Advent Calendar #14: Billie Holiday – ‘That Ole Devil Called Love’

Holding up the philosophy that Christmas music should not only be festive, but diverse, Impact has compiled a list of 25 ‘Christmas songs’ to take you through advent. Including not only songs which are indisputably part of the Christmas canon, but also straying into areas of music which holds looser links to the season. Starting with the tenuous and heading for the recognised classics, look no further for your advent soundtrack.

That Ole Devil Called Love isn’t a Christmas song, but it should be. The mid-1940s big band sound of horns, subtle drumming and Billie Holiday’s gentle voice all make you want to put on your gaudiest Christmas jumper and crack out the mulled wine. It’s not dissimilar to any Sinatra standard for the festive period, and yet it offers something altogether more genuine.

While Frank tells us “the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful”, Billie makes us believe it. Struggling with what to do in her relationship, she cries “Might as well give up the fight again. I know darn well he’ll convince me, and that he’s right again”.

David Rowlands

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