Changing Views of Women
The Knott family record collection spans the years from 1911 to 1949. During this time America’s view of women changed dramatically. This change can be heard in the music.
I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen is the prototypical Irish ballad but was actually composed by a German immigrant with a tune taken from Mendelssohn. It expresses the attitude in the early twentieth century that a woman needed a man to act on her behalf. Here is a recording from 1921:
Through most of the 78 RPM era equality in relationships was growing. This solo piano recording of Charmaine is from an album entitled ‘Frankie Carle and His Girlfriends’ with each of the song titles being a women’s name. The album originally held four records; unfortunately the other records in the set are missing.
By the 1940s women had made enough social progress that lyricist Johnny Mercer was comfortable casting Tangerine as desirable but a bit of a poser. Here, Vaughn Monroe’s foghorn delivery only emphasizes that perspective.
The collection has at least two dozen songs with women’s names in the title. Most of the lyrics are directed to the subject of the song. Tangerine is unique in that it is a portrait not a love song.
Henry Burr (1921)
A: I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen
Frankie Carle (1942)
Vaughn Monro (1941)