Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victrola's, RCA Victor, Records and Johnny Appleseed

The earliest music I remember was the church pianos playing children's Christian songs and the church organ playing hymns.  We had a radio at home, but I don't remember listening to music on it in the early years of childhood.  I have fond memories, though, of records.  Grandma Mary Jonas had a Victor Victrola (or, if made after 1929,  RCA Victor Victrola) that you cranked, delivering turntable revolutions for the effort.  A certain amount of cranking allowed the machine to play a 78 RPM record.  Grandma had a huge collection of records that we rarely listened to at her home next door. Children didn't mess with the Victrola (click on this link for more detailed information about Victor Records, Machines and RCA)
 Victor Talking Machine Company

When I was 5 or 6, we got an electric record player which played 78's and allowed stacking of waiting records fora multiple play feature.  I played records over and over if I liked them.  There were lots of 1940's songs and many WWII songs that I loved.  "This is the Army Mr. Jones" sticks out as one I heard repeatedly.  "This is the Army, Mr. Jones, No private rooms or telephones.  You had your breakfast in be before, but you won't have it there anymore.  This is the Army Mr. Green.  We like the barracks nice and clean.  You had a housemaid to clean your floor, but she won't help you out any more.  Do what the buglers command.  They're in the Army and not in a band.  This is the Army Mr. Brown.  You and your baby went to town.  She had you worried, but this is war, and she won't worry you any more." This is the Army, Mr Jones

When we started to get our own records, I played the Johnny Appleseed album from Disney with Dennis Day over and over. "Get on the wagon rolling west, out to the great unknown.  Get on the wagon rolling west, or you'll be left alone.  We made a home before. We're starting out again.  We ain't afeered of man or beast or stout hearted friend, so Get on the wagons rolling west out to the great unknown.  Get on the wagons rolling west, or you'll be left alone."  And he was left alone in the Disney story, so he had to make do with what he had. Shoeless with a pot for a hat and appleseeds to offer. And he did what he knew, becoming famous, but still wearing rags.  So he sang, "The Lord's been good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need:  the sun and rain and the appleseed.  The Lord's been good to me." And that's a lesson for kids.  The Lord's Been Good to Me

Later, I learned more about John Chapman, a fascinating nurseryman and religious man. 

From Wikipedia:  Johnny Appleseed (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), born John Chapman, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. He became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, his great leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples.
He was also a missionary for The New Church, or Swedenborgian Church, so named because it teaches the theological doctrines contained in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

Life in Liberty was musical in many ways.  Was it for you?  What are your musical memories?

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