First Noel


What was it I was saying yesterday? Another tune to throw me completely, but I’ve realised how much I enjoy the chorus vocals. It’s good hearty communal singing that sounds thoroughly enjoyable and makes me wonder whether there’s a group near me. If I can stand close enough to someone I can copy, who knows what might happen? Mind you, the local choirs have been in the Whitgift shopping-centre. First there were men of a certain age in matching blazers and slacks: then the woman in Santa hats doing the actions, on cue, to Oops I Did It Again. For the want of an Uzi, a massacre was avoided. Instead I ran pell-mell for the shelter of M&S, only to find myself confronted by a store so chock full of seasonal gubbins that I emerged empty handed, dazed and confused. Anyway I digress… Jon says of this one, “Definitely an improvement on the original melody. Again devised by the genius collective mind of BACCApella (the tune is Young Banker.)”

You can buy the December digital album now from all good download stores.


31 Responses to “First Noel”

  1. Reinhard says:

    Wow. This is absolutely beautiful (and not just because I love the Watersons’ Young Banker).

    A twenty-one years old BACCApella recording of First Noel is on the Free Reed box set Midwinter, even then with Fay as one of the singers. I wonder how young she was when she joined BACCApella…

  2. Jane Ramsden says:

    Little bit too inventive for me over the ‘original’ version, but I’m very admiring of these alternative tune ‘fits’ for songs. It’s amazing what a big difference a small device makes, so more still welcome!

  3. muzza says:

    It might be a jolly wheeze to sing it like this, but for me…this was a step too far.
    The “original” tune is beautiful and inspiring…and I’m not religious.

  4. Simon Dewsbury says:

    I’m with Reinhard on this one, I prefer this to the original

  5. SRD says:

    Very Folky.

  6. Rosie says:

    I really love this rousing version. Much nicer than the one that gets played all the time. Very imaginative, and well done.

  7. David says:

    Novel Noel! I loved it!
    The Ring O’ Bells in Warrington regularly hears the entire club singing in harmonies – all down to the direction of Geoff Bibby.

  8. judith inman says:

    Great version. They sound as if they mean it! speed just right.
    Wonder if I can mug it up for tonight!!!

  9. edith lewis says:

    Wonderful. Merry Christmas

  10. Mike New says:

    This is different and a jolly tune to boot. This will liven up the carol singers! Good one.

  11. Muzza says:

    Blimey Jane……..thee and me have been well and truly trounced!….These young people…is nothing sacred…….I ask yer!

  12. SRD says:

    Who are you calling young????????????

  13. Jane Ramsden says:

    Who are you calling old? Hahahahaha!

    Muzza, thee and me are just being traditional on this occasion! We do not need the fancy stuff. My mother would have said, ‘Plain Jane and no nonsense.’ So – old, traditional and plain – I am not billing myself too well here! Actually, am starry, beautiful Jane, of course!

    I have just ended my evening singing the ‘original’ First Noel tune with Ashley Hutching’s t’Albion Band in historic Saltaire’s Victoria Hall. So, if it is good for the Guv’nor, it is good enough for me!

    (Bought a copy of ‘As I Cycled Out One May Morning – The Cecil Sharpe Centenary Collective’ as part of the ‘edukashun’ with note to self to get both live Vintage Albion CDs at later date. The other live CD ‘Natural & Wild’ is just brilliant!)

    And Skyman, I also heard Kellie While singing for the first time tonight. Excellent! She did wonderful versions of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ and Dave Goulder’s ‘January Man’ – neither of which I can find on YouTube – but hope I am not stealing any pre-planned AFSAD thunder by posting a link to Christy Moore’s wonderful version of the latter. Enjoy Y’all!

  14. Diana says:

    Sorry but I prefer the original tune that most of us are familiar with.

    I wish you all a Merry Christmas or a Frohe Weihnachten and would like to thank Jon and Simon who have put a lot of time and effort into the creating of this site which has proved to be so very enjoyable.

    PS. No doubt I shall be posting again later after I have done some more shopping.

  15. Peter Walsh says:

    I’m with Reinhard (2010); much prefer this version! Sorry Daina, Muzza and Jainie. Been to th’Asda and Sainsbugs already, Daina. They were both ultra busy betwixt 6 to 7am in Blackpool!

  16. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    Perhaps in the present climate, it is the thought of letting a ‘banker’ anywhere near something as sacred as an old traditional carol, that turns people off.
    I am normally considered a traditionalist (Hands up, who said boring old f—t ?), but I was rather taken with this combination of tune and lyrics.

  17. Reinhard says:

    John, the young banker in question doesn’t have a freshly minted MBA but is busy building embankments, and is probably singing carols at this time of the year, too.

    Merry Christmals och god jul!

  18. Diana says:

    Peter or as I typed the other day (managed to spot error) Pewter, managed Asda in comfort surrounded by the hordes but knew where to go for stuff and not get sidetracked.

    Loved your name for Sainsburys so shall always think of them that way in future.
    I like my new name, course it could be changed into Nadia which has not got the same ring to it.

  19. Reinhard says:

    The Urban dictionary defines ‘Adain’: multi-talented individual (often in the Arts) with a big heart and a rather silly sense of humour!

  20. Diana says:

    Got it in one Reinhard. Sounds just like me – at least the silly sense of humour part.

  21. Peter Walsh says:

    Thanks Adain and well anagrammed, Reinhard!

    I just had a merry present-wrapping session whilst Spotify played me all the December AFSAD songs; brilliant. I think their ‘Unlimted’ package is cracking value at a fiver a month (that blots out all the adverts and removes the limit on your listening time). Thousands of Folk albums on there….

    Now I’m off to Skyman’s Alt Advent Calendar, byeee!

  22. Linda says:

    I like both this version and the “original” . I think each one suites different situations .The original for the more “formal singing ” and the AFSAD version for a good rousing pub singing. As an aside have just found on youtube The making of bus song a day ,worth a watch.
    Hope everyone has a good christmas and new year.

  23. Jane Ramsden says:

    Still prefer the traditional version of ‘First Noel’ because the tune suits the spirit of the song better to my ears. However, I like the rousing end to this version, Fay’s voice coming through beautifully. I am sooo envious!

    @ Reinhard: What a wonderful word ‘adain’ is! Oh, I’ve added a bit more info ref the tune as opposed to the words under ‘Awake, Arise…’ in case you haven’t seen it.

  24. Jane Ramsden says:

    Henri 5 – Not the First Noel, but the Worst Noel. Oh, l’ennui!

  25. Muzza+415days (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Admin Simon……… is my wont -I have just re-read all comments and I hope that your ‘anger management course ‘ was successful !….Blimey young fella……(for the want of a Uzi)….how can you have such thoughts at Christmas!…and you will be a gent of a certain age eventually…bless us all.
    Ref the First Noel….A jolly, joyful sinaglong it may be but I still prefer not to swop tunes among songs…….that’s what gives them their place in our hearts….how confusing would it be if I decided to refer to ‘Jon’ as ‘Admin Simon’?……..hold it there…..
    I MUST NOT START A FLURRY OF CONTROVERSY-it doesn’t matter…each to his own.
    On a lighter note……….Pinch Me……..Welcome back young very early bird red hat……….loved the Henri link….but also loved the ‘fenton advert’.

  26. Diana says:

    Loved Henri Jane.

    Muzza wish you all the best for Christmas .

  27. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    Wow……January man………….what a song and performance

  28. Nick says:

    I’m enjoying the December collection download but would have like a bit of information on the musical collaborators on the varioustracks.

  29. Jane (Maryland) says:

    @ Muzza: I can imagine this version being delightful to sing in a pub, but otherwise I am completely in agreement with you and Jane R. and Diana. Besides, I know a descant for the chorus which is fun to sing in the middle of a congregation on Christmas Eve.

  30. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Phew….talk about ” light blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance!”
    what are we like -eh!….good to have both Janes in agreement with me…yeh!

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