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Night draws in

November 24, 2010

Siren and I have been having a discussion on Facebook as to the differences in our approaches to the chores of Thanksgiving. Siren prefers to clean the house like mad on Wednesday and do all the cooking on Thursday. I prefer to start with the cooking and clean at the end. Or don’t clean if I run out of time. Because people don’t really care about that as much as the food anyway. At least that’s what I tell myself.

As of this moment, I have made spiced pecans, cranberry-orange sauce, creamed onions (awaiting the final baking), Moroccan carrot salad and two pumpkin pies. I’ve also made stock and chopped the ingredients for the stuffing that I’ll make tomorrow, along with the turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans. Because some things can’t be made ahead of time.

There is always a bit of a lull on Wednesday afternoon, before I iron the napkins and set the table but after the food is made, when I think about music for Thanksgiving. Today I’m particularly thinking about Steeleye Span’s “Marigold,” which ends with a quote from the hymn “Harvest Home,” sung a cappella. Here are the lyrics, which for me perfectly capture the mixture of comfort and melancholy that Thanksgiving brings for me:

When the marigold no longer blooms
When summer sun is turned to gloom
See the forecast winter snow
See the evergreen that lonely grows
Move close to the fireplace
Neglect the garden
See the ground harden
At a ghostly place
The golden summer sun is silver now
The fruit has fallen from the bough
The season moves to chestnut time
Toffee apples, treacle and mulled wine
Quilts and furs and woolens gay,
You wrap around you.
But the cold confounds you,
On an autumn day.

Stout and strong the walls of home and hearth
Curtains drawn against the draft
The rake has reaped, the blade has mown
Nights draw in to call the harvest home
The quiet of a heart at rest
In peace abounded
By love surrounded
Here the home is blest
Harvest home
Come, ye thankful people, come
Raise the song of harvest home

All be safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin
God, our maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied
Come, ye thankful people, come
Raise the song of harvest home
• Count Basie “Plymouth Rock” April in Paris

You can listen to it here:

Over the past several years, with the help of many of you, I’ve assembled a nicely eclectic Thanksgiving playlist. Here it is, newly alphabetized (probably erroneously) for your enjoyment. As always, any additional suggestions are more than welcome. Whatever you decide to listen to for Thanksgiving, I hope your day finds you “in peace abounded, in love surrounded.”

Music for a Thanksgiving Feast

• Beatroots “Thanksgiving” Dig the Beat

• Leonard Bernstein Divertimento V. Turkey Trot (any number of recordings)

• William Bolcom’s “Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise”

• Jonatha Brooke’s “Secrets and Lies”

• Mary Chapin Carpenter “Thanksgiving Song” Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas

• Betty Carter “Shine on Harvest Moon” ‘Round Midnight

• Aaron Copland Rodeo

• Aaron Copland Appalachian Spring

• Aaron Copland, The Promise of Living from The Tender Land

• Bing Crosby “I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For” Holiday Inn

• Bing Crosby, “Faith of Our Fathers”

• Crosby, Still, Nash & Young “Our House” Déjà Vu

• Ray Davies “Thanksgiving Day” Other People’s Lives

• Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan “Baby It’s Cold Outside” Ella and Friends

• “Food, Glorious Food” from the musical Oliver

• Dizzy Gillespie “Mayflower Rock”

• Patty Griffin “Making Pies”

• Vince Guaraldi, “Thanksgiving” Anything from the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – several tracks were recorded by George Winston (squarer and new agier than the original Vince Guaraldi) on Linus and Lucy. Not as good as the originals, but easier to find. This is my favorite of the Charlie Brown soundtracks.

• Arlo Guthrie “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” Alice’s Restaurant (soundtrack)

• George F. Handel Alexander’s Feast

• “Harvest Home” (aka “Come Ye Thankful People Come”) (hymn)

• Little Eva “Let’s Turkey Trot” The Dimension Dolls

• Giancarlo Menotti “Thank you, thank you” chorus from Amahl and the Night Visitors

•Carry Newcomer’s “Betty’s Diner” The Best of Carry Newcomer

• Offenbach, “Ah quel dîner,” the tipsy waltz from La Perichole

• The O’Jays “Family Reunion” Family Reunion

• Oscar Peterson & Ray Brown “Gravy Waltz” The Essential Oscar Peterson

• Poi Dog Pondering “Thanksgiving” Wishing Like a Mountain, Thinking Like the Sea

• Puccini, The street vendors’ song from Act II of La Bohème

• Adam Sandler “The Thanksgiving Song” They’re All Gonna Laugh at You (This one is the source of the

• Sisters Sledge “We Are Family”

• Simon & Garfunkel “Homeward Bound” Simon and Garfunkel

• Richard Strauss’ “Whipped Cream” Ballet (“Schlagobers”)

• Steeleye Span’s “Marigold,” which ends with an a cappella rendition of “Harvest Home,” off the fabulous Sails of Silver album.

• James Taylor & Ray Charles “Sweet Potato Pie”

• Jay Ungar & Molly Mason “Thanksgiving Waltz” Harvest Home – Music for All Seasons. There’s also a suite from Harvest Home on this CD that would work well too.

• Jay Ungar & Molly Mason “Gobblers” Waltzing With You (soundtrack – this is a setting of “Turkey in the Straw”)

• Loudon Wainwright III “Thanksgiving” Career Moves

• “We Gather Together” (hymn)

• Dar Williams “Your Fire Your Soul” The Beauty of the Rain

• George Winston “Thanksgiving” December

• The Youngbloods “Get Together” (not sure of the album – it’s on a gazillion compilations)

One Comment leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    November 24, 2010 5:59 pm

    I cooked and cleaned today but the cleaning was not because of the holiday (we don’t eat here, thank goodness) but because I am re-arranging the play area in the family room and it needed serious vacuuming. And dusting. Then I listened to John Prine while I made a birthday cake. In a bit, I’ll make two pumpkin pies I couldn’t make earlier until I’d picked up my fresh eggs from the co-op. And I’ll put together a chickpea salad just for the hell of it.

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