On Independence Day, I spun some records in the spirit of the holiday. Of course, my grandfather’s marches got a spin. So did An Open Letter to My Teenage Son. Which was the extent of pure patriotic music I had in hand, although I could have uncorked the whole Reader’s Digest set of Kate Smith to get to “God Bless America”.
Instead, I went to Tchiakovsky’s 1812 Overture. Yes, I know the record was not about the American troubles in 1812 and was more about the Russian troubles in 1812 (DWL!), but it has freakin’ cannons in it, okay? Well, I thought I was going to spin “1812 Overture”, but I discovered it was “1812 Overture” with “The Nutcracker Suite” with “The Nutcracker Suite” on Side 1. Which would make it more “The Nutcracker Suite” with “1812 Overture” if you ask me. So I spent a bit of Independence Day celebrating Christmas in July.
Then I cracked out the boxed set The American Spirit, which I would have expected to be about America and its spirit. Well. I didn’t look too closely as I was doing other things with patriotic and other music in the background. So I put this new set on and….
It’s a collection of Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops and a bunch of songs that are American. Including “Sleigh Ride”, which was a hit for Fiedler in 1949 or 1950 and a hit pretty much for anyone who can simulate a whip crack ever since.
So I listened to two Christmas songs on Independence Day.
Fast forward (or move the needle to) Saturday, when I’m in a thrift store on the wrong side of Branson, and I run across a real Christmas album, and I buy it.
Let me ‘splain:
When I was a child in the 1970s, it was a tradition for my father to play two records on Christmas morning: This one and Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs by Marty Robbins. I don’t know why he did it. It might have seemed amusing to him. Maybe he got the LPs on Christmas. I don’t know.
All I know is that this tradition had run for several years, which is all it takes for something to become “a tradition” in the eyes of the child.
And now I can share that tradition with my children.