10, 9, 8…

Well, 2016 was quite a year, and not entirely in a good way. At least it was good for Castro The Band! But we lost far too many special creative people, and rediscovered some deep and unattractive rifts in the world’s social fabric.

Still, it’s over. For 2017, whatever happens in the world…

newyears17

 
“Auld Lang Syne,” performed by the BBC Symphony, Chorus, and Singers (and I think the audience, too):


Video posted by Kromgols kanal

Yep, still Chanukah!

Have a very traditional song: “Al Hanisim”; words from an extra paragraph inserted into the daily prayers on Chanukah (and Purim), melody by Dov Frimer, sung by Shira Kline:


Video by ShiraKline

Or if you are not feeling quite so traditional, here’s “Light Up the Night” by the Ein Prat Fountainheads (which actually quotes words from “Al Hanisim”):


Video by einpratfountainheads

Continue reading “Yep, still Chanukah!”

Just give it a couple of days…

“It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve” by Barry Manilow and Marty Panzer, sung by Barry Manilow:


Video posted by egaygigi

Yeah, yeah, I know, Barry Manilow, yadayada. But did you listen to the song? Because it’s really good. Try listening to the same song sung by Lea Salonga:


Video posted by LeaSalonga–Topic (Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment)

Beautiful, right? Very much like something you’d expect to find in a Broadway show or in an album of pop standards. People say that all Manilow’s songs sound the same, but my theory is that he sings in a very stylized way even though it sounds simply conversational, and it’s a strong enough style that the songs he sings sound more alike than different. (Not that he doesn’t have a definite music writing style, but the songs on his albums that he DIDN’T write sound as much like Barry Manilow as the ones he did. That’s a neat trick.)

Not to mention that right about now, I find it really nice to hear someone sing “We’ll get through this…we’ll be just fine,” don’t you?

Continue reading “Just give it a couple of days…”

It’s still Chanukah!

So here’s another Chanukah song: “Light One Candle,” by Peter Yarrow, sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary:


Video from the PBS Holiday Concert, posted by Loren Newsom

(The top comment on this particular YouTube is by the producer and director of the PBS show, how awesome is that?)

Peter, Paul, and Mary debuted “Light One Candle” during their 1982 Holiday Concert at Carnegie Hall. If you keep count, you will see that the lyrics “light one candle” repeat exactly eight times–and if you watch carefully, you can see that the children light one candle each time that phrase is repeated, making them a human menorah.

Continue reading “It’s still Chanukah!”

I agree with this placement…

From Idol Chatter, “The Top 10 Post-American Idol Songs” (of 2016, that is):

“Automatic” by Castro: The best song on the very fine debut EP from Casto, which includes Jason (4th on Season 7 of Idol), brother Michael (a contestant on Seasons 8 & 9) and younger sister Jackie. Dang, does she sound great on the opening to this song? Then the very familiar voice of Jason cuts in on verse number two. Here’s hoping the trio continue making music together. I haven’t ranked these songs, but this is my absolute favorite from 2016.

 
To explain–the writer, Mark Franklin, begins by saying he’s not ranking the songs, but… 😉 Anyway, check out the whole article here!

My absolute fave from the EP is Hearts Coming Home, so have them both!


Video by Castro


Video by gailinroch

 

Thanks for the find, Jasonized! (And for the video, too…)

Is it too late to ask? Or too early? Or…

“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” by Frank Loesser, sung by Barbra Streisand:


Video posted by ChristmasCottage’s channel

According to the Songfacts blog, this is the second most popular song for the end of the year, and it is “the kind of ballad that is usually sung in a melancholy tone because the singer instinctively knows the answer (you’re probably busy).” Fits.

So let’s undercut the melancholy with this playful version sung by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:


Video by HelloGiggles/Zooey Deschanel

Maybe it’s that they’re clearly having so much fun, or maybe it’s that it’s a duet, but one way or another, that doesn’t sound sad or wistful to me at all–they sound like the answer they’re expecting is, “Spending it with you, you idiot!”

Deschanel is wrong about one thing, though–the original isn’t by Nancy Wilson, whose recording of the song came out in 1965. The song was written by Frank Loesser (about whom I have already written this year) in 1947 as an independent song,

(Which leads me to believe that Gordon-Levitt has a penchant for Loesser’s music–which is not a complaint, just an observation!)

and it was first recorded by The Orioles a couple of years later.

Continue reading “Is it too late to ask? Or too early? Or…”

Although it’s been said many times, many ways…

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells, sung by Paul McCartney:


Video by Paul McCartney

And sung by Mel Tormé and Judy Garland:


Video posted by theBestArts.com

“The Christmas Song,” was written by Tormé and Wells when then were 19 and 22 respectively. According to Tormé, it was written in about 45 minutes during a heat wave, sparked by an attempt by Wells to cool off by thinking winter thoughts. (This seems to be a not-uncommon trigger for the writing of Christmas songs, does it not?)

Continue reading “Although it’s been said many times, many ways…”

Happy first night of Chanukah!

ch16_icop

In honor of which, I bring you two–yes, two!–Chanukah songs.

The first is “Candlelight,” sung by the Maccabeats:


Video by Uri Westrich

In case you were wondering about the lines in “Candlelight” that run:

We say “ma’oz tzur”
Oh, yeah, for all eight nights,

 
that is my second song, a very traditional Chanukah song.

“Ma’oz Tzur,” sung by students of Israel’s Technion*:


Video by Technion

Continue reading “Happy first night of Chanukah!”