2003   MAY 17   #137

Henry and Mom - Home Sweet Home

Robley "Bob" Evans was a singer, pianist, whistler, composer and music teacher who spent much of his life in Oakland, California. He lived a long life and passed away several years ago. Recently, his tired, unkempt house was opened to the public and all his possessions were put up for grabs.

Amongst all the clutter was small box of personal recordings that Bob Evans had made with various members of his family. Popular in the thirties and forties, blank Recordio Discs allowed people to make their own do-it-yourself recordings. The blanks came with a label providing an area to write down the contents of the record, date and the speed at which it was recorded. These fascinating "snapshots in sound" can range from indecipherable gibberish to touching personal messages and charming, albeit amateurish songs.

Since Bob Evans was a musician, most of his records are straightforward and pleasant listening. But there are a few exceptions when his less talented family members and friends take over, most likely after a couple of drinks. These, of course, are the gems we all hope for.

"Home Sweet Home" by Henry and Mom, an undated, 8-inch Duodisc is one of the best of the klunkers. I'm pretty sure Mom is Bob Evans' mom, they made lots of records together and seemed very close. At first, this painfully sad duet makes you wonder what their home must be like. But there is unmistakable warmth and honesty in their singing that gradually verifies the title. The joking and laughter at the end of the record remove all doubt.

- Basic Hip, http://www.basichip.com

TT-3:17 / 3.8MB / 160kbps 44.1khz

(Images courtesy of Basic Hip)