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Powerhouse Radio Newsletter
Songs of Christmas
December 7, 2005

This issue includes...

1) Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas
2) How To Play Popular Christmas Songs Within 27 minutes
3) Anita Baker: Christmas Fantasy
4) Patrice Rushen: Child Prodigy with Adult Staying Power
5) Music News: Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder
6) Concert Dates: Who's on Tour?
7) The 8-Tracks of My Tears: Keeping the Technology Alive
8) Your Feedback via email to King at Powerhouse Radio

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1) Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas

The history of 31 Christmas songs are profiled in "Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas," by Ace Collins. Each song receives three to six pages of attention in his book. The lyrics to most of the songs are included in the 31 chapters.

We learn that the opening lyric in "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," written for Judy Garland's first mature role in the 1944 movie "Meet Me In St. Louis..."

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas; it may be your last; next year we will be living in the past.."

was rejected as too negative by the diva, and changed at her request by the songwriters to:

"Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light; from now on our troubles will be out of sight."

Collins points out that another World War II era song, 1942's "I'll Be Home For Christmas," sounds more like a letter home than a typical Christmas carol.

He tells us that the song was originally embraced as a prayer during the darkest days of World War II by all family members with loved ones on the fronts in Europe and Asia.

First printed in a Methodist hymnal in 1857, then adopted by other denominations, we discover how a sixteen year old singing in a Felix Mendelssohn opera would eventually be inspired to write the modern version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" just a few year later.

These are the songs you've probably sung since you were a child.

Ace Collins has compiled a great, easy reading resource, that will bring back your cherished memories.

"Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas" is a great stocking stuffer.


Review written by King for the Powerhouse Radio Newsletter



Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas
by Ace Collins
Published by Zondervan


It's the 5th annual Powerhouse Radio all Christmas music holiday special, beginning Sunday, December 11, and running for two full weeks through Christmas Day.

Hear all of your holiday favorites without commercial interruption. Tell all of your friends about it.

The complete playlist is here:


2) How To Play Popular Christmas Songs Within 27 minutes

Tis' the season of love, togetherness, and devotion. In the spirit of Christmas, Jermaine Griggs and HearandPlay.com has a perfect gift idea for you.

It's uniquely creative and perfect for one of your special relatives or friends.

Jermaine at HearandPlay.com has just released his brand new 3-hour Christmas course, Christmas Keys Vol. 1 - "Conquering Christmas Classics."

In this unique course, he covers a new and innovative way to play all of those Christmas classics we know and love.

You'll be able to impress your family and friends during this holiday season by mastering Christmas classics like Silent Night, First Noel, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and more!

After Jermaine takes you through his unique song learning process, you'll not only know how to conquer those songs but virtually any Christmas song out there! (because almost all Christmas songs follow the same basic patterns as you'll see)!

*Learn several variations of each song so you never have to play these Christmas classics the same way every time!

*Discover the power of "inversions" and how changing one note in your chord can totally alter the way a progression sounds!

*Beginners: How to play an entire song with only three-fingered major chords (...also known as "major triads").

*How to add fuel to your bass by understanding how "power" chords work in holiday music...

*How to use split chords (e.g. - "Cmaj / Eb or Fmin / D) and superimposed voicing to add spice to a chord progression!

*The power of altered chords like "Db13#11," "C7#9#5," "Abmin7b5," "Bb9#5," "G7#5," and how they totally change the feel of a song!

*How to easily substitute 4 and 5-fingered chord like min7, dom9, maj11, and dim7 for basic triad chords to add depth to your playing!

*How to utilize the strength and pull of 2-5-1, 7-3-6, and 1-4 chord progressions in holiday songs like Silent Night, The First Noel, O Come All Ye Faithful, and more!

*How to play "Go Tell It On The Mountain" in a churchy praise style! I'm talking about bass lines, runs, fill-ins, and more.

*From beginning to end: How to play every song, step-by-step, with no guessing (whatsoever) or any information left out! By the end of this course, you'll have what it takes to fully play all of these Christmas songs by ear... guaranteed!


play all your favorites for your family and friends.


I've known Jermaine and the Hear and Play family for 3 years now, and I must say they've really made playing Christmas music incredibly easy with this new effort...

You'll also find more interesting information, techniques, or resources just by clicking around on their website which is accessible through ours...


Here's to your success playing all of the popular Christmas songs.

3) Anita Baker: Christmas Fantasy

Anita Baker's rollicking and adventurous new holiday CD: "Christmas Fantasy," is a very good mix of some traditional holiday songs injected with fresh energy.

She includes new self authored songs too, "Family of Man," and "Christmas Fantasy." Both stick close to the familiar Anita Baker R&B sound.

Christmas Fantasy really shines when Anita and her musicians let loose with some jazzy renditions of the Christmas classics.

"Frosty's Rag" takes Frosty The Snowman to New Orleans for some Bourbon Street Flava.

The melancholy "Christmas Time Is Here" puts you in a pensive mood, reflecting on the emotion transmitted by Anita's voice.

She picks up the tempo with "I'll Be Home For Christmas," giving it a light jazzy touch while featuring George Duke on acoustic piano.

Joe Sample of The Crusaders taps the keyboard on another uptempo Anita Baker original, "Moonlight Sleighride."

Baker's spirited version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" strikes just the right balance between reverence for the original, and song styling within a breezy jazzy pace.

"O Come All Ye Faithful," featuring the Yellow Jackets and Anita, is courageous in its approach, without totally blowing out the feel of the original song.

The CD ends with Rogers and Hamerstein's "My Favorite Things," featuring Anita accompanied by acoustic piano, acoustic bass, drums, guitar, and Fender Rhodes keyboards.

While many artists offer limited vision to their take on holiday classics, Anita Baker's Christmas Fantasy plugs some jazzy creativity into these seasonal favorites, giving her a great vehicle to showcase her unique style.

Christmas Fantasy is a winner. It's one of the standout new Christmas CD's for 2005.


Review written by King for the Powerhouse Radio Newsletter


4) Patrice Rushen: Child Prodigy with Adult Staying Power

Here's an excerpt from Patrice Rushen's official biography, compiled by Elektra/Asylum Records:

"My first attraction to music," Patrice says, "was from an entertainment standpoint. My parents subscribed to a record club, so I heard every style of music. I saw it on television, listened to it on the radio, went to dances and parties.

By the time I was twelve, all the Motown hits were coming fast, and I bought all the Beatles albums. But all the while I was studying classical piano music quite seriously."

She was three when the University of Southern California enrolled her in its special music preparatory program.

"We had an eurhythmics class where graduate students studied how little kids were sensitive to sounds.

Instead of talking about eighth notes and sixteenth notes, we talked about running notes and skipping notes, happy chords and sad chords.

Even today, what gets to me is not dazzling technique but the clarity of thought, the emotionalism." Patrice continued to work with the USC special programs through her college years.

She studied with a succession of three piano teachers, practicing at first on an old upright, then on the Yamaha baby grand acquired for her when she was eleven.

She was twelve when she began to be bored by playing alone. A family friend taught her to play the flute.

"It felt good to be a member of an orchestra, a small cog in a big wheel. And the experience taught me a lot about orchestration."

Patrice was the first chair flutist in a student orchestra, and played that instrument in the jazz lab band, the Msingi Workshop, founded in her high school by Reggie Andrews, who has helped Patrice produce all her albums.

("Msingi" is Swahili for "root".) "It was a brand new experience for me.

Reggie was a great inspiration. He taught kids that music could be an evocation, not just an avocation. And he opened up my piano playing from a new perspective.

I learned to play what I heard inside - to improvise. I wasn't cut out to play Bach fugues in competitions. I realized that I wanted to make my own music." Patrice entered her own combo in competition at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and won.

"I also played that year in the All-California high school band, and so I got a lot of publicity.

That's how my recording career began." Patrice worked with Melba Liston's big band, with singer Abby Lincoln, and with the Sylvers. She signed with Prestige and recorded her first album, Prelusion, a purely instrumental effort which received unanimous critical praise.

The album combined funky finger-popping tracks with complex compositions which showcased Patrice's mastery of classical harmonies applied to jazz improvisation.


Read the entire Patrice Rushen official biography, and share her experiences playing with an amazing bunch of great performers while she was still in her teens and early 20's...


For even more about Patrice Rushen, follow the link to her official website on our music artists page:


5) Music News: Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder

Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige will play the late and great singer Nina Simone in a new movie. The film is Mary's first big silver screen project.

Mary's contributed her music to many soundtracks, including "Waiting to Exhale."

To access Mary J. Blige's official website, follow her link on this page:


Stevie Wonder
When in the Motor City, Go Motown. Stevie Wonder has been added to the pre-game show at Super Bowl 40, taking place in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, February 5, 2006.

When The Rolling Stones were announced as the halftime entertainment for the game, fans partisan to "the home town Motown sound" went ballistic (on the National Football League).

Stevie last appeared during a Super Bowl halftime show in 1999.

Marvin Gaye's Music
Keyboardist Jason Miles, has just finished recording a CD of all Marvin Gaye songs. The CD, "What's Goin' On: The Music of Marvin Gaye," includes many of Marvin's greatest hits. There's a mix of both instrumental and vocal songs (by guest singers).

"What's Goin' On: The Music of Marvin Gaye" will be released in March, 2006, on the Narada record label.

6) Concert Dates: Who's on Tour?

Thursday, December 8, 2005
Constitution Hall, Washington, DC

Lionel Richie
Friday, December 9, 2005
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, Hollywood, FL

Earth Wind & Fire
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Potawatomi Bingo Casino
Milwaukee, WI

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Jazz Cafe, London, England, UK

Earth Wind & Fire
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Nokia Theatre Times Square
New York, NY

Isley Brothers
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Reliant Arena, Houston, TX

Natalie Cole
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel
Honolulu, HI

Chaka Khan
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Bergen Performing Arts Center
Englewood, NJ

Bobby Caldwell
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
One World Theatre, Austin, TX

7) The 8-Tracks of My Tears: Keeping the Technology Alive

Before iPods, CD's, DVD's, and downloadable songs, music lived on vinyl disks, cassettes, and 8-track tapes.

The 8 track tape format, a staple in automobiles in the 1970's was created by William Powell Lear, of the Lear Jet fame. Lear developed and patented the system.

I've never owned or used them, but millions of people enjoyed 8-track taped music in its heyday.

If you haven't thrown out your old 8-track tapes yet, try offering them to the public through sites like eBay, where they regularly fetch one or two dollars apiece. 8-track machines, in good condition, can command up to $225.

Check out http://www.8trackheaven.com


Written by King for The Powerhouse Radio Newsletter

8) Your Feedback via email to King at Powerhouse Radio

John writes:

"Hello, i'm trying to find out who the artist of a r&b slow jam is from somewhere between 1975-and-1982 it's titled ( you and i) and i heard it sung on Good Times when Michael sung it at his sisters wedding."

King replies:

We'll, it's not Rick James' "You and I," since that's funky fast. If you know the answer to John's question, please share it with us. Thanks.


Don't be left out, because we're listening. Leave your comments, feedback, or music requests here:


You can also post a comment in our guest book message board.



Enjoy the two weeks of non-stop Christmas music, coming to Powerhouse Radio Sunday, December 11 - Sunday, December 25.


Happy holidays, and happy new year.

The Powerhouse Radio Newsletter will be back in January, 2006.


Published by PowerhouseRadio.com.
Editor: King
Copyright 2005 by Powerhouse Radio
All rights reserved
Powerhouse Radio


More 2005 Powerhouse Radio Newsletters:
November - Stevie Wonder Power
September - Musicians from New Orleans
June - Live 8 Around The World
January - How to Sell Old Records

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