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The Last Month Of The Year

The Kingston Trio

Last Month of The Year Last Month of The Year
33GKingston Trio2

Capitol Records...T-1446 A/B...[1960]...33 1/3 LP...High Fidelity

Side 1
1) Bye, Bye Thou Little Tiny Child (Coventy Carol) - David Guard...2:55
2) The White Snows Of Winter - Bob Shana - Tom Drake...2:34
3) We Wish You A Merry Christmas - Paul Campbell - Joel Newman...2:14
4) All Through The Night - Not Given...TNG
5) Goodnught My Baby - Nick Reynolds...1:53
6) Go Where I Send Thee (The Carol of the Twelve Numbers) - Guard - Reynolds - Shane...2:28

Side 2
1) Follow Now, Oh Shepherds - Gretchen Guard...2:42
2) Somerset Gloucestershire - David Guard - Eric Schwandt...1:47
3) Mary Mild - Stafford - Shane - Drake...2:50
4) A Round About Christmas - Nick Reynolds...1:30
5) Sing We Noel - David Guard...2:00
6) The Last Month Of The Year (What Month Was Jesus Born In) - Vera Hall - Ruby Pickens Tratt - Alan Lomax...2:35

Last Month of The Year Last Month of The Year

ON THE BACK OF THE JACKET

THE LAST MONTH OF THE YEAR - THE KINGSTON TRIO

Here, in one of the most beautiful and unusual collections of Christmas music ever recorded, are songs that capture the sound and spirit of December - the last month of the year when people the world over celebrate, in many different ways, the joys of the holiday season.

None of the songs in this album is deeply religious. Instead, each one carries a message that is universal, reaching beyound the story of Christmas to encompass the traditional spirit of rejoicing and good will shared by people of all faiths during this most wonderful time of year.

Some of these carols trace their ancestry to medieval Europe and England, where they began not as sacred music, but rather as lovely popular songs, usually with a strong devotional flavor. Many, in fact, were well-know folksongs which were adapted as carols, just as several of the melodies included here have been especially adapted for this album by the The Kingston Trio.

Researching and collecting these tunes was indeed a labor of love for Dave Guard, Nick Reynolds and Bob Shane. Each memember of the group made his own, personal contribution, choosing the carols which to him best conveyed the spirit of the season. The result is a collection of songs of rare beauty, reflecting a sincere Yuletide sentiment that is shared alike by the The Kingston Trio - peace and good will the whole year round.

side one:
BYE BYE THOU LITTLE CHILD, or the Coventy Carol, appeared originally in early 1534 as part of the mystery play "The Pageant of the Sheaman and The Tailors". In one scene of the drama, mothers of Bethlehem croon this lullaby to their tiny babies after heaaring the terrible order of King Herod to slay all infrants under the age of two. The tune, in its earliest known verision, predates by 57 years the words that were written for the pageant itself. Found all over Europe, the British Lsles, and Middle Russia, the modal melody, enhanced here by the celeste, remains in a minor key but ends on the major third for an especially beautiful effect.

THE WHITE SNOWS OF WINTER. adapted from Brahm's First Symphony, is a Christmas love song, arranged by Bon (Shane) in collaboration with Tom Drake. The beautiful musical setting is evocative of the lovers plight and its resolution with the arrival of Christmas.

WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS may be performed as a round if desired, as it used to be in Worcestershire, with different verses. The Kingston Trio particularly wanted to use The Weavers' arrangement and version of this tune, since they feel it is the clasic rendition of the song. In effect, they wished strongly to second the motion stated so significantly in the bridge: "Why can't we have Christmas the whole year around?"

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, with its stately harmonies and gentle melodic contours, creates the mood of the holiday season as felicitously as any carol. As the Trio so aptly sums up this tranquil offering, "Christmas should be softly spoken..."

GOODNIGHT MY BABY, a father's tenderly-sung lullaby for his baby son on Christmas eve, anticipates the excitment in store for both parent and child the following day. Nick's (Reynolds) status as a new father contributes a meaningful touch to the situation portrayed.

GO WHERE I SEND THEE, serves as a children's go-round today, but was once, with an altered text, a part of the Jewish Passover service. Known originally as "The Carol of the Twelve Numbers", this cumulative song is at least 1500 years old. At present, scholars and uncertain whether the Christians adapted the song for the Jews, or visa-versa. In this spirited rendition, the bass of Buck Wheat, a permanent adjunct to the Trio, adds effective rhythmic stimulus to the accompaniment.

FOLLOW NOW, OH SHEPHARDS is an aguinaldo, a tradtional Christmas carol frequently in couplet form. The term aguinaldo alsom means "gift". In Puerto Rico at Christmas time, costumed singers journey through the villages, asking for and singing aguinaldo. The Spanish influence becomes apparent in the lilting accompaniment, which weaves a polyrhythmic network in 6/8 time beneath the singing of the Trio in 4/4.

side two:
SOMMERSET GLOUCESTERSHIRE WASSAIL, a combination of traditional English tunes dating from the 18th century, served as musical fare for troupes of carolers who, carrying bowls of spiced ale, traveled from house to house toasting the masters. The word wassail derives from the Old English was hal which was a wish for good luck or good health. To this lusty wassail song, the Bouzouki* adds a harpsichord-like sound.
MARY MILD, a version of the ballad "The Bitter Withy", is founded on an Oriental legend known in Europe before the end of the eleventh century. The story, not found in official church writing, tells of Jesus at the age of eleven being chastized by Mary for building a bridge of sunbeams to illustrate his divine power to neighborhood children who refuse to play with a child so humble born. The "bridge of sunbeams" miracle has been traced from Egypt to Ireland, and to the lives of the medieval saints.

A ROUND ABOUT CHRISTMAS, is an old children's round based on an English nursery rhyme, As the line "Pleasse to pyt a penny in the old man's hat" suggest, the tune is often sung while the hat is being passed around for holiday collections.

SING WE NOEL was once used with appropriate text as an Easter song entitled "Love Is Come Again". Based on a lovely bell-like old melody associated with the carol "Noel Nouvelet", the piece combines verses in the Dorian mode with a refrain of middle eastern character, the Bouzouki heightening the oriental flavor.

THE LAST MONTH OF THE YEAR, while not specifically a spiritual, apparently provides children with a convenient method of memorizing the poper order of the months by means of oral transmission. The song was given to The Kingston Trio by Alan Lomas, who, along with Pete Seeger, in investigating the Southern Negro background of the tune. The blue-toned bango counter-melody lends a further note of interest to the Trio's rocking performacne.

*The Bouzouki, a greek instrument with a unique sound somewhat similar to a lute or mandolin. The Bouzouki which is used so effectively in this album was made especially for The Kingston Trio by George Atanasiou, of New York.

Produced by Voyle Gilmore



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