influences prevalent throughout, with liberal use of Indian instruments, such as the sitar.

Karunesh was born in Cologne, Germany .Although he had been drawn to music as a child and played in bands as a teenager, he chose to study graphic design as a career. However, after obtaining his degree, Karunesh was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. His brush with death prompted him to choose music as a career instead of graphic design. He rethought his life and embarked on a spiritual journey of sorts, traveling in 1979 to India, where he met Osho in his ashram in Pune. He became initiated and took on a new spiritual name, Karunesh, a Sanskrit name meaning "Compassion."

Back in Germany, Karunesh lived in the Rajneesh commune of Hamburg for five years. Here he could develop his musical creativity in a spiritual surrounding. He came in contact with many musicians from all over the world and developed an ability to weave different styles and feelings from different cultures together in a living symbiosis, creating a music that is both spiritual and danceable.

In 1984, Karunesh released his first album, entitled Sounds of the Heart, Sounds of the Heart was followed by Colors Of Light in 1987 and Sky's Beyond in 1989. As of 2012 Karunesh has released 23 albums.

Karunesh has lived on Maui, in the U.S. state of Hawaii, since 1992

Karunesh - For The Joy Of It All

Karunesh - Punjab (Unofficial Video)

Karunesh.Returning to now

Friday, November 17, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: The MonaLisa Twins, by JD

I had heard the name but had no idea what their 'genre' was; punk rock or folk singers or something in between. Then I saw they had done a cover version of the 'new' Beatles record and I thought that was quick, no more than a week or so after the release of the original. Why the rush? I then found out they are dedicated Beatles fans and have recorded many of their records in the past and have even played at The Cavern Club. And their harmonies and guitar playing make them the best Beatles Tribute Band you will ever see and hear!

"The MonaLisa Twins, with real-life twins Mona and Lisa Wagner fronting the band, are one of the very few modern groups who continue the tradition of song-writing that took off in 1963. They bring back what has been started 60 years ago and write modern songs in the 60s Beat music tradition, reviving the genre with a fresh twist without sounding pop-ish or trivial. Their signature features are their tight twin harmonies, unaltered natural voices, relatable lyrics, twangy guitar sounds and inventive arrangements."

Now And Then - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

When I'm Sixty-Four - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

Here Comes The Sun - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover) // MLT Club Duo Session

Yesterday - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

Nowhere Man - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

She Loves You (The Beatles Cover) - MonaLisa Twins (Live at the Cavern Club)

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

SPAIN: Letting the Catalan out of the Bag, by JD

You may recall that in 1968 John Lennon described governments of the world as being insane, doing insane things for insane reasons. At some point in the Seventies George Harrison said the world is run by mad people.

Now I get the feeling that madness or insanity is official policy everywhere. And Spain has not escaped the insanity, disguised as political opportunism.

Spain's PM, Pedro Sanchez, has introduced an amnesty law for Catalan nationalists in exchange for their support in propping up his minority government. Needless to say there have been widespread protests, thousands have taken to the streets waving Spanish flags. I saw one video in which the crowds were chanting "Periodistas, terroristas!" as their press is as bad as ours if not worse.

Here is a video of Tucker Carlson in Spain on Monday. He said the news is not being reported in the US (or here in the UK) and he wanted to highlight it on his TwitterX platform.

I have previously written about the madness of the Catalan politicians, especially here:

Why do people go into politics? Is it because of arrested development and they remain forever 12 year olds in a school playground?

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

British Values, by Sackerson

We should be suspicious of anything that tries to wrap itself in the Union Flag. Do you remember the episode of Yes, Minister in which the government blackmailed Eurocrats into renaming our ‘Emulsified High-Fat Offal Tube’ as the ‘British Sausage’?

Similarly in 2014 the coalition government sought to define ‘British Values’. These were designed to reunify the country after New Labour’s initiatives of mass immigration and regionalisation, both of which pose threats to our collective identity. However there has been no serious attempt to reverse either.

The values listed were democracy, rule of law, respect and tolerance, and individual liberty, to be enforced by a curriculum rollout in schools. This wishful mishmash works about as well as France’s 1793 ‘Cult of Reason’ promoted in her recently desecrated churches. Abstract principles do not hold a nation together, especially when they are ill-defined and its rulers obviously do not believe in them.

Let’s start with democracy. We are not like ancient Athens, where male citizens decided policy directly. We elect representatives by a system so flawed that in 2011 we had a referendum about the Alternative Vote. The two main political parties colluded in a campaign against it since the status quo suited them better; they got what they wanted.

Underpinning democratic debate is the acceptance by all sides to be bound by the outcome. In 2016 the Brexit vote exploded that convention, all the more cataclysmically because in formally undertaking to implement the result the political parties had escalated the referendum’s status to that of a plebiscite. A furious Establishment, from the Palace of Westminster down to its media heralds and jesters, has combined to subvert it ever since.

In any case, democracy in the sense of universal adult suffrage is less than a century old. The extension in the UK of the vote to all males in 1918 must have been at least partly influenced by the fear of revolution after a war that killed 880,000 servicemen and an estimated 600,000 civilians, and with the example of Russia for our ruling class to consider.

Since the State won’t listen and increasingly won’t even let us talk to each other on social media, it is hardly surprising that people are ignoring it in turn. Greta Thunberg has explained that she is not an expert but an ‘activist’, and there are so many like her in different fields; all you need is a bad idea and lots of passion. This exposes another weakness in democracy: the power of the demagogue (Demosthenes nearly persuaded Athens to its destruction by the Macedonians) and modern propaganda – let the people vote how they will, provided you can influence how they think.

Even clever and well-informed people can be blinded by ideological commitment, so that the awful collateral damage caused by the IDF’s counter-attacks on Hamas is being mistermed ‘genocide’ – ironic since ‘genocide’ was the unequivocally stated plan of Hamas’s 1988 Covenant, not just for Israel but every last Jew; their 2017 version is more media-savvy but their underlying intent is unchanged, as the events of October 7 have shown.

Civilised restraint in Britain is breaking down. When the free exchange of ideas is persecuted even in universities, diversity turns from a claimed strength to a clear challenge, particularly when some ideologues – from world-savers to soul-savers – are absolutist and believe they have a higher authority than the secular State to sanction property destruction and violence against persons. So much for ‘respect and tolerance’.

If British anthropologist Robin Dunbar is right, the natural limit on a community’s size is 150; to keep Britain’s 67million or more together needs constant maintenance by means of myths, history and symbols. It took centuries and much blood to make an alloy of the disparate communities of the United Kingdom. Yet already there are fracture lines in the nation – New Labour’s devolutions have lit the fires of petty nationalism again, and now we have a significant number of inhabitants with alternative, strongly held beliefs and supranational allegiances. How do we prevent disintegration?

Compared with much of the rest of the world, postwar Britain has been like a sunlit clearing in a dark forest inhabited by monsters. Surely Douglas Murray is right in saying that we are in a fight for survival and that if the State persists in neglecting the people’s security, we shall end up with a genuinely nasty administration or the anarchy of self-appointed vigilantism. This is why we require a secular and impartial rule of law that firmly tackles public disorder, intimidation and incitement, the destruction of property and the defilement of spaces and monuments sacred to various communities. Every country should have such a rule and we ourselves are failing to maintain it.

Our greatest ‘British Value’, personal freedom, is not so much a value as a habit. If our history were to be taught in school as illustrating a theme, the leitmotif would be resistance to overweening arbitrary power. Little of Magna Carta remains in force yet it set a precedent: the King’s will was not the whole of the law. It was a lesson forgotten when the Stuart monarchy tried to enforce Anglicanism on Catholics, Scots Presbyterians and Dissenters. It was forgotten again when Cromwell imposed Puritanism on the people – we really don’t need another lot of tyrannical black-clad fanatics, though we seem set to have them – and once more in 2020, when the British equivalent of the Committee of Public Safety confined us to our homes. How easily did our freedom evaporate three years ago!

It is time – it is long past time – for the State to exercise muscular liberalism, that balance of official self-limitation with restraint on popular inciters and oppressors, that inch of freedom between ‘must’ and ‘mustn’t.’

Peace depends in part on not resolving certain issues and on restraining those who are keen to join battle about them. Often it is not convictions that need enforcement, but the lack of them. Fervently held political and religious beliefs would turn Paradise into a wasteland; our answer to zealots must be ‘you may be right, but can we decide that later and get along together for now?’

J S Mill said that freedom of speech was possible only in societies that had attained a certain level of development. If we lose the capacity to consider alternatives and peacefully suspend judgment or ‘agree to disagree’, we must resign ourselves to sliding back to an authoritarian and censorious State; one that will make serious errors because those who could warn it are muzzled; one that may already have done so in the fields of climate change and public health.

Dissenters and protesters, yes; rioters and rabble-rousers, no. Let us see if our beleaguered police and security apparatus can strike the vital balance this Remembrance weekend.

Previously published at The Conservative Woman Defending Freedom

Friday, November 10, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Leonid and Friends, Part 2 - by JD

Leonid and Friends is a Chicago tribute band based in Moscow. They began as a YouTube band, and now occasionally go on tours as well. Leonid Vorobyev (b. 1957 in Moscow, Russia), is the founder and leader of the band. Vorobyev is a multi-instrumentalist, a recording studio sound engineer and choir conductor by training, at the East Siberian Institute of Culture.
Leave Me Now – Leonid & Friends (Black Russian cover)

(I've Been) Searchin' So Long - Leonid & Friends (Chicago cover)

Leonid & Friends "25 or 6 to 4" Live in Norwalk, CT - June 14, 2023

After the Love Has Gone – Leonid & Friends (EW&F cover)

Street Player (Chicago cover) - Leonid & Friends feat. Arturo Sandoval

Monday, November 06, 2023

1914: an alternative history

 What if Britain had not declared war on Germany in 1914? Think of the grief and destruction we might have avoided; the constant and worsening financial problems we have faced ever since. Maybe there would have been no humiliated and ruined Germany, no vengeful Hitler, no Holocaust, no mass migration of surviving Jewry to the Middle East; no collapse of the Ottoman Empire, no Russian revolution and its terrible daughter revolutions in the Far East.

What problems we face now, with our support for conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Gaza/Israel... 

I asked ChatGPT to speculate and here is its answer:


Give an alternative history of the British Empire and Western Europe if Britain had not declared war on Germany in 1914.

An alternative history of the British Empire and Western Europe if Britain had not declared war on Germany in 1914 would have had profound and far-reaching consequences. The outbreak of World War I was a pivotal moment in world history, and any deviation from the actual course of events would have led to a significantly different timeline. Here's a speculative scenario of what might have happened:

  1. Delayed or Avoided World War I: If Britain had chosen not to declare war on Germany in 1914, it's possible that the conflict might not have escalated to a world war. The major powers, including Britain, might have sought diplomatic solutions to the tensions that had been building for years.
  2. Altered Alliances: Without Britain's entry into the war, the alliances between the major powers would have been significantly different. The Triple Entente (France, Russia, and Britain) would likely have remained intact, but it might not have directly opposed the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire). This could have resulted in a more multipolar world order.
  3. Economic Prosperity: The avoidance of a world war would have allowed Western Europe to continue its economic growth and development. The devastation and financial burden of World War I were enormous, and without it, European economies might have experienced a more prolonged period of stability and growth.
  4. Avoidance of the Russian Revolution: The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a direct result of the pressures and hardships of World War I. Without Britain's entry into the conflict, the Russian Empire might have avoided the turmoil that led to the rise of the Bolsheviks and the collapse of the monarchy. This could have prevented the formation of the Soviet Union.
  5. Decolonization: The post-war period saw the decline of European empires, with decolonization movements gaining momentum. In an alternate history without World War I, the process of decolonization might have been delayed or played out differently. The British Empire might have retained its colonies for a more extended period.
  6. Changed Balance of Power: The absence of World War I would have prevented the weakening of major European powers, such as France and Germany. The balance of power in Europe might have been more stable, possibly leading to different outcomes in the interwar period and beyond.
  7. Altered National Identities: The effects of World War I, including the redrawing of national borders and the collapse of empires, had a profound impact on national identities in Europe. In an alternative history, these identities might have evolved differently, leading to different political dynamics and alliances.
  8. Different World War II: The absence of World War I would likely have had a cascading effect on the events leading up to World War II. The geopolitical landscape and alliances would have been different, potentially leading to a distinct Second World War or preventing it altogether.

It's important to note that this alternative history is highly speculative, and numerous factors and contingencies would come into play. The decision-making of various world leaders, diplomatic efforts, and unforeseen events would have shaped the course of history in unpredictable ways. Nonetheless, it's clear that the avoidance of World War I would have had a profound impact on the 20th century and beyond.

Friday, November 03, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Leonid and Friends, by JD

Recommendations sometimes come from unexpected sources. This came from Martin Armstrong believe it or not. On his blog he posted a video of Leonid and friends.They are a Russian 'covers' band playing the music of Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago. They are very very good and sometimes better than the originals but this will be a two part post because the singer deserves a post to herself and the full band will be next week.

The singer is called Ksenia Buzina, no I can't pronounce it! She was born in Siberia and speaks and sings in seven languages as well as having degrees in law and economics. She sounds too good to be true but she really is a great singer as well as being very good looking.So here is part one


Leonid and friends, part 1 featuring singer Ksenia Buzina

Born in the Transbaikal region of Siberia, in the city of Chita, Ksenia Buzina is credited as being the first Russian singer understood by over a billion people on earth. That’s because Ksenia sings and speaks Chinese fluently and has her own Chinese album and music videos.

Ksenia didn’t stop there. Besides Russian and Chinese she can also speak English and can sing in English, Chinese, Italian, Armenian, Kazakh, Bulgarian and French. She joined Leonid & Friends in September 2016 with the debut of the song Wishing You Were Here and has become an integral part of the band’s vocal landscape both in the studio and live performances.

Ksenia Buzina - Hear My Voice (Vocal & Piano)

Ksenia Buzina - Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones cover)

Ksenona - Tian Lu (Небесный путь) 天路

Leonid and Friends,: KSENIA BUZINA. 5/17/2022.

The Speck of Dust - Leonid & Friends

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Great Umm Kulthum

I first heard a recording of this legendary Egyptian singer in the mid-Seventies when a housemate, an escapee from Yemen, played it with friends. The live performance was as thrilling because of the audience reaction as for the impassioned delivery of her song.

Apparently her performances could last up to five hours, but here is a sample from her Enta Omri (You Are My Life) given at Paris' Olympia Théâtre in 1967:

Sunday, October 29, 2023

If ever you're tempted to write...

 A moment I can't forget is Peter Richardson as Al Pacino in The Comic Strip Presents' episode 'The Strike.' The writer has scripted a lengthy impassioned speech and the Hollywood superstar dismisses it with:

'I can say all that by the way I stand.'

At what point did movies run away from words? Maybe when Hollywood's Golden Age European émigré / refugee writers left the scene.

Anyhow, a classic, and thank goodness it's on Youtube:

Friday, October 27, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Ray Ellington, by JD

Henry Pitts Brown (17 March 1916 – 27 February 1985), known professionally as Ray Ellington, was an English singer, drummer and bandleader. He is best known for his appearances on The Goon Show from 1951 to 1960. The Ray Ellington Quartet had a regular musical segment on the show, and Ellington also had a small speaking role in many episodes, often as a parodic African, Native American or Arab chieftain (but also often, with no attempt to change his normal accent, in counter-intuitive roles such as a female secretary or a Scotsman).
Ray Ellington - The Irish Were Egyptians Long Ago

Ray Ellington - The Three Bears

Ray Ellington:Goonshow 1955

78 RPM – The Ray Ellington Quartet – The Teddy Bears’

The Ray Ellington Quartet Plays Mr. Sandman

Monday, October 23, 2023

Proxy War Poll

 Which proxy warfighter do you support?

1) Kiev regime

2) Hamas

3) Both

4) Neither

Friday, October 20, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Dr John; Voodoo NiteTripper! by JD

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019), better known by his stage name Dr. John, was an American singer and songwriter. His music combined New Orleans blues, jazz, funk, and R&B.

As a young man, Rebennack was interested in New Orleans voodoo, and in Los Angeles he developed the idea of the Dr. John persona based on the life of Dr. John, a Senegalese prince, conjure man, herb doctor, and spiritual healer who came to New Orleans from Haiti. This free man of color lived on Bayou Road and claimed to have 15 wives and oven 50 children. He kept an assortment of snakes and lizards, along with embalmed scorpions and animal and human skulls, and sold gris-gris, voodoo amulets which supposedly protect the wearer from harm. Gris-Gris became the name of Dr. John's debut album, released in January 1968, representing his own form of "voodoo medicine".

Not sure how seriously he took voodoo but it became part of his stage persona along with some spectacularly colourful clothes and show.
Dr. John & Eric Clapton - Right Place, Wrong Time 1996

Dr. John - Such a Night

Dr. John - Swanee River Boogie (new upload)

Dr. John - Didn't He Ramble ; Closer Walk With Thee

Dr. John - Goin' Back To New Orleans (Video)

Dr John "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" Live in Brooklyn