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Preface: Yule is the annual celebration of the winter solstice, when the sun reaches the southernmost part of its travels, leaving the northern hemisphere of the Earth in the longest night (and shortest day) of the year. Symbolically, this represents the moment of the sun's rebirth, as every day from here on out, until the summer solstice, daylight will grow longer, and the sun will increase in its power and influence over the Earth. Though the bulk of the winter is ahead of us, we can reassure ourselves that with every day that passes, we are one step closer to the spring.
The precise moment of the 2007 winter solstice will be near 6am the morning of Saturday, December 22 (Universal Time). Plan your festivities accordingly.
Monday (12/17/07): Blue Cheer - Sun Cycle [Outsideinside, 1968]
Comments: The Who may have been known for setting the upper limit on the volume of a rock concert, but Blue Cheer may well have been louder. A good way to start the week approaching Yule is to contemplate the cycle of the sun, as its daily east-west path shifts northward and southward throughout the year, and the effect that change has on the weather and seasonal activities in your area.
Tuesday (12/18/07): Joe Bonamassa - When The Sun Goes Down [Had To Cry Today, 2004]
Comments: If you're not yet aware of Joe Bonamassa, he's the best blues rocker out on the scene today, and is one of the greatest guitarists of this generation. This is only a small taste of his ever-growing and always impressive repertoire. When the sun goes down this Friday night, we'll be in for a lo-o-ong night before the sunrise returns again.
Wednesday (12/19/07): The Doors - Waiting For The Sun [Morrison Hotel, 1970]
Comments: The Doors have always had a knack for handling the dark side, and this track (ironically not appearing on the album titled Waiting For The Sun) is no exception. Become one with the darkness around you, and the darkness within your soul, so that you can better appreciate the light when it springs forth, renewed and bright.
Thursday (12/20/07): Eric Clapton - Blues Before Sunrise [From The Cradle, 1994]
Comments: This track is featured on the phenomenal blues album From The Cradle, the first fully blue album in Clapton's solo career. Many people get the wintertime blues, when the sun spends so little time shining bright. In fact, there's even a clinical term for it - Seasonal Affective Disorder. I personally don't have much trouble with the darkness - I am quite comfortable living nocturnally - but the cold always gets to me. The first rays of the new rising sun after the winter solstice will, quite literally, be a shining beacon of hope, that the light and warmth will return again to the still land.
Friday (12/21/07): Yes - Heart Of The Sunrise (Live) [Yessongs, 1973]
Comments: Q: What do you get when you combine a knife with 50 yards? A: Sharp distance! This is such a kick-ass song - my favorite Yessong, and certainly one of the best songs in all of rock. Tonight is the longest night of the year, so gear up and ride it out, and if you can, try staying up all night so that you can view the heart of the most important sunrise of the year!
Saturday (12/22/07): Cream - Sunshine Of Your Love (Live) [BBC Sessions, recorded 1967]
Comments: Let the Cream bring a little sunshine into your life! Congratulations, you've endured the longest night of the year, and from here on out, the days will grow longer. Everytime you curse the cold, and the lack of sunshine, remember that the spring is a little bit closer.
Sunday (12/23/07): Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Can't Stop The Sun [The Last DJ, 2002]
Comments: The closing track from Tom Petty's phenomenal concept album, The Last DJ, about the evils of the modern music industry. You can't stop the sun from shining. Its power is beyond us. But it nurtures us, so we will continue to revere it as it continues its cycle through the seasons until long after the day we're all dead (speaking to the people that are alive right now to read this blog - I'm not about to make some kind of ridiculous prophesy about what's gonna happen long after my life is spent - I'm not that arrogant). :)