Neither of my parents was a big music fan…I don’t remember them ever playing music in any of the different houses that we lived in. Amazingly, I do not even remember them playing music on the car radio when we driving…..and we did a lot of driving as we moved around the United States every year or so.
We did have a old record player, however, and when I was about ten years old I discovered a few records that belonged to my mother. For the next four years or so I wore those few records out playing them over and over again. The records were a diverse selection of popular music from the late 50s and early 60s and they represent my earliest musical memories.
One of my mother’s albums was Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits and it was a treasure trove of great music and American History put to music. If I had to name one album that got me interested in music it would be this one. The album also gave me a love of history that continues to this day. Jim Bridger is probably my favorite Johnny Horton song. Let’s listen….
Jim Bridger was one of the many mountain men that explored the American west in the early 1800s. They were a hardy lot to say the least and we have them to thank for laying the ground work for the expansion of America to the Pacific coast. Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article about Jim.
James Felix “Jim” Bridger (March 17, 1804 – July 17, 1881) was among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820-1850, as well as mediating between native tribes and encroaching whites. He was of English ancestry, and his family had been in North America since the early colonial period.
Jim Bridger had a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he encountered walking the Rocky Mountains from what would become southern Colorado to the Canadian border. He had conversational knowledge of French, Spanish and several native languages. He would come to know many of the major figures of the early west, including Brigham Young, Kit Carson, George Armstrong Custer, John Fremont, Joseph Meek, and John Sutter.
You might be more familiar with another of Johnny’s songs about the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. That song was a number 1 hit for him in 1958. Here is a great television performance of the song, let’s listen……
I am sad to have to tell you that Johnny died a tragic death in 1960 at the age of 35. He was returning home from a concert performance when a car that he was driving was hit by a drunk driver. Another talented musician lost way too soon.
As always, let me know what you think.