Monday, October 15, 2007

History lessons by Professor Cash

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.

11 comments:

Heather said...

I love the Man in Black.

painted maypole said...

i love hearing stories behind music! thanks for sharing!

Flower Child said...

I need to get an invite to these birthday parties. Best goody bags ever!

baby advice said...

great story!

Jenn in Holland said...

It IS a nice alliteration, and it IS such a vehicle for teaching great truths. Music, that is.
Lovely post.

Nap Warden said...

I like the idea of Music Monday! I'll be readin' it!

Goofball said...

music as a teacher...can it get more fun?

Anne Bradshaw said...

Most interesting. Thanks for sharing. I came here from Novembrance and enjoyed the visit :-)

Jenn said...

I wish I had more influence over the music my nephews listened to.

I'd have them listening to all sorts of crazy stuff. And good stuff.

Fourier Analyst said...

Love the idea of Monday music. I started Monday memories, but many of my stories have ended up in SOS. I will watch a while and may play with you!!

BTW, Love JC!!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I still remember all the folk songs I learned at my alternative school as a child and how much history they taught me - The Spring Hill Mine Disaster, The song about the little girls who died in that church blast in Alabama in 1964 (I've forgotten the title, but the story remains with me) The song about Old Hickory and the battle of 1814, etc., etc. Great way to learn!