Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Amalgamated Singers

It has been a most trying day. The repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell may have been heralded as a positive by 77% of the nation, but the other 33% of us are not the least bit happy. Fortunately, today I also got an amazing Christmas gift.

In the early 1960s, before I was born, my mother was in a band called The Amalgamated Singers. They released only one album called Office Romance and it is incredibly hard to find. I had heard it growing up, but owning a copy for myself has been an elusive quest to say the least. Today, I received a copy in the mail from a delightful young lobbyist who knew how much I wanted a copy of my mother's own record.

The Amalgamated Singers were formed in 1960 by my mother and 4 other musicians who believed that folk musicians of the time focused too much on blue collar issues and liberal social causes. Their music attempted to give the other side of things. Songs like The Mine Owner's Lament, Tax Bracket Blues, and How We Broke the Strike of '92 gave encouragement to white collar workers and professionals. They were the only folk group to sing about the need for a strong nuclear deterrent against Soviet expansion.

Sadly, like a shooting star they were gone too fast. They broke up by 1962 and my mom had my older brother and quit performing, but hearing her voice on The Mine Owner's Lament was a treat today as she bemoaned the difficulties of finding miners to replace those dead in a collapse.

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