Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Rare 2020 Summer Day Spent in the 18th Century: Visiting Mill Race Village and the Navarre Trading Post

I had not been in my period clothing since July 4th - it is 49 days from July 4 to August 22!---that's a mighty long time for me,  and not one I wish to repeat.
So,  yeah,  it was on the 22nd of August when a few of us,  who were biting at the bit to get into our 18th century clothing,  did just that,  and upon putting on my knee breeches,  waistcoat,  jacket,  cocked hat,  and buckled shoes,  my wife Patty asked me,  "How does it feel?"
I didn't have to answer.  She knew just by looking at me.
There were only four of us who went to historic Mill Race Village on that steamy hot Saturday morning.  It was nice to be able to visit with each other  'neath the shade of the trees.  It can be plainly seen that Mill Race Village leans Victorian,  though our attire was of  the Revolutionary War period.  However,  there are a few buildings there that can easily pass as 18th century,  such as the Cady Inn,  the Blacksmith Shop,  and even the facade of the Hunter House.
So,  as it were,  Citizens of the American Colonies members Jackie,  Mark,  Deb,  and myself enjoyed a very peaceful summer morning as we walked along the dirt road,  inspected the gardens,  and savored the sound of  the nearby creek rushing along its merry way.
The four of us who made it to Mill Race Village standing in front 
of the 1831 Cady Inn.  You would swear it was built much earlier.
A few visitors walking through the park came up to us,  inquiring about why we were there,  the clothing we had on,  and actually thanking us for being there.  One young mother who was with her husband and six year old son was very happy to see us,  and we had a wonderful conversation about the Revolutionary era,  speaking of not only the founding fathers but of the local Indian tribes as well,  for Mark,  whose ancestry is of  the Native Osage tribe,  portrays an east coast/New York Oneida Indian when he comes out as a Citizens of the American Colonies member,  so the young man we were speaking to received a fun history-lesson-come-to-life.
The Oneida's are an indigenous nation of Native American people
whose sacred and sovereign homelands are located in Central 

New York.  The Nation was a key ally of the United States during
the Revolutionary War.

For Mark,  this fits in perfectly with our reenacting group.

The ladies spent time in the garden.

Shrubs,  flowers,  and herbs all grew together in colonial days.  
Plants were important not only for their beauty but also for their 
domestic,  cosmetic,  and medicinal uses.

If you look closely you can see streetlights that some may say
takes away from a possible 18th century ambience.
But that's not necessarily true...
While the colonial countryside remained dark after nightfall for at least another century,  American cities in the mid-1700s experimented with illumination of streets and walkways,  inventing fixtures that later influenced all forms of exterior lighting throughout the country.
Lighting between 1700 and 1775 included candles,  torches,  and oil lamps.

Reflections of...the way life used to be.
And,  yes,  before anyone chastises us,  we did remain six+ feet away from all visitors.
It sure did feel good to go back - - -

Well,  with the buildings closed up,  there was only so much one could do at Mill Race so I suggested heading down to the 1789 Navarre-Anderson Trading Post in Monroe.  Jackie liked the idea but,  unfortunately,  Mark and Debbie were not able to come along,  so just she and I travelled the hour or so route to continue our time in the past.
There is a neat little wooden bridge-to-the-past to walk over upon 
entering the site.

And then,  looming out before me,  was the 1789 trading post,  
the 1810 cook house,  and the replicated 1790’s French-Canadian 
style barn.
We had a nice little surprise upon arriving:  as we parked the car we saw a young woman dressed in what looked to me to be Regency clothing,  which took us a bit off guard.  But,  in walking into the area we saw a small group of Regency reenactors sitting underneath a fly.  We were just as startled as they upon seeing each other.  In speaking with the group we learned they were indeed of the War of 1812 era,  and were specifically portraying 1817 and were their to be a part of a photo/film shoot as an advertisement for the Monroe County Historical Museum.
The ladies were very welcoming to us and explained a bit more 
about the era they reenact.
It was an interesting twist of the time-space continuum,  for their representation and our representation easily fit the period of the structures.
Though not necessarily together.
I am not sure whether or not the ladies were part of 
the actual film shoot,  but their presence added 
the extra bit of atmosphere to help it come alive.

The cook house,  from 1810,  was opened up,  though
no one was allowed in unless they were a part of
the film shoot.

JJ,  who has been reenacting multiple eras for decades,
generally doing the Civil War period,  was also there.
Here he was overseeing the baking of bread in the
beehive oven next to the cook house.

I took a few quick shots of my own of the woman
taking the bread out of the oven.
A beehive oven is a type of oven used since the Middle Ages in Europe,  and it was later brought to North America.  The oven is a dome-shaped brick structure that looks a bit like an insect's nest,  hence the name  'beehive'.  The dome shape traps heat in the oven so food cooks evenly.
Standing about 15-20 feet away,  the scent of the 
bread wafted over to us...and it smelled wonderful.

I was quite surprised to see Jim Johnson,  the director of historic
Greenfield Village,  amongst the other reenactors.  But then
again,  he was also surprised to see me,  for I usually head out to
the Village when dressed as I was without a reenactment going on.
I have seen Jim numerous times in his Regency clothing during
special events at Greenfield Village,  but never anywhere else,  so
this was great to see.

Well,  since we drove all that way down to Monroe,  we decided to take the opportunity to make the most of our time there.  Unfortunately,  like at Mill Race,  the buildings were closed to the public,  so we could not go inside this time.
Dressed in our 1770s clothing and standing on the stoop of
a building erected in 1789.

Yeah...it never gets old,  if you know what I mean.

The Navarre–Anderson complex was established by the early French settlers Francois Navarre and John Anderson,  who were among the first to settle the area of present-day Monroe.
JJ and Jackie
JJ is also proficient at various period instruments,  including fife,  

penny whistle,  and fiddle playing.

Now,  because it is so large and spacious,  they did have the replicated 1790s barn opened up,  so we took advantage of  that.
The original 1790s barn was razed long ago,  so with their
research they were able to replicate what it may have looked like.

Since I often portray a rural man of the later 18th century - generally a farmer - I had to get at least one picture of myself  with a barrel soon to be filled with the popular and sustaining drink.
Apple picking time is nigh,  and making cider will soon be a top priority.

A farmer was pretty self-sufficient for the most part.  He was either able to make what was needed himself or he knew of someone who could make it for him,  and then bartering could take place.
Yes,  in my real life I have done some simple wood working, 
including making a type of bowl or trencher,  though for these two
pictures I was only posing.

By the way,  the coat you see me wearing here I purchased at
Samson's Historical.  However,  I had my future daughter-in-law
take it apart and hand sew it back together to help give it an
even closer period look.
No,  she told me it was not a very easy job to do.  I do
appreciate her work for I love how it looks.

One more picture in front of the only actual native-to-Michigan
18th century building in the lower peninsula still standing.

Even though this was not a true reenactment for us,  it felt great to not only get back into period clothing,  but be with friends amongst historic buildings,  even with the oppressive heat.
And the few modern folks who came up to us and asked a few historical questions,  both at Mill Race and in Monroe,  sort of topped it all off.
The feeling afterward was similar to having spent a day at an actual reenactment.
But no more will I go 49 days without having some time-travel experiences.
No more.
In fact,  there are a few fall living history events planned on the horizon for September and October...and maybe even in November.  I really hope they come to pass.
Prayers that this will continue to happen.

Until next time,  see you in time.

To read more about the Oneida tribes,  please click HERE
To read more about the Osage Nation,  please click HERE

~   ~   ~

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Music Through Time: From the Collection of Ken

For me it's The Jaynetts  "Sally Go Round the Roses"  from late summer 1963.  Every single time I hear the opening notes,  I am mentally swept back to our house in Detroit,  the one we lived in until 1968.  And as soon as the vocals start my thoughts head right to when I was a very small child,  even remembering where I was in the house,  including my surroundings,  as this song was playing.
Yes,  the memory is there---every time.
Music can do this.

~   ~   ~

History is so much more than those few words written in a textbook.  History is alive with sights,  smells,  touches,  tastes,  and,  yes,  sounds.  The sounds of the clip-clopping of horses and the creak of a wagon,  the chime of a clock,  the clanging of iron pots and cooking tools in the hearth,  the snorting of pigs,  clucking of hens,  bleating of goats,  the banging of a blacksmith's hammer,  the rumbling of the gristmill's grindstones,  the whistle of a steam locomotive,  the snapping and crackling of a fire in the fireplace,  the thumping of period shoes upon 200 year old floorboards...and the entertaining sounds of music...music from the past.
Without realizing it,  I began to show interest in historic music as a teen,  back in the 1970s,  when two contemporary albums in particular whetted my interest in the musical sounds of long ago:  Moody Blues - Days of Future Past and Jethro Tull - Songs From the Wood.  In fact,  both albums are noted later in this posting,  explaining their influence on my expanding eclectic musical tastes.
My passion for music - older music - goes much deeper than most would realize...I kind of even surprise myself sometimes on what I listen to.

The following actually began as a daily posting on Facebook - I mostly posted albums from the 1960s and 70s---music from my youth - but then I thought of  listening to and writing about some of the even older music I have in my collection,  which I thought would make an interesting project and blog article.  So,  as I wrote this out,  I listened to much of the music you see listed here,  for each re-inspired me.
Now let's take a musical journey back in time--roughly in chronological order of the era,  not necessarily when the CD/record was released.
You may be surprised where we'll end up:
Medieval music consists of songs,  instrumental pieces,  and 
liturgical music from about 500 A.D.  to around 1400,  and 
Renaissance music,  likewise,  is vocal and instrumental music 
written and performed in Europe during the Renaissance era,  
with the general consensus among music historians has been to 
start the era around 1400,  with the end of the medieval era,  and 
to close it around 1600.
And what a fine representation of music this is! 
According to what I've read,  "the music here is completely 
authentic ... taken from authentic sources.  The New London 
Consort is one of the world's leading early music ensembles with 
wide and colorful repertoire of Medieval,  Renaissance,  and 
Baroque music,  much of it unpublished.  The instruments are 
modern reproductions of early instruments - all set in low pitch.  
All authentic.  {The few instruments that survive from this era are 
unplayable.  That's why we play reproductions}.  We carefully go 
over ancient manuscripts,  ancient collections of music,  surviving 
ancient instruments,  ancient paintings,  ancient music instruction 
books,  and similar records ... and come up with something that 
sounds a lot like this."

I have a number of CDs by this couple,  including a Christmas 
CD.  Whereas many contemporary Renaissance artists tend to add 
modern touches to their recordings - I can never figure out why 
they do that,  to be honest - Anne & Rob Burns really do a 
fine job staying in  "their time."  Now,  having not ever actually 
time-traveled back to the 1500s,  I can only surmise this is what a 
simple band of musicians would have sounded like,  perhaps in a 
town gathering,  so until we know for absolute certain,  this is 
good enough for me.

Bocca Musica is known today more for their bawdy & 
naughty songs than the more traditional British Isles/Gaelic/Celtic  (pronounced with a  "hard C" - like  'k'eltic)  
music they started off with.
As you can probably guess,  I prefer the early,  more tight 
harmony and madrigal style of vocalizing heard here,  such as 
Tanzen und Springen,  Weep Weep O' Mine Eyes,  Nancy,  and 
even the Christmas madrigal Riu Riu Chiu.
Now,  did your average person(s)  of the period sing as good and 
tight as this?  Probably not,  but the songs performed here  (and 
on their other early CDs)  are all from a time before the American 
colonies,  and therefore evokes and emits a sort of immersion of 
period-past sound from the British Isles.

In the mid-1970s I was able to purchase a higher grade stereo 
with super hi-fidelity  (for its time)  sound.  Upon listening to The 
Moody Blues Days of Future Passed,  I was astounded at the 
quality of the classical music intertwined with the more 
pop/rock.  I could hear each instrument as clear as if I were in the 
studio with them.  That's when I decided to explore other classical 
music.  Hence:  Super Hits of  1720.  I figured these were  "hit 
songs"  of the day and I surely would recognize at least one or two.
I did!
And more,  for it helps to had a grandfather who listened to this 

genre when I was young,  so it was already in the recesses of my mind.

So,  as time went on,  I began purchasing more and more classical 
music - - just the hits,  mind you.  And what could be a bigger hit 
than Eine Kleine Nachtmusik?  I also learned that Telarc was an 
amazing label who was releasing music in the digital format  
(you'll read about digital recordings momentarily)

With a warning about the digital cannons during the 1812 
Overture,  I knew this one was a must.  I was not let down.  The 
entire recording is beautifully done,  but the capper is the end of 
the overture,  for when those cannons come on booming the way 
they do,  all other version before this sounded like cap guns. I 
now use this CD as my speaker-tester.  I figure if speakers can 
handle this cranked,  then they can handle anything.
Of course I've added Bach,  Beethoven,  Vivaldi,  and all the big classical hitmakers to my collection,  covering the 17th,  18th,  and 19th centuries aside from these three collections.

Listening  to America's past through music.
A history in sound---
Hesperus is an early music and traditional music ensemble.  It 
was founded in 1979 to play early European music,  American 
traditional music,  and crossover fusions of the two,  as well as 
British and Spanish Colonial music. 
The diversity of ancient tunes they choose, from the 1600s 
through the 1700s,  are all of high quality and, 
as I've read,  done historically accurate.  I actually saw them 
perform with Michigan's own Bonnie Rideout many years ago,  
and though I love Ms. Rideout's music,  I became a big fan of 
Hesperus as well. 
It's good to hear the sounds of America's early colonial past.  
I wonder if Mr.  Giddings enjoyed music of this sort?

Or...I wonder if this next CD might've been more appropriate at the home of John Giddings,  mayhaps during a New Year's celebration.
David & Ginger Hildebrande - "Over the Hills and Far 
Away,"  consists of folk & tavern music that spans 
much of the 18th century of the American colonies and Europe.  
The recordings,  often using original period instruments,  are 
done in the traditional style of the later 1700s,  mentally taking 
me back to a time I can only wish to travel to.
And the music herein helps that wish to come true.
This CD finds its way into my player quite often,  for the 
Hildebrands' seem to have taken great pains to represent 
America's musical past pretty authentically.

This is not necessarily as traditional sounding as I had hoped;  it 
definitely has a contemporary flair to it.  However,  it does have a 
few tunes I've not seen  (or heard)  elsewhere at the time of 
purchase,  such as I'll Give My Love An Apple and 
The Water Is Wide.
It plays as nice background music when you have guests over 
who may have a harder time listening to the more traditional 
sounding music of the past.

I've been a fan of Linda Russell's since the 1980s and have her 
entire catalogue of music in my collection.  She is a musical 
historian who reminds me of someone I might have heard inside a 
tavern late at night.  Her voice is strong,  her musicianship is 
exceptional and varied,  and her song selection is of the  "greatest 
hits"  sort,  which I am happy for:  Soldier Will You Marry Me,  
The Derby Ram,  The Road to Boston,  and Hangman  (which 
Led Zeppelin also recorded as Gallows Pole),  to name a few.
One of my favorites.

Another collection by Hesperus is a sort of Part Two of the previous collection I mentioned earlier.  This CD concentrates a bit heavier on colonial America and covers a wider range in period musical styles,  including music halls,  parlors,  and ballrooms,  as well as from where this music came from.

Dean Shostak - "Davy Crockett's Fiddle,"  consisting of music 
from the late 18th and early 19th century as played on what is 
believed to be the actual restored fiddle once belonging to Davy 
Crockett,  which is very cool in itself.  All other instruments used 
are roughly from around the same period of Davy Crockett's life - 
early 1800s.

Music written by America's most prolific songwriter,  Stephen 
Foster,  that may have been heard in the front parlor or at social 
gatherings of young people.
I came across this wonderful CD on a fluke search and ordered it 
after only listening to a few samples.  Amy Miller and Carson 
Hudson have tried to replicate the way that Americans would 
have actually heard this music in the 1840s, '50s and '60s, hoping 
that you enjoy their attempt at a musical time machine to 
mid-19th century America.

For Wayne Erbsen & Laura Boosinger's  "Love Songs of the 
Civil War,"  traditional period-reproduction instruments were 
used in making this recording,  which includes the well-known 
tunes of the mid-19th century such as Johnny Is Gone For A 
Soldier,  Darling Nelly Grey,  Bright Sunny South,  Faded Coat of 
Blue,  and a host of others.
Wayne's voice is different...homey,  while Laura's is smooth.  
They fit well together.

Here is a great CD called American Folk Songbook by Suzy 
Bogguss that covers the mid-to-late 19th century,  and since I purchased it in 2019  I've probably played it at least 50 times - no exaggeration.  
It's a collection of old American folk songs,  a few of which I remember singing in music class at Deerfield Elementary  (15 Miles on the Erie Canal and Old Dan Tucker),  some that we had in the music books from our old Magnus organ  (Sweet Betsy From Pike,  Shenandoah,  Beautiful Dreamer),  plus other old-timey numbers (Swing Low Sweet Chariot,  Banks of the Ohio,  Rock Island Line,  Shady Grove...) - - just a kaboodle of fun old tunes done in an old style with a contemporary fling.
True Americana that will be back in the CD player again today.
I am loving it!
Yes,  I do have eclectic musical tastes....

As we move into the 20th century,  there are noticeable changes in music...and these changes tend to occur with every new decade,  unlike music from previous centuries,  which,  without radio,  jukeboxes,  and mass production of records,  changed at a much slower pace.  So you will notice a larger variety in a shorter amount of time,  especially in the rock and roll era.
Moving forward in time,  and at the same time,  hearkening 
back...to the turn of the 20th century,  I have this wonderful 
collection of music that immediately brings to mind the big wheel 
bicycle,  the trolley,  the horse and carriage,  and the early 
automobile.   Ragtime is a musical style that enjoyed its peak 
popularity between 1895 and 1919.  Its cardinal trait is 
its syncopated or  "ragged"  rhythm.  
As is written in the liner notes:
"All of the ragtime solos on this disc were published and are 
played in arrangements which adhere to the original sheet music 
in varying degrees."
The majority of these songs were published within the 
time-frame noted above.

We are now entering a very unique era:  the age of sound recording:
The history of sound recording - which has progressed in waves,  driven by the invention and commercial introduction of new technologies — can be roughly divided into four main periods:
the  "Acoustic"  era,  1877 to 1925
the  "Electrical"  era,  1925 to 1945
the  "Magnetic"  era,  1945 to 1975
the  "Digital"  era,  1975 to the present day.
Experiments of capturing sound on a recording medium for preservation and reproduction began in earnest during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s.  Many pioneering attempts to record and reproduce sound were made during the latter half of the 19th century,  and these efforts culminated in the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877.
Now,  though Thomas Edison was not the first to record 
sound,  he was the first to actually invent a machine that 
would play it back.
That makes all the difference in the world.
So our next stop will be in  "the acoustic era:"
The earliest practical recording technologies were entirely mechanical devices.  These recorders typically used a large conical horn to collect and focus the physical air pressure of the sound waves produced by the human voice or musical instruments.  These early recordings were necessarily of low fidelity and volume,  and captured only a narrow segment of the audible sound spectrum,  so musicians and engineers were forced to adapt to these sonic limitations.  Bands of the period often favoured louder instruments such as trumpet,  cornet,  and trombone,  lower-register brass instruments  (such as the tuba)  replaced the string bass.
The reproduction of domestic phonographs was similarly limited in both frequency-range and volume.
The late Bob Talbert was once a very popular Detroit Free Press 
columnist who wrote of generally upbeat daily life news...and 
made it interesting.  Back in the early 1990s,  Mr. Talbert used to 
shop at the record store where I worked  (Record Time),  and he 
& I would chat about music.  He was always looking for 
something different to listen to.  One day I offered to make him a 
cassette collection of original early 20th century recordings,  
which he gladly accepted.  However,  I told him that he could not 
listen to this music with modern ears,  that to fully appreciate 
what he was hearing he had to place himself back in the time 
from when they were originally released...with  "new"  ears.
He came back a week later and told me he did exactly as I said 
and that gave him a totally different perspective on what he was 
listening to,  which were no longer hissy,  scratchy,  tinny,  
ancient recordings,  but,  rather,  a brand new phenomena of 
recorded sound coming from a Victrola or Gramophone.
I still take my own advice when listening to this music.
Imagine the excitement! 

By the end of the acoustic era,  the flat disc rather than the cylinder had become the standard medium for sound recording,  and its dominance in the domestic audio market lasted until the end of the 20th century.
Nipper's Greatest Hits collection.
In the 1990s,  RCA released this collection of 90 years of popular 
music,  beginning at the turn of the 20th century and going up to 
the 1980s  (no '90s music collection,  unfortunately),  and all are 
original recordings,  including those from the earliest years.  The 
biggest hits abound for each decade,  so it's not like you are just 
listening to old and obscure records.
If I had one complaint it would be that from the 1920s through 
the 1980s,  each decade gets two discs of music,  while 1900 to 
1919 only gets a total of 20 songs on one CD.  I know there are 
plenty of original recordings from the first two decades of the 
1900s that could have been included  (I found them on other 
collections elsewhere),  so they were a bit chincy here.  As for the 
rest of the decades,  however,  they did an amazing job.
I love collecting the older original music that my parents,  
grandparents,  great grandparents,  and even great great 
grandparents heard back when these tunes were popular.  
I recall my grandpa having an old horn phonograph but I don't 
remember what had happened to it.  Maybe my older siblings 
know more about that.  I suppose I'll find out...if they read this  (lol).
His Master's Voice indeed.

Wonder what song they're playing?

I'll be the first to admit that I have a rather eclectic collection of 
tunes in my music library.  It's difficult for me to only listen to 
one style of music;  I'm all over the historical musical map,  as 
you've probably noticed.
And as a historian,  it's only natural for me to seek out the 
sounds of the past.
A good example of my eccentric tastes can be seen (and heard) in 
this set - 'Songs of WWI: From Original Recordings 1914-1926.'
This double CD compilation begins with a song most every one 
of us may be at least somewhat familiar with,  if in melody only  
(especially if you've watched  "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie 
Brown"):  It's A Long Way To Tipperary  (remember when 
Snoopy,  the WWI Flying Ace,  danced to Schroeder's piano 
playing?  Yeah...this was the song).  Follow that with Pack Up 
Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag & Smile Smile Smile,  
Over There,  Til We Meet Again,  The Caissons Go Rolling 
Along,  Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts For Soldiers,  I Didn't Raise 
My Boy To Be A Soldier,  How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down On 
The Farm...40 original recordings in all.
A bonafide sense of a time-travel experience through sound with 
the actual hit tunes of the era of my grandparents 
not re-recordings.
This is a favorite and a must have.

The decade of the 1920s was probably the one with the biggest change of any ten year period of the 20th century.   The spirit of the Roaring Twenties was marked by a general feeling of novelty associated with modernity and a break with tradition.  Everything seemed to be feasible through modern technology.
This period saw the large-scale development and use of automobiles,  telephones,  movies,  radio,  and electrical appliances being installed in the lives of millions of Westerners.  Aviation soon became a business.  Nations saw rapid industrial and economic growth,  accelerated consumer demand,  and introduced significantly new changes in lifestyle and culture.  The media,  funded by the new industry of mass-market advertising driving consumer demand,  focused on celebrities,  especially sports heroes and movie stars,  as cities rooted for their home teams and filled the new palatial cinemas and gigantic sports stadiums.
Immortalized in movies and magazine covers,  young women's fashions of the 1920s set both a trend and social statement,  a breaking-off from the rigid Victorian way of life.  These young,  rebellious,  middle-class women,  labeled  'flappers'  by older generations,  did away with the corset and donned slinky knee-length dresses,  which exposed their legs and arms.
One thing I did learn was the fringe we always see women wearing in the movies was mostly one of those Hollywood-isms.  From the hilarious depiction of flappers in Singin’ in the Rain from 1952 to the Great Gatsby film in 2013,  the modern vision of the flapper dress has been reinvented over and over again to suit our retrospective imagination.  Historians of the period generally agree women did not wear the fringe so-well associated with the decade nearly as often as depicted.  So when you are pulling together a 1920’s costume for your next Gatsby dress party,  know this – that the fringe flapper dress was not nearly as often worn as we've been lead to believe:  they did wear them,  but it was not the defining look of the flapper.
For men,  colored or plaid two pocket work shirts,  long overcoats with wide lapels or shorter plaid mackinaw jackets,  pullover, shawl collar, cardigan knit sweaters and sweater vests for casual outfits was the fashion of the day.
And the music was all of this rolled into one - it was a whole new 
sound entirely - kind of like the way rock and roll was in the 
1950s.  Kind of like what the Beatles did for the 1960s.  
The 1920s brought new styles of music into the mainstream 
of culture;  by the 1920s,  jazz had become the dominant 
influence on America's popular music generally.
This CD covers the decade beautifully and includes the biggest 
hits by the artists who made them famous:  Yes! We Have No 
Bananas,  Bye Bye Blackbird,  Don't Bring Lulu,  Button Up 
Your Overcoat,  My Blue Heaven,  Tip Toe Through The Tulips,  
Ain't We Got Fun,  The Charleston,  Does Your Spearmint Lose 
Its Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight...42 original recordings that 
the youth of America loved but their parents hated.
The  'second wave'  of sound recording history was ushered in by the introduction of Western Electric's integrated system of electrical microphones,  electronic signal amplifiers,  and electromechanical recorders,  which was adopted by major US record labels in 1925.  Sound recording now became a hybrid process — sound could now be captured,  amplified,  filtered,  and balanced electronically,  meaning a much higher quality,  and,  thus,  more enjoyable listening pleasure,  listening experience.

Known as  the Big Bang of Country Music,"  this collection is the 
absolutely roots of this genre.  Ralph Peer was an American talent 
scout,  recording engineer,  record producer,  and music publisher 
in the 1920s and 1930s.  He is also credited with making the first 
country music recordings.  In August 1927,  while talent hunting 
in the southern states for the Victor Talking Machine Company,  
he recorded both Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family in the 
same session at a makeshift studio in Bristol,  Tennessee,  which 
became known as the Bristol sessions.
Both artists are well-represented here,  along with,  as the title 
states,  21 additional artists.
This is an amazing collection of works  (there is actually a five-cd 
box set of these recordings,  but it is a little out of my price range).   
I agree with another reviewer who said:  "A snapshot of rural 
American music was caught in an era of rapid change:  pictures 
of a past almost beyond recall,  but preserved forever in these 
magnificent recordings."
I agree - and I listen to this with my special  "period"  ears.

Music is a personal thing,  isn't it?  I suppose that's why,  when I 
hear these Depression-era songs,  I think of my own grandma as 
she cared for her daughters,  including my mom,  as well as 
cleaned the house,  made them dinner,  put them to bed,  then 
headed out to sell apples on the street for a few extra cents 
to ensure survival.  
Again,  with all the big names and hit songs,  including Happy 
Days Are Here Again,  We're In the Money,  Dream A Little 
Dream of Me,  I Found A Million Dollar Baby In A Five And Ten 
Cent Store,  Singing In The Rain,  Just A Gigolo,  All Of Me - 
two CDs worth - this collection is another wonderful time-capsule.   
When I played it for my mom,  who was born in 1929,  
she knew every word to every song.

This is a very cool and a very unique historical collection of music:
You Need Love - Muddy Waters,   I Ain't Superstitious - Howlin' 
Wolf,  I Can't Quit You Baby - Otis Rush,  Love In Vain - Robert 
Johnson,  Bulldoze Blues  (Going Up The Country) - Henry 
Thomas.  If you are a classic rocker,  I am certain you know each 
of these songs by name,  but more than likely have not heard the 
original versions from the 1920s,  30s,  40s,  and 50s.  So here are 
eighteen great original recordings you probably heard for the first 
time as done by Led Zeppelin,  The Doors,  The Rolling Stones,  
Canned Heat,  and all the other great bands of the 1960s.
Pure raw blues.
By the way,  if you can find the original 78s of these recordings,  
they are worth some big bucks.

But in the mid-1930s a new musical sound was being heard throughout the land that had the kids pouring nickels into jukeboxes,  dancing the lindy & the jitterbug: swing.
We all know that Benny Goodman was the  'King of Swing,'  but there were other artists who performed swing and  sweet music:  Glenn MiIler.
Glenn Miller and his orchestra is perhaps the most well-known 
from the Big Band era.  I remember my mom and especially my 
dad playing his music,  along with Benny Goodman and Tommy 
Dorsey and others of that ilk when I was a kid.  In fact,  I would 
say a majority of us boomers who grew up having parents who 
came of age during WWII were schooled on the music of the '30s 
and '40s in the same manner as our own kids know our music of 
the '60s and '70s.
To me,  Glenn Miller and his Orchestra was the best of them all.
When RCA Victor released this box set in the early 1990s - and it 
was pretty expensive - I bought it without question.  This 13 CD 
collection has everything Miller recorded for RCA,  including 
flipsides and alternate recordings,  and they did a fine job 
mastering it for CD.  All of his biggest hits are here:  In The 
Mood,  Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree,  At Last,  
I've Got A Gal in Kalamazoo,  Elmer's Tune,  Moonlight 
Serenade,  Jukebox Saturday Night,  American Patrol...
...and literally hundreds more.
Yeah,  this is some GREAT stuff!

A little story to tell:
Back in 1975 I was at a restaurant with my mother and grandmother,  and upon our table was a tabletop jukebox  (remember them?).  I asked my mother for a quarter,  for it was 3 plays for $.25.  My mom replied,  "As long as you're not going to play any of that rock crap,"  to which her  mother retorted with,  "Well,  your  music wasn't any better!"
Ha!  Oh,  I loved that!
You see,  my grandmother was a fan of the music from the teens and twenties,  and my mom was more of a  'swing kid'  of the 1940s. It seems there was a generation gap even before the 1960s & 70s,  as there was between my mom and me  (yes,  I did play some  "rock crap" - one song I remember playing was Bad Company's  "Feel Like Making Love,"  one of my favorite songs of that year).
I heard a lot of WWII-era music growing up.  My dad was in the 
war  (Okinawa)  and my mom was a  "V for Victory"  teen,  doing 
her part by collecting rubber,  tin,  and planting Victory gardens.  
Hearing her telling my own children about her life during WWII - 
stories I've heard since I was a kid - brought new life to her past 
for me,  for,  I must admit,  as a kid,  these stories didn't mean as 
much to me.  But as an adult,  her words meant the world.  And I 
loved how truly interested my kids were in hearing them.
This was the music,  then,  that she listened to while she was 

keeping busy working for the war effort.
And this music now means so much more to me as well.

The day I posted this next collection on Facebook was the 76th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy.  I wrote:
On June 6,  1944 the Allied Forces of Britain,  America,  Canada,  and France attacked German forces on the coast of Normandy,  France.  With a huge force of over 150,000 soldiers,  the Allies attacked and gained a victory that became the turning point for World War II in Europe.
So my  "Music from Ken's Collection"  for today is a special box set:  'V Disc - The Songs That Went To War'  put out by Time-Life.
V-Discs - or  "Victory Discs" - were recordings made as morale boosters when the American Federation of Musicians went on strike for royalties from the record companies.  Because of this,  the production of new commercial recordings was cut drastically,  and the record companies had to dig into their vaults in search of unreleased music to release.
This also meant the men fighting overseas would not get new music as well.  In July of 1943,  approval from Washington allowed musicians to record music especially for  (and only for)  the overseas troops,  and,  thus,  the V-Disc was born.  Many popular singers,  big bands,  and orchestras recorded special V-Disc records,  gathering at special V-Disc recording sessions.  The unions were assured that these recording would be used strictly for the military and would not be available commercially,  that the recordings would be destroyed when no longer of use to the armed forces.
Although most V-Discs were destroyed as promised,  many survived and were brought back to the United States.  The Library of Congress has a complete set of metal masters as well as the issued recordings in its collection.
Unless one was in the armed forces overseas during the period of 
1944 through 1949,  this music was not heard.  It wasn't until the 
50th anniversary of World War II that the musicians unions and the 
record companies agreed to waive their ban on the commercial 
release of these recordings and began transferring the collections 
of music onto compact disc to sell to the public.
To my knowledge,  it was Time/Life that released the first 
extensive collection of this historic music when they put out this 4-
CD box set collection of these wonderful V-Disc recordings,  
which includes the Andrews Sisters,  Benny Goodman,  Woody 
Herman,  Count Basie,  Gene Krupa,  the Mills Brothers,  the 
Dorsey Brothers,  Bing Crosby,  Peggy Lee…and so many others.  
The cream of the WWII crop.
Here are two original V-Discs in my collection.
The records were larger than the standard 78 rpms and mostly 
had one song per side  (though still spinning at 78!).
 So listening to this set was how I commemorated D-Day on June 6,  2020,  along with watching a certain movie about it that night  (which was,  of course,  Saving Private Ryan).

If you asked me who started rock and roll music - where its roots were - I would,  without hesitation,  point to this guy right here,  Mr.  Louis Jordan.  More than Jackie Brenston & his  "Rocket 88,"  more than Bill Haley and Rock Around the Clock,  more than Elvis,  Little Richard,  or Chuck Berry...it was Louis Jordan.
Now we go to the Bear Family Box Set for that early R&B 
Jump Swing king,  Mr.  Louis Jordan.  This is everything 
he recorded for Decca Records  (from 1938 to 1954) - in 
other words nine CDs of the most influential,  and purely 
enjoyable jump music ever cut.
Everything is here - all of his hits on the pop and r&b charts  
(including the flip sides):  Saturday Night Fish Fry,  What's the 
Use of Getting Sober When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again,  
Choo Choo Ch-Boogie,  Jumpin' Jive,  Five Guys Named Moe,  
Barnacle Bill the Sailor,  Caldonia,  Stone Cold Dead In De 
Market,  Open the Door Richard - - I don't believe we'd have rock 
and roll without Louis Jordan.
His music makes me happy - he is one of my musical heroes.
That's it in a nut shell.
Roots of rock and roll.

The third wave of development in audio recording began in 1945 when the allied nations gained access to a new German invention - magnetic tape recording.  The technology was invented in the 1930s but remained restricted to Germany  (where it was widely used in broadcasting)  until the end of World War II.  Magnetic tape provided another dramatic leap in audio fidelity.
From 1950 onwards,  magnetic tape quickly became the standard medium of audio master recording in the radio and music industries,  and led to the development of the first hi-fi stereo recordings for the domestic market,  the development of multi-track tape recording for music,  and the demise of the disc as the primary mastering medium for sound.  Magnetic tape also brought about a radical reshaping of the recording process — it made possible recordings of far longer duration and much higher fidelity than ever before,  and it offered recording engineers the same exceptional plasticity that film gave to cinema editors — sounds captured on tape could now easily be manipulated sonically,  edited,  and combined in ways that were simply impossible with disc recordings.
Now we'll go to the Complete Hank Williams.
Yes,  I love the hillbilly music of  (older)  Emmylou Harris and 
Ricky Skaggs and Dwight Yoakum and all,  but this man right 
here beats all competitors hands down in my opinion,  from the 
earliest recordings through what we hear being released today.  
And this collection is the ultimate.
Inside this 10-CD boxed set is every single one of Hank's classic 
sides for the Sterling and MGM labels,  plus 132 non-session,  
radio and television recordings for a total of 223 tracks,  53 of 
them unissued.  Move It On Over,  Lovesick Blues,  Hey Good 
Lookin,'  I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,  Jambalaya,  I Heard 
That Lonesome Whistle Blow,  I Saw the Light,  Your Cheatin' 
Heart...and the list goes on and on...
This is  "it"  for me.

When I first got into oldies back in the early 1970s,  finding 
original recordings by the founders of rock and roll was pretty 
difficult.  Most were re-recordings - a far cry from what was 
heard in the 1950s.  But when CDs came out,  the record 
companies began digging into their vaults and releasing 
these wonderful  "complete"  collections,  
such as this one of Little Richard's.
This set includes all of his earliest and greatest hits:  
Kansas City,  Tutti Frutti,  Slippin' and Slidin,'  Long Tall Sally,  
Good Golly Miss Molly,  Lucille...plus all of his minor songs,  as 
well as flipsides and even a few outtakes and alternate recordings.
In fact,  every Specialty record he made is here,  and all come 
directly from the master tapes. 
This is THE collection to have.

I never heard much of Elvis's music growing up.
None of my family members were much of a fan,
so he wasn't played much in our house.  However,
being a fan of 50s music - the American Graffiti
soundtrack was a staple in my collection  (even
though it had no Elvis tunes) - I knew the importance
his music had in those early days of rock and roll.
Then there were the TV album collections advertised
during daytime television shows.  Hearing the clips
of his biggest tunes was where I received most of my
Elvis education. 
I liked what I heard.
In the 1990s RCA released this extensive and complete
 compilation of every release of his he recorded for
the label  (and,  thus,  it did not include any of
his Sun recordings).
I suppose if I were to get any kind of Elvis collection, 
this would be it.  AND the 1960s box set as well.
I mean...it's Elvis,  you know?

I love the pre-Beatles rock and roll era. 
For its time,  the music was fun and new and exciting.  And there 
was a lot more variety than most folks may think.
My favorite style of this era was the street corner singing - doo wop.
The two Doo Wop box sets put out by Rhino are just about as 
good as it gets for the 50s and early 60s street corner sound.  You 
will probably know a greater majority of the tunes here  (Gloria,  
Crying in the Chapel,  Blue Moon,  Tonite Tonite,  Stay,  I Only 
Have Eyes For You,  Smokey Joe's Cafe,  Love Potion Number 9,  To The Aisle,  Come Go With Me),  but the awesome 
collectables that are highly sought after  (The Door Is Still Open,  
The Glory of Love,  Where or When,  Til Then)  are also here - a 
total of 8 cds of pure original doo wop - a couple hundred tracks in all!
This is truly an amazing collection.

What can be said about Buddy Holly that hasn't already been said before?
Peggy Sue,  Maybe Baby,  Rave On,  True Love Ways,  That'll Be 
the Day,  Words of Love,  Peggy Sue Got Married,  and Oh, 
Boy!,  all remastered from the original master tapes,  sounding as 
if you were right there in the studio in 1957 and 1958.
Virtually every pop/rock musician from the 1960s was strongly influenced by Buddy Holly,  and the greatest of the great even did cover versions of his songs,  including the Beatles  (Words of Love and,  very early on,  That'll Be the Day),  and the Stones  (Not Fade Away).  Of course,  Linda Ronstadt had major hits with her covers of  That'll Be The Day,  It Doesn't Matter Anymore,  
and It's So Easy.
I remember in the 1970s it was pretty much impossible to find 
original Buddy Holly records for sale at the record stores,  for it 
seemed his recordings were out of print for a while.  Thank God 
for albums like American Graffiti soundtrack for including his music.

American Graffiti has always been in my top 10 favorite movies 
of all time.  I saw it when it first hit the theaters way back in,  I 
believe,  1973.  In fact,  I saw it three or four times at the show 
that year.
Then there is the soundtrack to the movie,  what I would consider 
to be the classic oldie album of all oldie albums - American 
Graffiti.  If you just want a very good basic hour and a half of the 
biggest and most popular  (with a few exceptions)  oldies,  
covering the years 1953 to 1962,  American Graffiti is your set.  
And,  do yourself a favor:  if you haven't already  (and only a 
hermit over the age of 30 hasn't),  make sure you watch the 
movie. This music and movie was probably the biggest catalyst 
of the oldies craze of the 1970s.  
And for me.
By the way,  what you see here is my autographed copy of the 
American Graffiti record album cover poster. 
I met  "Laurie"  (Cindy Williams)  and  "John Milner"  (Paul 
LeMat)  at the Woodward car cruise a while back.  Both actors 
were very nice and happy to talk about their American Graffiti 
adventures,  including LeMat,  who told me what a  "pain in the 
butt"  the  '32 Coupe was to drive.
What an honor it was for me to meet and have both actors 
sign my poster.

Motown was the soundtrack to my early life.  How could it not 
be?  I was born in Detroit and raised in the metro-Detroit area 
where I still live.  We had CKLW,  WKNR,  and WXYZ radio,  
and pretty much any and all Motown releases were automatically 
put on the air.  The  "Sound of Young America"  was everywhere!
Now,  this may not be the most extensive collection of Motown 
hits,  but it sure will feed that Hitsville USA thirst!
Aside from the great guy groups like the Temps and the Tops,  
Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder,  it also includes the great girl 
groups and singers as well,  such as The Supremes,  Martha 
& the Vandellas,  Mary Wells,  and the Marvelettes.
How could it not?
This set shows the  genius that was Berry Gordy Jr.
Numerous artists,  including Paul McCartney and members of 
U2,  have come to Detroit to to step inside the original recording 
studio,  which is now a museum,  just to feel the vibes within the 
walls and breathe in the air of that old house/studio where it all 
took place.  There had to be something there,  for when they 
moved to LA in the 1970s,  the magic was gone.
But the museum is there and well-worth your visit.

You know,  selecting individual Beatles albums as being my favorite is pert-near impossible for me to do,  for every one has influenced me probably more than any other music in existence.  Each one is,  simply put,  amazing.  You see,  as they recorded each new single and album,  the Beatles just didn't sit back and rest on their laurels,  repeating the same style in hopes of more radio play,  but changed up and progressed with each new release - something  *most*  groups of their time simply could not or did not do,  especially in those earlier days.
Going back to their first pop recordings  (Please Please Me,  Love Me Do,  Twist & Shout),  to the album that broke them in America  (Meet the Beatles,  including I Want To Hold Your Hand)  to the progressive Rubber Soul  (hard to believe that album was released in 1965 - which was so far ahead of its time)  to Sgt. Pepper  (it's Sgt. Pepper,  man!  Need I say more?)  to Abbey Road and all of the amazing recordings in between.
I own both of the Beatles remastered Box Sets,  stereo and 
mono,  for they were mixed differently,  and as often as I've 
listened to all of their albums  (undoubtedly thousands of times),  
still cannot get enough of their music.  They didn't stay the 
same,  like most groups tended  (and still tend)  to do - they changed 
drastically over the the course of their time - both musically and 
physically - and went from the early pop sounds to folk,  
progressive,  psychedelic,  country,  blues,  hard rock,  avant 
garde,  ragtime  "granny music"  (as John Lennon called some of 
Paul's songs),  ballads,  classical,  and just plain old 
rock & roll...they covered it all.
They were the progression.
I don't believe we will ever see another group like the Beatles for 
a long time to come,  if ever,  and they will be listened to in future 
centuries much in the same way as Bach and Beethoven are 
listened to today.
Let's put it this way:  I work in a high school and I see the kids their wearing Beatles t-shirts as much,  if not more,  than any other artists,  contemporary or not.  I do ask these kids if they are fans or if it just  "in"  to wear the shirts,  and each always answers in the affirmative of being fans.
This is nearly 60 years after the fact!
No other group has maintained this type of popularity 60 years after their first recordings and 50 years after their break up.
So cool - - what can I say?  It's the Beatles!

Aside from the British Invasion groups,  Girl Groups were  
near the top of my list as well,  and this collection pretty much 
covers them all.  Okay,  not everyone,  but most of my favorites 
are here:  the Angels,  Leslie Gore,  the Shangri Las,  the Pixies 
Three,  Dusty Springfield,  the Secrets,  and even the novelty  
"Beatles Please Come Back"  by Gigi Parker.
It is a fun and upbeat 1960s feast for the ears.
Who said girls didn't rock and roll back in the day?

Hard-edged music.
Roots of punk rock.
Original grunge.
This music was created in garages throughout America.  It was 
not smooth and poppy but,  rather,  had a bite to it.  When these 
songs came on the radio,  chances are our parents yelled to turn 
the station or turn off the radio or,  at the very least,  
to turn it down.  
Way low.
And most of the tunes herein became hits to some degree.
I remember owning the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets 
compilation album back in the 70s  (which comprises the first CD 
of this set)  and wanting more,  but most of this music was nearly 
impossible to find back then.
Well...here is  "my more."
Louie Louie,  I Had Too Much To Dream,  Dirty Water,  Baby 
Please Don't Go,  Talk Talk,  Open My Eyes  (The Nazz!)...
"Nuggets:  Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era,  
1965-1968"  indeed.

There was a country music TV show my mom used to watch back 
in the '60s.  I forgot the name of it  (this was before Hee Haw)  
but it aired on weekday afternoons and I remember watching it 
with her  (possibly the Porter Wagoner Show).
This show was my introduction to Loretta Lynn.
I was a fan then and still am a fan now.  Her music was out-of-'
this-world great,  she  'looked like a mom'  (and why I thought 
that way back then,  I'll never know),  and when she spoke she 
had that awesome southern accent.
So I snatched this 70 song box set up immediately when it came 
out in the late '80s,  and was geeked that it included not only her 
first ever track for Zero Records in 1960  (Honky Tonk Girl),  but 
went all the way up through 1987 and included 45 charted hits,  
38 Top 10-ers,  and 14 # 1's:  Don't Come Home A-Drinkin,'  
Coal Miner's Daughter,  Blue Kentucky Girl,  You're The Reason 
Our Kids Are Ugly,  You Ain't Woman Enough,  Fist City,  Wings 
Upon Your Horns - country...pure & simple.  And great.
By the way,  it was soon after this set's release that I was lucky 
enough to see this lady in concert - front row!
She truly is still a living legend,  and the music here shows why.
Love Loretta Lynn!

Beginning with my foray into listening to Led Zeppelin and 
Moody Blues,  I expanded my musical repertoire and started 
getting into more FM rock,  by way of WABX radio,  and along 
came Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  A great album,  to be 
sure,  but as I delved deeper into their catalogue,  I found the 
earliest recordings by the band - the Syd Barrett years of 1967 
and '68 - to be my favorite.  Then I found this album of  "A 
Bizarre Collection of Antiques & Curios."
Relics,  to me,  collects the Floyd's best era - the period that made 
me appreciate Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles much,  
much more,  for it is filled with the grooviest of 60s psychedelia 
like no other album.  It's a  "Nuggets"  collection all on its own!
So,  yes,  this record right here set me on the course of 
psychedelic rock,  turning me on,  but not to drugs,  but to other 
groups of a similar vein.  I tuned in but did not drop out,  for 
there were more genres of music to explore,  as you shall soon see.

Remember reading a bit about the classical music CDs earlier in this posting?
Days of Future Passed is an album that is in a class all its own.
The Beatles had done it a year before with Eleanor Rigby,  but the 
Moody Blues did an entire album mixing classical music style 
with rock - pretty much unheard of in its time  (1967).  I will 
probably be proven wrong,  but I believe this is the first of its 
kind.  Anyhow,  this album not only introduced me to the rest of 
the Moody Blues awesome collection  (I began listening to it in 
the early 70s),  but got me interested in  "progressive"  rock in 
general,  which found me buying albums from such groups as 
Yes,  ELP,  Traffic,  Jethro Tull,  and the later style of Pink 
Floyd.  It also piqued my interest in classical music as well;  
Bach,  Beethoven,  Tchaikovsky,  and Mozart soon found 
themselves nestled next to the Moodies,  Zeppelin,  Emmylou,  
and the Beatles.
I remember my oldest brother Frank playing the 8-track of Days 
of Future Passed.  I can still hear in my head where the tracks 
switched!  It is one of a very few albums that I could place 
alongside any of the Beatles albums.
I plan on listening this CD today - it's been a while.

If you spoke to a younger person today about music - particularly 
music of the older,  more classic rock variety - I would be willing 
to bet that they would almost certainly be unaware of the group 
Traffic  (unless they have cool parents).  They would know the 
greats like The Beatles,  The Stones,  The Who,  Pink Floyd,  The 
Doors,  as well as all the schmaltz groups of the mid-70s  
(Boston,  Foreigner,  Kansas,  Steve Perry's Journey...yes, I can 
have my opinion on this!),  but Traffic?
Probably not.
And,  to me,  Traffic is right up there with the best of them.  And 
they are totally ignored by over-the-air  "classic rock"  stations,  
who are too busy playing Money by Pink Floyd for the 5th time today.
Though I have each of the individual album releases,  I tend to 
play this collection most often,  for the group  "had two distinct 
eras:  1967-69  (with Dave Mason),  and 1970-74  (with Steve 
Winwood in the spotlight).  This 20-track set is split evenly 
between 'em,  from their pop-psych beginnings to their most 
ambitious epics,  including Paper Sun,  Empty Pages,  Rock 
Roll Stew,  plus Dear Mr. Fantasy,  Feelin' Alright,  Glad,  
John Barleycorn,  Freedom Rider,  and more!" 
Yeah...this is classic rock at its most classic!

Out of all of Led Zeppelin's releases,  their third album is 
probably the most diverse.  It begins with a song so incredibly 
different from anything else they had recorded,  The Immigrant 
Song,  which was inspired by and paid homage to a trip to 
Iceland  ("We come from the land of the ice and snow..."). Next 
comes Friends with its strange acoustic guitar tuning that Jimmy 
Page says he came up with,  leading directly to the rocker 
Celebration Day,  and then to an all out blues number in the 
classic Zeppelin style,  Since I've Been Loving You.  There is also 
an homage paid to the British Isles with Gallows 
Pole,  originally a centuries-old folk song.
Of course there's other acoustic cuts,  another rocker,  another 
bluesy slide-guitar song based on the Bukka White blues song  
"Shake 'Em On Down,"  and Bron -Y-Aur Stomp,  written in 
Wales with all of its influences,  according to Robert Plant.
Not before or since had the group ever put so much diversity on a 
single album.  No,  I'm not saying their other albums aren't 
diverse.  They are.  Just not to this extent.
It goes to show you not only the talent this band had,  but 
what set them apart from all other  "rock"  bands.
Which is why this is probably my favorite of all of their releases.
Of all the tunes Led Zeppelin have recorded on their eight studio albums,  "Gallows Pole"  has always remained at or near the top of the list for me.  Even back in the day  (the 70s),  this song just  "did something"  for me.
And it was in the early 2000s when I found out that it is actually a centuries old English folk song;  "The Maid Freed from the Gallows"  is one of its many early titles about a condemned maiden pleading for someone to buy her freedom from the executioner.
There are many versions,  all of which recount a similar story:  A maiden or a man is about to be hanged  (for unknown reasons)  pleads with the hangman,  or judge,  to wait for the arrival of someone who may bribe him.  Typically,  the first person  (or people)  to arrive,  who may include the condemned person's parent or sibling,  has brought nothing and often has come to see them hanged.  The last person to arrive,  often their true love,  has brought the gold,  silver,  or some other valuable to save them.
Believe it or not,  Zeppelin kept it as traditional as a modern rock band could,  in style and  (mostly)  in lyrics  (though Zeppelin's ending is a bit different,  the snarky lads they are).
And,  yet,  it's always been one of my very favorites.  A hint of my love of the old old folk songs of long past,  even in my youth.

Remember the American Folk Songbook by Suzy Boggus I wrote about earlier?
Well,  this song would fit perfectly on it,  for it is one of those songs that tell a story,  usually based in fact but with some legend thrown in.
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"  is a hit song written,  composed,  and performed by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot to commemorate the sinking of the bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior on November 10,  1975.  Lightfoot drew his inspiration from Newsweek's article on the event,  "The Cruelest Month,"  which it published in its November 24,  1975,  issue.
Not an album,  but a 45~
A song based on an actual historical event.
An event that occurred in my lifetime.
The song contains a few artistic omissions and paraphrases.  In a later interview aired on Canadian commercial radio,  Lightfoot recounted how he had agonised over possible inaccuracies while trying to pen the lyrics until Lenny Waronker,  his long-time producer and friend,  finally removed his writer's block simply by advising him to play to his artistic strengths and  "just tell a story."
One change he did make?
In a later live recording,  Lightfoot recounts that a parishioner of the  "The Maritime Sailors' Cathedral"  (actually the Mariners' Church of Detroit)  had informed him that the church is not  "musty."  From that time,  instead of singing  "In a musty old hall...,"  he now sings  "In a rustic old hall..."
Lightfoot considers this song to be his finest work.

As the '70s wore on,  new sounds came about,  and the one album 
that piqued my interest in a very different way was Jethro Tull's 
Songs From the Wood.  Though it was rooted in progressive 
rock,  it hinted,  sometimes strongly,  both musically and 
lyrically,  at ancient English music - music going back 
centuries - yet very contemporary as well;  to me it had that 
medieval/renaissance feel to it,  with nature and castles and 
hunters and women in tunics...just typical images of a 16 year old 
boy in 1977 on a new musical journey.
And this album,  like the others I have been listing,  encouraged 
me to seek out other music of this style,  which was pretty 
difficult to find in those days.  It only took me 20 years and a visit 
to the Michigan Renaissance Festival where I could listen to live 
bands of merry-makers performing music along these lines before 
I found the soundtrack to my old-English heritage roots.
And,  yep,  this is the album that first intrigued me to love that genre.
One big circle completed...

I got turned onto this album by a former boss of mine,  Jim 
Foster,  way back in 1980 while working at Record Outlet.  This 
album was played frequently inside our store and I fell in love 
with it.  And though I grew up with my mother playing the classic 
country music of Patsy Cline,  Bobby Bare,  Loretta Lynn,  and 
Jim Reeves,  it was this album that I heard where I worked that 
made me realize country could be cool.
After the purchase,  I sought out other albums by Emmylou,  
most notably Roses in the Snow and Blue Kentucky Girl,  which 
lead me on the path of more traditional roots music,  including 
old-timey-folk  (Doc Watson),  bluegrass  (Flatt & Scruggs),  
and country & western  (Hank Williams). 
From there I became a major traditional country music fan  
(though not much of a fan of the current crop of country crap,  but 
the real deal),  and now,  mostly thanks to this album by 
Emmylou,  which,  besides the title tune called  "Evangeline,"  
includes "Oh Atlanta,"  "Spanish Johnny,"  and "Mill Worker,"  I 
have amassed a pretty decent collection of hillbilly music.
Gotta love the roots music of the south.

Big Band is back??
With having parents who came of age in the 1940s,  I grew up 
hearing their  "uncool"  music  (Glenn Miller,  Benny Goodman,  
Tommy Dorsey,  etc) quite often,  so,  aside from being familiar 
with the songs of their day and the swing style,  it was definitely 
not my music.
It was old people music.
At least,  it was to me.
Then came Jumpin' Jive by Joe Jackson.
Nothing ever got my toes a-tappin'  like this amazing album by 
Mr. New Wave himself  ("Is She Really Going Out With Him"  
and  "Sunday Papers"  are but two of many awesome new wave 
tunes he recorded).  Out of the blue and totally unexpected,  he 
put together a small-piece swing band and recorded a collection 
of tunes from the 1930s and 40s originally done by the likes of 
Louis Jordan,  Glenn Miller,  and Cab Calloway.
Loving this album from the get-go,  I sought out those original 
recordings - the very same my parents heard in their youth - and 
that lead me to collecting not only big band and swing,  but even 
older music  (1920s jazz,  early 20th century pop,  and late 19th 
century and early 20th century ragtime piano roll music),  and I 
became sort of a music historian.
Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive made me realize my parent's music 
was every bit as hip and cool as my own contemporary music,  it 
was just from another time.
We the cats shall hep ya,  so reap this righteous riff  (bop bop!)

Dan Fogelberg - High Country Snows.
I was never much of a Dan Fogelberg fan.  I mean,  he had nice 
songs and all but not really a style I was big on.
Until he put out this traditional country and bluegrass album.
Like Joe Jackson's swinging Jumpin' Jive album,  Fogelberg went 
far out in left field,  off his beaten path,  and released an album of 
pure hills music:  banjo,  dobro,  fiddle,  guitar...I played this 
album quite a lot in the record store,  and then again at home.  I 
even saw him on his promotional tour.
My favorite song from here is Sutter's Mill,  about the California 
gold rush of the late 1840s.  But he had other great tunes  (Go 
Down Easy,  Mountain Pass,  Wolf Creek,  Shallow Rivers,  The Outlaw...)
Yeah...good stuff,  this.

First time I heard  (and saw)  Gaelic Storm was in the movie  
'Titanic,'  for they were the group who performed the Irish dance 
music from the steerage party.  Then I learned the group's name 
that played that amazing music - Gaelic Storm - and from there I 
bought this album.  And what great tunes:  "Hills Of 
Connemara,"  "Johnny Jump Up/Morrison's Jig,"  "Tell Me Ma,"  
"Rock Road To Dublin,"  and,  well,  an album full of fine and 
fun Pub-style jumpin'  Irish music,  some from the old days and 
others a bit more modern.  From here I searched out and found 
even more music of this genre,  many times at the Michigan 
Renaissance Festival,  which expanded my music 
boundaries even further.
Play this when you are down.
Play this at a party.
Play this..

Patty Loveless finds her roots and heritage in music.
After all,  she is a 1st cousin to Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle.
These two CDs are a fine collection of traditional country and 
bluegrass Patty Loveless recorded at a time when all eyes and ears 
were on pop country like Garth Brooks.  Mountain Soul was a 
breath of fresh air,  letting everyone know that,  beneath all of the 
pop coming out of supposed country radio,  true country music 
was still alive and well.
With such songs as You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive,  Shady 
Grove,  Children of Abraham,  and Bramble & the Rose,  
these two albums are still among my favorites that I play often.
Like her cousin Loretta Lynn,  this is country,  refreshing,  pure and simple.
And great.
By the way,  Patty Loveless also recorded a strong Appalachian 
roots-filled Christmas album around this time as well. 
Thank you Patty.

Now we can go to the fourth and current  "phase"  in recorded music,  the  "digital"  era,  which has seen the most rapid,  dramatic and far-reaching series of changes in the history of audio recording.  In a period of fewer than 20 years,  all previous recording technologies were rapidly superseded by digital sound encoding. 
Unlike all previous technologies,  which captured a continuous analogue of the sounds being recorded,  digital recording captured sound by means of a very dense and rapid series of discrete samples of the sound.
Digital sound recording and reproduction quickly became the new standard at every level,  from the professional recording studio to the home hi-fi.  The Compact disc rapidly replaced both the 12"  album and the 7"  single as the new standard consumer format,  and ushered in a new era of high-fidelity consumer audio — CDs were small,  portable and durable,  and they could reproduce the entire audible sound spectrum,  with unrestricted dynamic range,  perfect clarity and no distortion.
Some of the last few CDs I have listed here were recorded digitally.
However,  within another decade,  rapid developments in computing technology saw it rendered virtually redundant in just a few years by the most significant new invention in the history of audio recording — the digital audio file  (.wav, .mp3 and other formats).

A bit of fun before my final thoughts:
If you hadn't gotten the hint a bit earlier,  The Beatles are my favorite musical group of all time.  And that love for their music has been passed down to my own kids.  In fact,  they willingly took part in a couple of fun Beatle poses for me:
One of the two most iconic album covers of all time.
Meet the Kids!

And here is the 2nd classic iconic album cover.
When I posted this on my Facebook page,  I received more comments and
likes/loves than nearly any other cover picture I ever posted.
I suppose there is a reason why I had four kids!

So it seems we've kind of come full circle,  haven't we?  If you haven't noticed,  my music,  no matter what style,  is roots-based.
For most of us today,  when we hear a song from our past,  we can pinpoint almost to a  "T"  where we were when we first heard it and what we were doing.  I mentioned the Jaynetts at the top of this post,  but there are others:  seeing the Beatles   (or the Doors or Tommy James & the Shondells or whoever)  performing on the Ed Sullivan Show,  when the local station played Kashmir by Zeppelin for the first time,  hearing  "Gimme Dat Ding"  at the beach on a transistor radio,  cracking open the wrapping around the cover of a brand new album,  hearing the pop,  slight hiss,  and maybe a tick or two as the needle sits down on the spinning record...yes,  I,  in fact,  I can still hear in my head ingrained scratches and skips on certain albums,  even as I listen to them on CD.  And knowing which record was which strictly by the label alone.
Now some of you are saying,  "But Ken!  You forgot  (this album)  or  (that album),"  or  "(this group)  or  (that group!"
What about Bob Dylan?
Otis Redding?
Cat Stevens?
Bing Crosby?
Neil Young?
Flatt & Scruggs?
Jimi Hendrix?
Patsy Cline?
Rolling Stones?
Fats Domino?
Benny Goodman?
The Doors?
Nat King Cole?
Janis Joplin?
Frank Sinatra?
Chuck Berry?
Mae Questel?
The Ramones?
Harry James?
Linda Ronstadt?
Yeah...each artists here,  and so many more,  also mean so much to me and deserve to be included,  but,  you know,  I can't include everybody.  This is only a blog post.  Even a book couldn't hold all of my favorites and influences.
And,  no,  I didn't include all genres of music either;  again...we'd be looking at a book.
A big book.
So not including them is okay.
However,  even still you must admit this is a pretty eclectic mix o'  music.
And,  in listening to what I have listed here,  you get a fairly decent idea of music history.
Hopefully I may have inspired you to look at your own musical history and memories.
I hope you enjoyed it.

Until next time,  see you in time.

To learn more about the swing era,  please click HERE
To read about pre-Beatles Rock and Roll,  please click HERE
To read about the American versions of Beatles' albums,  please click HERE
To read about the Beatles and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band,  click HERE
To read about the Monterey International Pop Festival and the Summer of Love,  please click HERE
To read about Christmas Music,  click HERE
To read about using your senses in history,  please click HERE
Click HERE to learn more about 1920s fashions

By the way,  the information about the four phases of recording music came from Wikipedia

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