The First Nowel- Song of Week #4

This week’s song is the traditional English carol, The First Nowell (or Noel).  The word Noel is rooted in the Latin word for birthday.  This classic favorite can be traced back to the 1700s as a carol sung in many congregations.  It would not be until the 1820s that the tune would be published in a standardized format for sale.  Over time there have been many variations on the melody and the lyrics.  There is the version in the Cornish Songbook, the New English Hymnal, and the American version.  We are most familiar with the shorter, 4 refrain version of the carol.  THe other versions offer the longer, 6 refrain format.  Personally I like the New English  lyrics best.  They have a traditional feel and sound to them and I think most Americans would recognize these from various recordings.

This is one of my seasonal favorites to sing.  I find it easy to sing along and enjoy singing it at church. I enjoy listening to recordings too, but it’s not on my top 5.  I’m interested to hear what Natalie’s view is on this carol.  I’m guessing she will find a recorded version that she will adore.  Here are a few recorded versions for you to enjoy:

Annie Lennox- this recording from 2010 is a catchy mix of the tune and has clear lyrics.  
Josh Groban– Faith Hill helps Josh with this classical sounding recording full of big voice.
Scotty McCreery– Version from the CMA Christmas special.  This is for the country crooner fans.
Black Label Society– This is an interesting acoustic version featuring guitar and more.  Relaxing.
Brady Bunch– Bet you didn’t know they had a Christmas album.  This is great for some smiles.

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