Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Seventh Day of Christmas: The Friendly Beasts

Fifteen or more years ago the four of us, Brannon, Lillian, Sheila, and I performed "The Friendly Beasts" for our church Christmas Party program. It may have been the only public performance of the Shaw Family Singers.

I couldn't find video I liked of this song so just listen to Garth Brooks and friends. The donkey part is sung by Pat Alger. Pat wrote (or cowrote) several of Brooks most famous hits like "Unanswered Prayers" and "The Thunder Rolls". I like to brag that back in the sixties I cowrote a song with this famous songwriter. Pat was in the cabin with me, Cleve Burton, Greg Cordle, and other friends at good old Camp Glisson. Our counselor was "Big John", a Methodist preacher of great girth. At the Friday night talent show our group of audacious boys sang "Who Could Ask for More?" -- a song written mostly by Pat but with input from the whole cabin. I remember one verse alluded to the fact that even if "Big John"'s belly arrived on time, the rest of him might still be late.

Here is what Brooks writes about the performance:

"From the beginning I wanted the beasts of the stable to be separate, individual characters, so I asked some of my songwriting buddies to help out.

The donkey is played by PAT ALGER who wrote "The Thunder Rolls", "Unanswered Prayers" and "What She's Doing Now".

STEPHANIE DAVIS sings for the cow. She wrote "WOLVES" and "THE GIFT".

The sheep is presented by LARRY BASTIAN who wrote "I've Got A Good Thing Going", "Cowboy Bill", "Nobody Gets Off In This Town", "Unanswered Prayers", "Rodeo" and "The Old Man's Back In Town"

VICTORIA SHAW, who wrote "The River" sings for the dove.

And finally, TONY ARATA sings the camel's verse. Tony wrote "The Dance" and "Same Old Story".

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