The Best Tone in the World II: Christmas Special! Mike Oldfield
In dulce jubilo – Latin for ‘in sweet rejoicing’ is a Christmas carol, apparently written in 1328 by a German mystic called Heinrich Seuse. The original lyrics are notable (and really cool) because they are half in Latin and half in German.
In dulci jubilo,
Nun singet und seid froh!
Unsers Herzens Wonne
Leit in praesepio;
Und leuchtet wie die Sonne Matris in gremio. Alpha es et O!
The Latin here is in italics. In English, it would be something like: In sweet rejoicing/ Let’s sing and be happy/ The joy of our hears/ lies in the manger;/ And you shine like the sun/ In your mother’s lap./ You’re our first, our last, our everything!
Sorry for the Barry White reference there, but we don’t really say Alpha and Omega anymore.
Anyway, most of us know this from Mike Oldfield and his 1976 Christmas hit, and I want to celebrate the superthick, wooly brightness of his Gibson SG Junior on the track from about one and a half minutes in.
I’m not the world’s biggest Oldfield fan – though I have played five-a-sides with Maggie Reilly’s son – but this tone is my pumpkin spiced latte. When it gets time to hearing Oldfield’s saturated lines, I know Christmas is just around the corner. To my ear, there’s something warm and medieval about it. Like nutmeg for the ears.
It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve realised that this is probably a double-tracked guitar, rather than a chorus or delay on a single guitar. It might be even straight into an amp, as it kind of reminds me of positive experiences I’ve had with MESA Boogies in the past.
Merry Christmas, Tone Folks, I hope you get what you deserve!