On the 4th Mondays of the month, I sing at the Meadowood Assisted Living Center in Grapevine. I begin back in the Memory Care section, and sing for about 30 minutes. Then I move up to the front of the building and sing for about 45 minutes to an hour, or up until lunch time.
Today, I wanted to do something different. So, I sang as many of the old Cowboy and Folk songs that I have on my iPad.
Now get this, I am singing songs like "Clementine", "Red River Valley," and "Ghost Riders in the Sky" . . . and one of the gentlemen there (who is probably in his 80's) says to me, "my dad used to love those songs."
The man is in his 80's, and he says that his dad loved the old folk songs.
That puts things into a little perspective for me. Good music is always good music.
After I sang "Do You Remember Sweet Betsy from Pike," another of the residents asked me what the song was about. Well, one resource I had checked earlier said that it was about an Irish couple who had come to America to escape the potato famine in Ireland. There are lots of varying "origin stories" for many of the old folk songs. Which is right or wrong depends on who is telling the story I guess. Some of these songs are old enough now that all we know anymore is how the song is sung today . . . which may be totally different than it was originally sung in days long ago.
Another resident remarked that the old folk songs were often about hard struggles. Consider "Erie Canal." Imagine being the mule driver whose mule pulled the longboats and barges through the various sections and locks of the Erie Canal. If you were lucky enough to have a good mule, you could make a hard, but decent living . . . "every step of the way from Albany to Buffalo."
"Clementine" shares the danger of mining. "Red River Valley" shares the story of a loved one who has had enough in a relationship and calls it quits. Life was hard then . . . and it's hard now. But consider that many of the old folk songs were about cowboy and pioneer days . . . when work was about all there was to life.
These are all old songs . . . but they are good songs. And good songs are always good songs.
God's grace . . . and good songs . . . still amaze me . . . ><>