We Sang for Our Supper
While listening to radio during the 1940's and early 1950's, one often heard the announcer say,' The following program was electrically transcribed...'meaning it was produced at one time on a 16-inch disc, to be played at another time on a radio program. From the private archives of Betty Johnson and her brothers, Kenneth, Bob and Jim a special selection of twenty songs-all different in genre-are identified by the date and sometimes the hour the song was heard by listeners across America. The evolutionary sound of the Johnson voices, from childhood to young adults, represents the maturing sound of the Johnson Children, Red (Kenneth) Betty, Bob and Jim. Usually the accompaniment if by 'Pa' Johnson and his faithful Gibson guitar: on other songs, the gifted hands of Larry Walker accompanied the family. Still other musicians chimed in occasionally to augment the Johnson sound. The final song in the collection, 'The Death of Ellenton,' deserves special note. While it was recorded by the family on Columbia Records, it was not taken from a transcription. One of the earliest protest songs against the dangers of nuclear energy, the Library of Congress included it in their Bi-centennial release, Songs of Local History and Events. Co-authored by 'Pa' Johnson, the song prophetically speaks to dangers of the nuclear age. The University of Mississippi asked Betty Johnson (Bliss Tavern Music) to produce this CD which accompanies the book 'We Sang For Our Supper,' by her brother, Dr. Kenneth M. Johnson Although too often neglected by scholars and historians, gospel music is loved by aficiaonados and is cherished by many people everywhere. This CD WE SANG FOR OUR SUPPER conveys a contribution to not only gospel genre of American music but other genres as well. This music has a secure place in American culture. All in all, this is a rare listing pleasure to the most versatile and unusual family singing group in modern times. It would be wonderful if each of the great gospel groups could fin and chronicle their work, as this CD has expressed. A real walk in the selection of songs and a tribute to my brother Kenneth who really was the business manager of the family and who kept carbon copies of all correspondence and folders with numerous newspaper clippings, magazine articles, radio scripts, songbooks, and sheet music-items which convince him that, indeed, the family story was an important part of 'Our American Heritage.' Not to have put it in writing and a CD would have been a negligence on our part. All the family history is preserved in the Archives of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. Selections in the CD 'Hear These golden Oldies...' 4-7-18-20 Dick Spottswood Show WAMU/Washington D.C. 'this Family is aired on my shows regularly and they bring back the precious memories of a simple and good life.'