Sunday, November 25, 2012
I usually don't play videos that are linked in blogs and I never play music so I might as well post something that violates both of my traditions at once.
The Colored Recruits
Now that I'm getting an Edison phonograph in just six more days, I got to thinking about some of the records my brothers and I used to play on the old Edison that stood in the storage room on the second floor of my Grandparent's house in North Carolina.
While looking through the 44 pages of Edison-related stuff on Ebay I actually ran across one of the records. I told the Lovely Bride that I'd bid on it but there was already one bid and there was a chance that my brother was the bidder. She didn't think so since he is the one who has the Edison and all the records now but I held off until I could contact him.
I emailed him about the record being on ebay and he emailed back asking if I was bidding on it. I told him that I wanted to but didn't want to bid against him if he was the bidder. He was and by the time we communicated someone else was bidding too. He bowed out to let me have a clear shot at it and now five of us are bidding. I'll bet two of the others are my cousins.
Trying to tell the Lovely Bride about how much fun it was for little kids to listen to those old records was about like trying to give a haircut over the phone. She just doesn't appreciate it for what it is. Its totally analog and acoustic and she's thinking its not worth listening to unless its digital. You wind the thing up with a crank. Its "Spring-Punk." The blank stare started to really bore through me so I told her about this one record that was a recording of an old Vaudeville skit called "The Colored Recruits." Its been about four decades since I last heard it but I could remember a lot of the jokes and parts of the song at the end. She suggested that I Google it to see if I could find the words to the song.
No way, says I. There's no way that anybody would have heard of it and there's even less way anybody would let them put the words to it out in public. Being probably 95 years old, there's words used in it that just aren't used anymore. Words with "gg" in the middle. The way it portrays the characters is intended to be comical and some of the jokes are funny but, viewed from a modern perspective when everybody is just itching to be offended about something, its a friggin' tincture of poison oak.
Like everything else in the history of mankind, its there.
I'm linking to it because it brings back memories of trips to North Carolina to visit my Grandparents for Christmas. The earthy smell of their basement, helping Grandfather shovel the coal into the furnace, all the wonders concealed in the garage and even snow by Christmas the same year I got a plastic M-14 that shot spring loaded plastic bullets and yes, sitting around the Edison playing their WW1 era "Diamond Disc Records."
By modern standards its offensive to some. Sorry. I don't post it to offend. Everybody's entitled to his own sense of humor. Take it for what it is. This was mainstream entertainment in its day. Its not anymore. The fact that you can't go into a music store today and find anything remotely like it that makes fun of African Americans proves that we don't have racism in this country like we used to. Not that we don't still laugh at people that are different from us. Its just that the only character in our current pop culture that comes readily to mind is Cletus the slack-jawed yokel from The Simpsons. He's a stereo-typical hillbilly so its perfectly acceptable to ridicule him.
Now that all the disclaimers are done, go back up and hit the link to the time machine. Just don't go bidding on any records until after 8:00 AM tomorrow!