Family Lore – A Favorite Song
Do you know the name of your mother’s favorite song? Was it the most popular song of the day? Was it the music your parent danced to while courting? In the 1920s Edith Day was an actress and recording star.
We were told our mother’s favorite song was the Indian Love Call. It was recorded by Edith Day in 1921 and 1924 .
The old mahogany record player stood in the corner of the livingroom at her sister’s house. Its rich wood had to be dusted and polished every Saturday. The records stood on edge in slots inside the lower cabinet. These were large and thick.
Preparations started by picking one record up carefully by the edges and placing it on a spindle in the turntable. A good needle had to be tested by running your finger down to the point to feel any rough spot. After placing the needle in the arm and gently placing it on the first groove, a hand crank got the music started.
More recordings and information about Edith Day can be heard at Internet Archives online.
Alex Haley was a great motivator for the study and recording of personal histories. He talked about his book, Roots, for ten years before it was published. By the time it was available, the public was eagerly waiting to read it. Also he had the television rights in place unlike when he published The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Southern writers had long depended on the oral traditions of families for their plots. It is important to get those stories before they are lost forever. Personal histories with documentation are more and more desired by readers.