Friday, September 14, 2007

"Extraordinary how potent cheap music is"

Toby LeBoutillier is a guy who's worked at Maine Public Radio pretty much since it began. Now, he hosts a Friday afternoon radio show on which he plays hits of the corresponding weeks over the past 10 decades. Today, the first one was from 1907, "Red Wing." Immediately I was about 4 years old with tears streaming down my cheeks as my mother sang me the song, which I found ineffably sad. (Of course, I was a most sentimental child, and even cried at "Oh, Susannah.") My mother was born some years after 1907 and probably learned the song from her parents.
Years later, during the Folk Revival of the 1960s, I learned another song to the same tune, which also came into my head and brought with it thoughts of another relative. Woody Guthrie used the tune for "Union Maid." My daughter-in-law, The Collector of Biomorphic Dishes, is on strike at the University of Minnesota right now with her fellow AFSCME members. Stick to the union and stick it to the bosses, J!
As the program moves on, Toby plays "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi." That makes me think of Onkel Hankie Pants' cousin, The Horsewoman (see June 18 post). Onkel H remonstrated with me at the time, apparently he didn't think that a suitable appellation for his lovely cousin. I told him she was lucky I didn't call her The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, because she was, when she was at the above-mentioned U. I rather think she might prefer The Horsewoman. Those Clydesdales are pretty reliable.
The rest of today's selections were not as evocative, though I've always liked the tune of "Darktown Strutters' Ball" ; however, I've mentally rewritten one line as
"I'm gonna dance all over your shoes
When the band plays the Jelly Roll Blues"
because that's the way I dance!
By the way, the quotation in the title of the post is, of course, by Noel Coward, in his play Private Lives. I make no value judgment on the music, but Bach it ain't. Now I'm off to the first of two nights of Rodgers and Hammerstein.


Songbird said...

That's a great show.
We were listening to Pete Seeger in the car today, and his union music was a revelation to The Princess!

Cathy said...

I tried to see if they archived his shows or if they are on podcasts. How I would like to listen to this! I reckon it's not syndicated down here in the south......

Cathy said...

I did find the archives at

Auntie Knickers said...

As Blogger seems to have cut off part of Cathy's findings, in case anyone else wants to listen to Toby's show, the rest of the URL is
downmemorylane.html. Live at
2 pm Eastern and they keep several weeks' worth archived. For the more recent decades he also reads some of the news headlines, last week mentioned Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin, reminding me why I was called Nikolai (and later Nikita) by kids who wanted to tease me....I was happy to see Khrushchev go!