Loving the Music - the Sound of June: 15th - 21st June 2020
There were just two features this week when we said a sad farewell to Dame Vera Lynn. On the upside, we did hear some very cool swamp music.
This series of blog articles cover a week of mini-feature posts from the Loving the Music Facebook page and group. This makes it easier for our music-loving community to search through our ever-growing archive of songs, backstories and trivia.
15th - 21st June 2020 - Featured Musicians:
Tony Joe White - Jim Stafford - Vera Lynn
15th June: Happy new week everyone. With local temperature lows of around -6c, I have decided to start the week with some hot, steamy swamp music to warm your tootsies. It’s been a while since we visited ‘gator country and I’ve lined up a gumbo feast to take us there; two from an old favourite that perfectly sandwiches a great track from Jim Stafford.
There is a good reason Tony Joe White regularly pops up on this page; The Swamp Fox was the king of Swamp Rock and rumour has it that on the night he died, the swamp fell silent in respect. Here’s the master himself with the tale of Gumbo John.
The second dip into the swamp for today comes from Jim Stafford, who had a hit with this track in 1973 when it reached #4 on US Top 40. In addition to having a handful of hits back in the ‘70s, he is also known as a stand-up comedian and TV presenter.
Now 76 years old, he has been operating and performing in his own theatre, The Jim Stafford Theatre, along with his children since 1990. Sometimes you’re too talented to retire! Here’s Jim with Swamp Witch.
As promised, I’m closing today’s visit to the swamp with another track from The Swamp Fox himself, Tony Joe White. Close your eyes and think moonshine, gumbo and crawfish with Hootchie Woman
I hope that today’s selection has warmed your inner-redneck spirit and you are ready to face Tuesday head-on. I’m sure this isn’t the last trip we’ll be taking down South together. Keep warm, keep safe and keep sane music lovers 😎
15 June: The generation and country I was born into is the probable reason behind the emotions that I felt on hearing about the passing of Vera Lynn earlier today. Being a Baby Boomer with a Father who bravely fought in WWII, and a Mother who lived her teenage years through the horrors of the Blitz, it is unsurprising that Dame Vera’s music was played often, and loudly, in our house. And so it was for most of my generation. Her music was the spirit of England; the unity through hardship that enabled the servicemen and normal folk to get through a brutal period in history.
Tonight I am honouring The Forces Sweetheart with three of the songs that always remind me of an average Friday night in Boksburg 1964 when my parents, newly arrived in South Africa, would meet up with their ex-pat friends at ‘Immigrants Night’ at the Boksburg Hotel. Often, the whole crowd would end up back at our house where ‘one for the road’ would be accompanied by a sing-along to Vera Lynn’s Hits of the Blitz album.
I’m starting tonight with a song that mists me up whenever I hear it. I can't help but think of how many servicemen, their families and their loved ones, sang this in hope that the lyrics would prove true. Here’s We’ll Meet Again
In honouring Dame Vera Lynn tonight, my second selection is another that always evokes a feeling of melancholy when I think of how many fleeting romances, stolen moments and hopeful feelings were shared to this song.
When I moved to Cape Town in 1980, my parents came to visit and asked what housewarming present I wanted. I asked for a copy of Vera Lynn’s Hits of the Blitz. I mentioned early home memories in my earlier post, this album was essential to make my new city and new flat my new home.
Here’s another that I catch myself singing, usually with a Manhattan Transfer twist on my imaginary vocal back-up team. A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square. This track from a 1969 TV performance.
I’ve been sharing some personal memories tied to Vera Lynn’s songs tonight. For the final song we go back to 1964/5 again and a memory of the Friday Immigrants Night meetings at the Boksburg Hotel. The evenings would end with groups of ex-pats, parents and children of all ages, standing to sing Briain’s song of hope and courage, There’ll Always Be an England.
Written by Ross Parker and Hughie Charles in 1939, this song and Vera Lynn’s voice resonated through the hearts and hopes of a nation, making it a second national anthem.
Thank you for helping me honour Dame Vera Lynn tonight. The legacy she has left our world after 103 years will be cherished and remembered in history. Stay warm and stay sane, it seems like things could be lifting soon. Watch this space... 😎
I hope that you find these weekly recaps of Loving the Music mini-features make your musical world a little easier. Happy exploring! Join our Facebook Community here for a music group who does more than just post a link to a song.
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The Design Train is a social media marketing company run by music-lover Andrew Knapp, who also hosts the Loving the Music Facebook pages. The Design Train specializes in content creation on a wide variety of topics designed to compliment the client's objectives.
Words © Andrew Knapp
The author does not own the copyright of any of the videos used in the article