Appalachia Christmas Music

The First Noel

Christmas CD by The Blind Pig Gang

Two of my favorite Christmas songs are on Pap and Paul’s Christmas cd- Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem and Good Christian Men, Rejoice.

The First Noel is a nice Christmas song but, its never been one of my favorites-until they made this cd. Paul’s vocals are truly outstanding. Between his voice, the music, and Pap’s tenor it gives me chills every time I hear it and brings tears to my eyes.

The first noel 2

After becoming enamored with the song-I began to wonder about it’s origin. The book Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins offers the following tidbits about the song.

  • The First Noel is one of the oldest Christmas songs maybe even as old as 400 years
  • There are some folks who think the song originated in France-some think England
  • Noel-is a loud shout expressing the joy surrounding Christ’s birth
  • It’s considered a folk song
  • The original version-had a few scriptural errors-showing that an uneducated person wrote the song (which makes it mean even more to me)
  • The writer was obviously excited about Christmas-even though during that time Bibles weren’t accessible to every day folks-and even if they had been-most people couldn’t read
  • For many years after the song was written the clergy frowned on songs such as The First Noel-making it a true song of the people
  • In 1833 The First Noel was finally published by William Sandys and soon afterward The Church Of England began using the song as a hymn

Amazing how the song survived-just by word of mouth-sung around the fire passed on to each generation. Somehow knowing The First Noel was written by someone with no education and no great aspirations make the song seem truly from the heart.

Give it a listen

If you’re interested in purchasing one of Paul and Pap’s cds- Songs of Christmas you can jump over to the Blind Pig & the Acorn Etsy Store and pick one up.

Hope you enjoyed the history of the song-do you have a favorite Christmas song?


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  • Reply
    December 1, 2014 at 12:57 am

    I am with Tamela. “Mary, did you know” is the best song ever for Christmas time and any other time of the year.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2014 at 12:04 am

    It’s lovely.
    I think my favorite CHRISTmas song would probably be Away in a Manger. My favorite CHRISTian hymn of all time is A Mighty Fortress is Our God which I believe was written by Martin Luther. I always find myself humming it in times of trouble or worry, to remind me nothing is too big for God to deal with.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Really enjoyed The First Noel and hoping we can have music again each day if at all possible.
    Thanks for your efforts.

  • Reply
    Carol Stuart
    November 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    That is beautiful!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I have the Christmas CD of Paul and Pap also and like all of them. But I guess either Silent Night or Little Town of Bethlehem is a couple of favorites.
    But I’m parcel to The Pressley Girls singing “Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
    Hope you get everything straightened out with the music
    player. I’m still trying to get
    over Thanksgiving…Ken.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Beautiful song Tip!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I tell lots of stories. (Some rude people call them jokes.) My wife has two she can remember. A drunk man walked into a church service near Christmas and wanted to sing a song. The song leader gave him a hymnal. He opened it and began to sing, “Leon, Leon, Leon” The song leader took the book, turned it over and gave it back to him. He then sang, Noel, Noel, Noel.”

  • Reply
    November 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I really enjoy hearing the guys sing and I especially enjoy Christmas Carols. Probably my favorite is Silent Night. My memories are deep from when my dad used to sing it in German which they learned from the nuns who raised both my parents when they lived in the orphanage.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    November 30, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Fabulous job on The First Noel. It took me a while to figure out what to do to play it though.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Silent Night has always been number one with me. The First Noel and Angels We Have Heard on High most often tied for “second”. But, although it isn’t a hymn to be sung by a congregation or gathering, “Mary, Did You Know” consistently bring tears of wonder and awe to my eyes.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    November 30, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Very pretty!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I love hearing Paul and Pap sing all the Christmas songs. Silent Night is still my favorite. I miss the music player when it’s not working. Paul’s voice is amazing, but it’s Pap’s voice that gives me chills and brings a tear to my eyes when he sings Ethan Allen and Poor Man. The guys deserve an award for their Christmas cd!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 30, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Back in the early 80s, I took our oldest son, Joshua, with me when I went out to do a little Christmas shopping. He was three years old at the time, and we were riding in a little Datsun pickup. On the way to the store, I sang The First Noel. After I was finished, Joshua said ‘gain (again). So I sang it again.
    And so it went all the way to the store and also on the way back home. I can assure you that is the only time there’s ever been a command performance when it comes to my singing!
    I have no idea what it was that he liked about it – but it’s a special memory and one which comes to mind each time I hear the song.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 30, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I have an idea, idee or idear or a light bulb moment…
    Since there is trouble in music player land! How about or would it be possible, to just post one song each day! Like you did today of The First Noel, maybe each day have a song of the day…I don’t know if that would work or not? Just pondering the thought! That way we could still listen as we read..
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 30, 2014 at 7:00 am

    It is hard for me to pick a favorite Christmas Carol or Hymn. I love them all. Joy to the World, Silent Night, Away in the Manger, We Three Kings, etc.
    Have you and the gang ever done the song The Heavenly Stranger, by Ada Blenkhorn? It was popular into the twenties according to one website of Gospel songs and hymns. My Rodeheaver’s Gospel Song book (copyright 1922) does not have many Christmas songs listed.
    Silent Night, holy night, Joy to the World, The Star and the Song and The Heavenly Stranger were the few!
    Of course this is a very early book and the Tabernacle Edition!
    Pap, Paul and gang all do wonderful renditions of Christmas songs…
    The First Noel was one of the first songs we learned in our childhood choir, I remember it well!
    Thanks Tipper,

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