Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My parents' music

The Oregon guy has once again sent me wandering down memory lane with one little sentence: "Remember your parents' record collection? It was usually composed of one type of music; usually pretty bland and white-bread."
I thought far back to my childhood in Iowa. I might have been six years old when one of the local one-room schoolhouses either closed its doors or upgraded their music. However it happened, my parents bought their wind-up phonograph and a whole collection of 78 RPM records. The record player looked very much like the one in the above picture.
I recall some Al Jolson records, and one of American Indians doing songs in their native tongue. There was another record I loved to play when friends visited: It started out with one man laughing; then other people joined in, and before you know it there seemed to be a roomful of people laughing so hard they were crying. Even though I must have played it a hundred times, I could never keep from laughing along when I heard it. It affected everybody else the same way. Infectious laughter at its best.
The wind-up Victrola went through needles like crazy, and we bought them by the box; this was before the days of diamond needles.
My parents didn't buy a lot of records... I don't imagine they could afford to. But the ones they did buy surely have stuck with me.
There was one record album (yes, in those days they really were albums that held six two-sided records) of Little Jimmy Dickens. My favorite song on that collection was "Country Boy"; I especially loved the line where, when the preacher came for chicken dinner, all Jimmy got was "the gizzard and the north end of a chicken flying south."
div>There was a George Morgan set that I believe had several songs mentioning roses in their context. The one I remember best is "Roomful of Roses".
Wikipedia tells me that song was released in 1949, and reached number 4 on the Billboard country charts. "Candy Kisses" was another of his songs I played a lot.
There was "Bluebird on My Windowsill," which my dad would often burst out singing when he was happy.
We had Red Foley's "Two Cents, Three Eggs, and a Postcard", which I believe I can still sing word for word. Many, many years later, I met a lady who was a member, as I was at the time, of "Kansas City Songwriters". She came out to our house with some friends of hers, a married couple; she introduced me to them and, motioning to the man, she said, "He's written a song."
The man said, "Yeah, it's the only song I ever wrote in my life; 'Two Cents, Three eggs, and a Postcard."
He proceeded to sing some of it, and I began singing along.
The guy obviously wasn't old enough to have written the song, and his face turned fiery red at being caught in a lie; we'd just met, and I knew all the words to "his" song. It was a rather awkward moment, to say the least.


Amy said...

My mom was a big Bobby Vinton/Tom Jones fan, but my grandma was the one with all the jams. I still know the words to the classic country songs....

The Guy Who Writes This said...

Nice memory, Donna. Thanks for sharing and for the plug.

Paula said...

we didn't have any records in our house until I graduated high school and went to work. With my first paycheck I went to Sears and bought a little recorder player and Elvis Presley's first two 45's on Sun records.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

My parents didn't have any records but, oh, how my daddy loved to hear Hank Williams sing.