There are so many good old songs from the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries, and I'm sure my mother knew most of them. She would always sing as she did the housework. No surprise, then, that I know the lyrics for dozens of these songs - we are little sponges at two, three, and four.
The lyrics are very handy in the event of a sing-along breaking out around a campfire - the parents who sang or the kids who listened to the old songs providing loads of laughs for the younger ones. I can remember a friend's kids being in turn amazed and appalled at us singing " Mairzy Dotes (Mares Eat Oats)." The play of words intrigued them, but they were essentially too cool to admit liking the song.
For years in the seventies (maybe still?), Shakey's Pizza Parlor had a sing-along every Friday night. Our favourites were Lloyd and Tommy, with guitar and banjo, singing all the old favourites. If memory serves me well, we became excellent sing-along singers after a couple of beers!
Whether the pizza-parlor singing was practice for church choir, or vice versa is a moot point. Also in the seventies, I sang with a folk choir at church. It was at that time when hip pastors played guitars, and the women in the folk choir all had matching, if somewhat subdued, hippie outfits.
We sang many of the songs of the Medical Mission Sisters who were justly famous for their religious folk music and had quite a following, with five or six albums to their credit.
In the choir, at the pizza parlour, around the campfire or around the house, singing is a good; singing the good old songs, even better. I haven't encountered a good sing-along for many years; perhaps people no longer do this. Pity.
My thanks to Cher at AskCherlock, who mentioned fond memories of her parents singing and harmonizing together, which unleashed this trip down the memory lane of song.