Songs defined tumultuous time in America

Published 9:08 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Today’s column may not find identity with some of my readers because I am writing about songs, recording artists and entertainers of the World War II years.

But your parents and grandparents will be right at home and can definitely identify with this era.

The fields of popular music and country music offered countless songs depicting World War II endeavors. For instance, there was a song, “The White Cliffs of Dover,” which was made popular by female vocalists Vera Lynn and Kate Smith. And, how about that tremendous hit by The Andrews Sisters, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy?”

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A haunting song, “There’s a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere,” was made popular by several artists including Hank Snow, Elton Britt and Ray Price. “Smoke on the Water,” “At Mail Call Today” and “Stars and Stripes on Iwo Jima” had their places during these stressful days.

The wacky orchestra leader Spike Jones and his City Slickers gave us “Der Fuehrer’s Face.”

We took time to welcome musical artists’ non-war songs from other countries. For instance, the Latinos inspired  “Managua Nicaragua” (is a wonderful spot, there is coffee and bananas and the temperature is hot).  This song was made famous by Freddy Martin and his orchestra. Also, “South America Take it Away,” was sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, and “Tampico, Tampico on the Gulf of Mehico (Mexico),” was a big hit for June Christy and the Stan Kenton orchestra. From Germany, Marlene Dietrich gave us that 1944 hit, “Lili Marlene.” From France, Dick Haymes rendered, “Mam’selle.”

Associating the singers or bandleaders with these songs should be a lot of fun. They are  “Cattle Call,” “Bell Bottom Trousers,” “Till the End of Time,” “Rum and Coca-Cola,” “Sioux City Sue,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let It Snow,” “Jealous Heart,” Oklahoma Hills,” “There’s a New Moon Over My Shoulder,” “Gonna Build a Big Fence Around Texas,” “Walking the Floor Over You,” “Great Speckle Bird,” “Ole Buttermilk Sky,” “Blue Skies,” “Peg of My Heart,” “Open The Door Richard” and “Let’s Go to Church Next Sunday Morning.”

I write about these songs from this time period because some probably do not realize you can go to your computer and listen and watch them on YouTube. In fact, you will find thousands of old-time radio shows and even movies on YouTube. I have already mentioned about a revolutionary method to see and hear this right on your TV. Chromecast, a brand new invention by Google, has come on the scene and offers your Internet favorites in the comfort of your den or living room. For $35, you can buy it online, plug it into your TV and watch YouTube, Netflix and countless programs.

Now let’s take a look at some news from 1954. Lawrence Cooper advertised in The Advance cube steaks at 10 cents each and Piggly Wiggly offered Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for 20 cents a box and onions for three cents each.

Two from here made news that year. Assistant football coach W. J. Slovinac resigned from ECHS to take a head-coaching job in another state and David W. Coker was awarded a commendation ribbon for meritorious service in Korea.

A Northwest Florida young man was bucked off a donkey in a donkey ballgame staged in Byrne Field. He was carried off on a stretcher but later returned with no apparent major injuries.

McMurphy Dairy Bar, now Buster’s, had its grand opening in May. It was one of Atmore’s favorite places for meals, milk shakes and friendly gatherings. The dairy, which had a big herd of cows, was located across the street and railroad tracks.

Great news from Airbus came our way this week: It was announced that full-scale hiring for the construction of the buildings would be aired and several hundred workers would be needed for these jobs. There was also news of new orders for airplanes coming from other countries to be announced soon. Let’s hope Atmore can cash in, obtaining supply houses and related “offshoot” businesses from Airbus.

Our Pink Lady this week is Hazel Higdon. This dedicated lady has devoted 25 years to this Hospital Auxiliary.

I will have more news of Atmore’s people, places and events next week.

Email Lowell McGill at