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Sunday, April 12, 2015

My First Favorite Songs

(For politics, please scroll down)

I was 2.5 years old when I discovered this song. During Hurricane Hazel while we were on vacation, my parents and I were stranded in West Virginia in a diner with a juke box. Finally, the manager of the diner set the jukebox to play "This Old House" non-stop (1954):


Love that honky tonk piano!

The story behind "This Old House"

And this one, which sold one million copies of Tennessee Ernie's version faster than any other record release, was another of my early favorites (1955):


The story behind "Sixteen Tons"

20 comments:

  1. I remember 16 tons, Tom Dooley, Streets of Loredo always on the radio...

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  2. 16 tons has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it as a child.
    Dad and granddad were coal miners, but not in my lifetime.
    They got paid by the ton.
    Dad's carbide lamp sits on my mantle.

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  3. Merle Travis is a legend. The Travis pick, and Travis picking is named for him, as he is considered the father of that style of finger picking the guitar.

    Thanks to talented men and women like him, a great piece of American folklore has been preserved in song.

    Stuart Hamblin's story of how he got the idea for This Old House is downright creepy. Hamblin's another good 'un, as is Tennessee Ernie Ford. What an era.

    People today young and old recreate their music and pass it along, and there are whole genres where younger folks write new songs that purposely imitate the old styles.

    Long live our Americana folk traditions!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. fwiw, Chet Atkins was inspired by Merle Travis, named his daughter Merle. Tommy Emmanuel was inspired by Chet (as were thousands) If you get a chance to see Tommy, I highly recommend it. Plays 300 concerts all over the world every year. Likely he will be close to you at some point. Click on Tours - http://www.tommyemmanuel.com/

      Delete
  4. My mom was a nightclub singer in the 40s in the Detroit area, and sang many songs around the house when I was a child.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I DIDN'T KNOW the GUN WAS LOADED

    The Andrews Sisters

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqgr6ZzB140

    Patsy Montana

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vSfqR3Hyxc

    Oh Miss Effie was her name
    Through the west she won her fame
    Being handy with the gun
    But she drove the men insane.
    'Cause she'd whip out her pistol
    And shoot most any guy
    And sing out this alibi.


    I didn't know the gun was loaded
    And I'm so sorry my friend
    I didn't know the gun was loaded
    And I'll never, never do it again.


    But one night she made a slip
    Shot the sheriff in the hip
    So the law, it took a hand
    And made Effie take the stand.
    And she pled, "Oh, your honor
    I'll know you'll turn me loose
    When you hear my one excuse."


    I didn't know the gun was loaded
    And I'm so sorry my friend
    I didn't know the gun was loaded
    And I'll never, never do it again.


    I didn't know (she didn't know)
    The gun was loaded (that the gun was loaded)
    But regarding the gun that I toted.
    All I did was hold it high
    And go (4 simulated firing sounds)
    I'll never, never do it again.


    Yes, the jury all agreed
    That Miss Effie should be freed
    But the sheriff's jealous wife
    Was indignant (yes, indeed)
    So she borrowed a pistol
    And shot this village belle
    And sang as Miss Effie fell.


    I didn't know the gun was loaded
    And I'm so sorry my friend
    I didn't know the gun was loaded
    And I'll never, never do it again.


    I didn't know (she didn't know)
    The gun was loaded (that the gun was loaded)
    But regarding the gun that I toted
    All I did was hold it high
    And go (4 simulated firing sounds)
    I'll never, never do it again.





    NOTE:

    The three Andrews Sisters (LaVerne, Maxine and Patty) started their careers during the 1930s. They were born in Mound, Minnesota USA. Interestingly, the
    three girls had different vocal ranges, perhaps a bit unusual considering the fact that they were all born within 7 years of each other (soprano, mezzo and contralto). The Sisters were known for their outstanding support of the allied troops during WWII, working onsite as well as recording on V-Discs. They performed over the radio and made numerous personal appearances on TV as well as many charitable functions. They cut over 700 songs, selling over 90 million records.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FT,
      I was introduced to the work of the Andrews Sisters via some of Bing Crosby's tunes. Remember "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"?

      Delete
  6. Hi, came over from Bunkerville. First comment. Been reading a while. I remember Rosemary and her songs and Ernie and his. And how about this from '52... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb2p7kW2__M

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Unit.. That harmony is fabulous...One of The Ink Spots was about 90 yrs old when he and an entourage came into a club where I sang once in a while...Apparently, he'd.asked to talk to me after my set and so I was guided to his table...where they told me who he was and he complimented me....Man, THAT felt GOOD! :-)

      Ed, that your mother was a nightclub singer! Fabulous! And I'll bet you heard a LOT at home....

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    2. Z, of course I new here. Yeah I remember the Ink Spots as well.
      But since you know I come over from Bunkerville you wont be surprised when I say...folks in charge should listen to...
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6l6vqPUM_FE
      :)

      Delete
    3. that's a terrific tune...thanks for linking it!

      Delete
    4. The Unit,
      Hello!

      Thank you for adding those two links. I am particularly partial to the work done by the Mills Brothers. Smooth and intricate harmonies.

      Delete
  7. I'm kind of surprised THIS OLD HOUSE is so peppy, considering the sentiment of the songwriter in that video and the words, you know? I can hear it so plaintively done........but there isn't anything Clooney did BAD!
    Love 16 TONS!.....

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Unit.. That harmony is fabulous....I One of The Ink Spots was about 100 yrs old and came into a club where I sang from time to time....asked to talk to me after my set and so I was guided to his table...where they told me who he was and he complimented me....Man, THAT felt GOOD! :-)

    Ed, that your mother was a nightclub singer! Fabulous! And I'll bet you heard a LOT at home....

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm kind of surprised THIS OLD HOUSE is so peppy, considering the sentiment of the songwriter in that video and the words, you know? I can hear it so plaintively done........but there isn't anything Clooney did BAD!
    Love 16 TONS!.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Z,
      For years as a child, I had no idea what "This Old House" was really about because, as you said, Clooney's version is so peppy.

      Delete
  11. I was an very young fan

    Also liked Tom Dooley but we had the Grayson & Whitter record from the days when fiddle was king in American folk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duck,
      I discovered Jimmie Rodgers, long after his death, through my mother's still-playable 78 RPM Hobo Bill's Last Ride. Mom bought that record when the tune was first released in 1929.

      Jimmie Rodgers -- real country music!

      And, yes, I still have that record and the RCA Victrola on which to play it.

      Delete

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