Several years ago, before the film Walk the Line, I bought at a big box store a three-pack of Johnny Cash CDs. The main reason I got it was for the live concert at Folsom prison. You have not lived until, upon hearing the line "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die", two two-year-olds whoop and holler with the inmates while riding in the back of the family mini-van. If you've heard the recording, you know what I'm talking about.
The other two Johnny Cash CDs were promptly forgotten until this summer when one former two year old, now seven, discovered one in a pile of CDs still with its wrapper on. He tore off the plastic and asked to play it when we were next in the car. It was the first America album, recorded in 1972 as a tribute to the nation on the eve of her bicentennial celebrations.
What unfolded was that gravely voice singing a history lesson to my kids.
In April of 1775
This great nation started coming alive.
Old King George didn't like it one bit,
So he proceeded to throw him a royal fit...
They now know that in 1814 the US fought the British in "the town of New Orleans".
They can recite the Gettysburg Address.
They know that "Charlie Guiteau done shot down" President James Garfield and his widow was name Lucretia, but he called her "Crit".
They know that Sioux women and children were murdered in South Dakota at Wounded Knee.
They can sing a sweet early 20th century love tune, written sometime around 1904.
Come take a trip in my air ship,
come take a trip 'round the stars
come take a trip around Venus
come take a sail around Mars.
No one to see while we're kissing
No one to watch while we spoon
Come take a trip in my air ship
We'll visit the man in the moon.
And some of those songs made the birthday CD this year.
***I'm finding I write a lot about music. I always have stories in my head about songs so I think I'll try to make it a habit to write each Monday about music. We'll see how long Music Monday lasts. Plus, it is a nice alliteration.