Written by Graham Kendrick
I was asked to provide some songs for a school play about a land ruled in a strict and orderly fashion by The Directors, who introduce themselves to the audience thus:
The turning point of the play comes when a little girl wonders if things have to be so joyless and efficient… and things change for good.
William Morris wrote the chorus, the words of which run: Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell sing we clear! Holpen are all folk on earth, born is God’s Son so dear! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell! Nowell sing we loud! God today hath poor folk raised and is casting down the proud. Holpen is an old form of the word help(ed). The music is traditional French and I wrote the verses in 1986 for a service or event I have now forgotten. In fact I had forgotten the song too. The recording came up on my computer unbidden this morning when I was clearing some files!
‘Go to the park,’ said my wife, ‘someone’s leaving Christmas angels on the benches for people to find!’ So down I went and sure enough I saw one and took a photo. I walked about looking for more but they’d all been taken. Then I saw someone coming my way with a couple of large bags.‘Are you the angel lady?’ She laughed and said ‘Yes, would you like one?’ So I took an angel home. Angel means messenger and the message is on the label.
The perceptive song was written by Ray Noble in 1932, and after finding the angel with the message I thought of it in a quite different light.
If you go to http://www.christmasangel.net#xmasangels you’ll find, among other information, how to knit an angel. Perhaps even be one.
From the album Fools’ Pleasure. The menus at the top of the page list all the CD albums of songs I’ve gathered over more than 50 years. Click on a title to go to the recording.
A new recording of a favourite song on the album Fools’ Pleasure.