Released October 24, 2011
8 min, 49 sec
Clarence Clemons’s solo career is not nearly as iconic and well-regarded as his tenure with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, mostly because of a lack of exposure for his music than any lack of musical ability. I admit that I myself have not delved into his solo music, something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. One little bit of music that I do have, however, is this EP.
Released the October after Clemons’s death in 2011, There’s Still Christmas is a sweet little holiday-themed EP, featuring two renditions of the traditional “Christmas Song” alongside an original song written specifically for Clemons. The EP was recorded in 1981, during downtime for Clemons, but the songs were never released, as the timing wasn’t right, and the recordings fell by the wayside. When Clemons died, however, the songwriters dug up the recordings and decided to release them, as a tribute of their own to him.
“There’s Still Christmas” is a simple, joyous track. Clemons, in his deep baritone voice, extolls the positivity of the holiday, noting that it is a time for family and peace. It’s just as good a holiday track as any other that gains airplay around this time of year, and it’s a touching song to listen to in the wake of Clemons’s passing.
Clemons busts out his famed saxophone for the two renditions of “The Christmas Song” that round out the EP. The first version is a simple run through, built entirely around the tenor sax, while the extended cut extends the song by way of several piano interludes that break up Clemons’s otherwise-constant solo. Again, simple, but appropriate for the holiday and very, very nice to listen to.
As one of the only pieces of Clemons music released after his passing, There’s Still Christmas is a touching tribute and demonstration of Clarence Clemons, the solo artist, a man many may not have been familiar with, given the long, long shadow that Springsteen had a tendency to cast over his bandmates, unintentional as it may be. For Springsteen fans, it’s another few tracks to spin for the Christmas season.
Merry Christmas from iTunes, A to Z, everybody.