We Three Kings: The Roches

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day . The feast commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

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35 Comments on “We Three Kings: The Roches”

  1. im6 Says:

    As much as I like The Roches, I think this may be my favorite version of We Three Kings. They really reinvented it and thought maybe some of the coffee clan might enjoy hearing it.

  2. Birgit Says:

    It hurts to see young Maggie. This was the first Christmas I haven’t heard the Roches Christmas album, with Odetta’s Christmas record it was a must each year.

  3. Spaceman Says:

    I like the Roches version more because I’m fond of the Roches’ harmony singing, but this version is quite interesting. There are some common elements in the use of the clarinet in the Roches and the sax in Astrocolor. Thanks for sharing…..

  4. im6 Says:

    The music one likes is, of course, relative and personal. The writer at Paste is certainly entitled to his opinion, but that’s all it is: his opinion. As you can well imagine, I listen to literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of holiday songs each year. When something is different (like Astrocolor) it catches my ear. I’d rather hear someone try something new than to just record another same ol’ same ol’ version of a song. Astrocolor certainly didn’t do that. Neither did The Roches 🙂

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      I love variations of traditional songs as the same songs do get a bit monotonous. I didn’t post the list as definitive; of course, I recognized it was just one opinion. I post those different lists as many times they contain music we might not know or the same music presented differently as with Astrocolor.

      With something this different, I have to listen a few times. One isn’t enough.

  5. Mark Says:

    I’m sure everyone knows their a cappella treatment of similar material?

  6. Spaceman Says:

    Paste thinks RuPaul merits a top 5 Christmas album? Yea, right.

  7. Birgit Says:

    Speaking of Roches and (Mark’s Star Of) Wonder, Suzzy sang some songs on Dick Connette’s new album. (Connette produced Wainwright’s Charlie Poole.) One of the Suzzy songs is on YouTube and also this beautiful live song Wonder Of The World:

    • Spaceman Says:

      Here’s a Charlie Poole tune for Miss Katry.

      • katry Says:

        Spaceman,
        This song is so very connected to Wonder of the Wonder but not in style but through the sentiment of the lyrics. Take me back and turn back the hands of time are kindred lyrics.

        I like the instruments and the beat they produce.

      • Birgit Says:

        Since this musical journey ended up with Joan Baez, Kat, you might want to tell Alexa to remind you of her 77th birthday on Tuesday?

      • katry Says:

        Birgit,
        Alexis is set to remind me. Thanks!!

      • Spaceman Says:

        I chased this song (Take me Back) backward in time. Pre-dated Charlie Pool. Original song was titled “Take Me Home” and is attributed to John Hill Hewitt (aka,The Bard of the Confederacy). Some variation in the lyrics.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hill_Hewitt

        http://pdmusic.org/hewitt/jhh64tmh.txt

      • katry Says:

        Spaceman,
        I often trace the origins of songs I post to find the first recording of the song. Many date further back than I thought. John Hill Hewitt had a varied, interesting life. The title Bard of the Confederacy is interesting given he started out up north and even spent time at West Point.

        He was destined to end up in music despite his father.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I’m listening for the third time. The song is so beautiful. The line turn back the hands of time circles around go on home again, go back home, and then she sings of simple things like out in the weather I caught a common cold and then she couples that with finding true love which lasts forever. Thank you!

  8. Mark Says:

    Nice work, Spaceman! The song does have a convoluted history and it’s no surprise that the sanitized versions are current.

  9. Spaceman Says:

    John Hill Hewitt certainly had an interesting life and some remarkable musical accomplishments. And 7 children and remarried at 63 to an 18-year and had 4 more for a total of 11. Of course having that many children was not at all unusual during those times and even into the early 20th century. Note sure what to make of his habitually ending up employed at female colleges. Seems like an unusual terminology in today’s way of speaking. There was a female college here – there is a historical marker near the court house on the building where it was. I’ll pay more attention to the marker next time I go to the court house. I really like old time music and particularly that of the War. Have a local group that performs with authentic brass instruments.

    http://digital.mtsu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/women/id/837

    http://www.otbrass.com/

    • katry Says:

      Spaceman,
      I watched the video of your local group playing the William Tell Overture. I think I mentioned how much I like the sounds of brass instruments. How different are the over the shoulder instruments? In playing, in sound?

      I noticed you played at the Sutton Civil War Festival in Sutton, Massachusetts. I had to look up Sutton as I didn’t know it. The town is near Worcester, an area I don’t know well.

      11 children, yikes!

  10. Spaceman Says:

    Brass is not an area I know much about and I don’t have the ears to distinguish meaningful differences with current instruments. I’m sure there is. Hoping that they will play again this year in the Concerts in the Park series.

    http://www.artshuntsville.org/concerts-in-the-park-2/

  11. Spaceman Says:

    That’s really neat. Perhaps you can answer Miss Katry’s question concerning regarding differences in sound using vintage instruments versus modern instruments. Are the band’s uniforms symbolic?

  12. Mark Says:

    Sure. The vintage instruments are usually much more difficult to play in tune. They also are much less “edgy” and generally more “soft-spoken”. Frequently they were made to sound at a higher pitch than most modern instruments (ca. 450Hz vs 440Hz at “concert” A). The cornets, because of the cross-section shape of their tubing and the inner shape of the mouthpiece, were much more similar in sound quality to the alto and tenor instruments of the ensemble vs. the sometimes strident sound of a modern trumpet section. The uniforms are generic representations of 19th century band garb. I’ll probably be touring with this group in July. 🙂

  13. Spaceman Says:

    Mark,

    Thanks for quite detailed (and scientific) description. There’s a lot more to it that I would have ever realized and am more so impressed with people that tackle vintage horns. I have tried to learn to play some kind of instrument several times and have utterly failed – so I’m still a bit envious of people that can. It’s hard work. I bet ya’ll have a blast touring around.


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