Christmas gift from Kenny Rogers: a beautiful, mesmerizing spiritual

Younger people — cough, “millennials,” cough, cough — may only know Kenny Rogers as the old man in a TV commercial who drives his poker cronies up the wall by singing “You’ve gotta know when to hold them” during every single hand. Perhaps the younger set are learning some sound poker advice, but it’s really too bad that the Kenny Rogers they know is really just a caricature of his old self.

Kenny Rogers’ old self is nothing to sneeze at. The singer, now nearly 80 years old, is a totemic figure in the world of country music and his musical career spanning the years from the mid-1950s until his official retirement in 2015. Interestingly, he did some rock and roll and even psychedelic rock before finding his place as a country-pop crossover artist. He went solo in 1976 and was at the peak of his career through the 1980s. Rogers has earned countless accolades, including Grammy Awards, various country music awards, and a well-deserved place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. On top of all that, he’s sold an amazing 165 million albums!

Before retiring, Kenny Rogers released his sixth Christmas album “Once Again It’s Christmas.” For one song, “Children Go Where I Send Thee,” Rogers was joined by the a capella group Home Free. The song is an old African-American spiritual also known as “The Holy Baby” and “Born in Bethlehem.” Rogers and Home Free deliver a lively interpretation of the song, grooving right along with the powerful beat. Afterward, there’s some chit-chat and in response to being called a legend, a very much alive Kenny Rogers quips, “‘Legend’ sounds like I’m dead.” But he then graciously thanks the group for helping him with the performance.

Check out the music video of Kenny Rogers’ “Children Go Where I Send Thee” that we’ve posted below for you. If this doesn’t get your toes tapping, then nothing will!

How did you like country legend Kenny Rogers’ version of this traditional spiritual? Let’s hear from you in the comments at Facebook. Don’t forget to like and share!