Saturday Single No. 427

So what do we know about January 10?

Well, easily enough to determine, it’s the tenth day of the year under the Julian calendar, with 355 more to come.

Wikipedia has lengthy lists of events that took place and of folks who were born on January 10, and I scanned the lists this morning without much enthusiasm until I saw in the birthdays: “1836 – Charles Ingalls, American father of author Laura Ingalls Wilder (d. 1902).”

A little bit more than a year ago, I wrote about the organization called “Pa’s Fiddle Project,” which aims to release on ten CDs modern recordings of all the music mentioned in the Little House series of books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, from Little House In The Big Woods onward. The CD I wrote about in December 2013, titled as well Pa’s Fiddle, was the third in the planned series.

Having been interested since first grade in the Little House series, and being interested more and more in vintage music – the music folks listened to in the years before it could be recorded – I thought that was a cool idea, and I put the three existing releases on my wish list and vowed to keep an eye open for the subsequent releases.

Then, last May, as I rummaged through the stacks of CDs at one of our local pawnshops, I came across a CD titled A Tribute To Charles “Pa” Ingalls by Bruce Hoffmann. The 2006 CD offers recordings of sixteen songs mentioned in Wilder’s book, which sounded very similar to the CDs being released by the Pa’s Fiddle Project.

The difference, though, was that Hoffman recorded the sixteen offerings on his CD in the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Mansfield, Missouri, and he played the tunes on Charles Ingalls’ fiddle. I grabbed the CD without delay and paid something like a dollar for it – the pawnshop was clearing its CD inventory – although I likely would have paid much more.

Joining Hoffman on the CD is a variety of other musicians – recorded elsewhere, I assume – adding banjo, mandolin, piano, tin whistle, recorder, guitar, and some vocals, including a rendition of “The Gypsy’s Warning” from country star Pam Tillis.

I’ve selected Hoffman’s performance of Stephen Foster’s “Oh Susannah” for this morning; joining him are Curt Ames on guitar and Greg Moody on banjo. So here, to mark the birth of Charles Ingalls 179 years ago today, is “Oh Susanna,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

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