I grew up in a family that, after Thanksgiving dinner, slid from singing Christmas carols to singing 60s protest and folk songs.
I had a “folk music for children” record that I played constantly.
I saw Raffi in concert. (Don’t be jealous.)
And, when I was a teenager and for a few years after that, my friend C and I saw Peter, Paul, and Mary in concert every single summer. We took the train up to Ravinia, spread out our blanket on the lawn, and enjoyed a picnic while the . . . original era fans marveled at our presence.
It was pretty much the Exact Same Concert every year. Not just the songs, but the patter, too. The last few years Mary’s voice was nearly gone; she saved it for “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. There was always a new song about SUVs or something silly like that.
But it didn’t matter. I loved that music, and those voices, and I still do. And now, I get to inflict it on my offspring.
When Zoe was a baby, I used to sing “Lemon Tree” to her while I changed her diaper. (Just the chorus, since the verses about the faithlessness of women have very little to do with babies generally or dirty diapers specifically). Now that she’s a preschooler, I think it’s time for this and this, and maybe this one, too.
Because the longer I can keep her singing folk music, the less time she’ll spend singing the terrible music of this modern era. May it be so. Amen.
What are the songs of your childhood?