2003   AUGUST 6   #218

Herby and Elena Ayers - What Would We Do Without Glass?

Here we have a bit of propaganda for that most important of professions, the glass blower. I found this record at the late, lamented ALS fundraising Mammoth Music Mart, at least ten years ago, and have treasured it ever since.

I know almost nothing about this record, except that it is from 1951 - even if the date wasn't right on the letter, the line about the neighbors watching your TV is a classic, time specific reference - and that it was produced by and for the Glass Blowers Union (it's not my impression that 1951 was the best time ever for unions in America.....).

It's interesting that the focus of the song is on glass in general - the points made are well taken, but most of those points would appear to have precious little to do with glass bottle blowing. On the other hand, maybe that was simply the name of a union that actually did far more than glass blowing: perhaps 50 years on, I'm simply missing the connection. Whatever the story is, I enjoy the list of glass products we couldn't do without, a few of which no longer exist today, or at least are no longer made of glass.

The record label (attached) indicates that it is not licensed for radio broadcast, which is a shame, because I'm sure that, given the opportunity, this song would have competed with How High the Moon, Come On-A My House and Cry for the biggest hit song of the year.

- Bob Purse

TT-2:58 / 2.7MB / 128kbps 44.1khz
from Ayer-Tune 78 #AT-101A

(Image courtesy of Bob Purse)

Frank DiSalle writes:
With reference to your statement about the Glass Blowers' Union, "...it was produced by and for the Glass Blowers Union (it's not my impression that 1951 was the best time ever for unions in America....)..." In my early American History course in College, we learned that the Jamestown colonizers brought with them a few Italian glass blowers, Italians being, at the time, the only people who could blow glass. Shortly after their arrival in America they went on strike for higher wages. They held out until they got them! And there you have it -- the first union, and the first strike, in American history: the glass blowers. Keep the tunes coming.

Richard Duggan writes:
My brother turned me onto your site, knowing that I'd love it- and I do! I'm a designer and glass artist. What a treat to hear "What Would We Do Without Glass?" Maybe it's time for a rap group to re-record it...