Monday, 12 January 2015

Listen to the Music

There was always music in our house.  If someone wasn't playing the piano, there were tunes playing on the HiFi.  My parents had a big collection of 78's and LP's.  They often had the neighbours in for a "sing-along-with Mitch" party.  Mitch Miller's albums came with lyrics sheets to pass around.  Mom and Dad also had some popular music of the 50's -  some I remember are Trini Lopez singing La Bamba and Lemon Tree, Harry Belafonte singing the Banana Boat Song and a song about a cook who kept "one eye on the pot and t'other up the chimney". My Dad's favourites were Teresa Brewer and Rosemary Clooney (yes, George Clooney's Aunt).

Granny and Grampa had a HiFi in the dining area of their small flat, and Grampa loved to listen to bagpipes, Sousa marches and old WWI songs. Glad I wasn't his neighbour!!  Granny liked the crooners. I remember one Christmas Granny wanted (and was expecting) a new stereo, but Grampa had other ideas. He gave her a huge portrait of himself in his WWI uniform that he had painted by his nephew Clemmie. Granny never did get her new stereo!

My parents bought me my first portable record player when I was about 9 or 10, with a couple of 45's that I just about wore out - Connie Francis singing "Stupid Cupid" and Fats Domino singing "Whole Lotta Lovin". I saved up my babysitting money to buy more 45's when the diners changed out the records in their jukebox - they sold the old ones for 25¢ or 5/$1.

As a teenager my favourite of my parent's albums was the soundtrack of the Helen Morgan Story, with Gogi Grant singing. I still have the album, which I also copied to cassette and then to CD to play in the car. I love most old musical movies so my favourite song list would be a very long one! 

Up until now I have been telling you about books of genealogical value that you can see and download at Internet Archive, but that isn't all you will find at this site!  There is also music, free to listen to or download.  There are old WWI songs, the 40's and WWII, plus many of MY old favourites from the 50's and 60's, which I have added to my playlist!

There are other websites with old songs, try search on google with keywords: minstral music, music of 1800's, etc.  Before there were recordings there was sheet music and some can be found on Internet Archive also.  I am a big fan of Davy Crockett with Fess Parker and I have the sheet music, the 78 and the movie on VHS. At one time I had the sheet music for "God Bless Our Home" in a frame on my wall. My unfulfilled dream was to have a big music room with old instruments and my favourite album sleeves on the walls.

What music do you think your ancestors listened to, or played on an instrument?

Relevant Links

Helen Morgan (zipped album)

Connie Francis

Antoine "Fats" Domino

Pack up your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag (WWI)

It's a Long Way to Tipperary (WWI)

Andrew Sisters (Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy)

Al Jolson - collected works

Obscure 1950's singers - video

Ballad of Davy Crockett


  1. Dianne, check out Library and Archives Canada's music collections too, especially the sheet music and the Virtual Gramophone.

    1. Fabulous Diane! Thanks for the link. I had forgotten about that!


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