People, do the words “The Singing Post Family” mean anything to you?
The Posts were a family country-music band quite well-known and popular in the Hastings County area (where I grew up at the Manse in Queensborough) back in the late 1960s and 1970s. (How far into the ’70s, or beyond, the band kept going, I’m afraid I do not know.) But only recently did I discover the probable reason for their popularity in this region: it was because they were from here. The album cover of a vinyl treasure that I found at the Madoc Thrift Shop (source of many treasures, in my experience), called simply The Singing Post Family, says they are from neighbouring Prince Edward County. A quick internet search narrowed that down to the village of Carrying Place. (If you’re interested, Carrying Place got its unusual name because it was the place of a long portage for the First Nations people who first lived and moved through the area. You can read more about that here.)
Because they were local performers, the Posts were doubtless regulars on the regional country-music circuit (fall fairs and jamborees), which in turn would explain why they were “names” to residents of this area. But I actually think their fame may have spread further, and I’d be interested to hear from anyone who might know more about that.
The back cover of the LP The Singing Post Family. (Note how a fan in the household of its previous owner doodled the singers’ names. Cute!)
Anyway, in the great tradition of family groups – the Carter Family, the Jackson 5 and of course the Partridge Family (Hahaha! Just pulling your leg) – the Posts were a real family band: Dad Norman, daughters Joanne and Debra, and son Kenneth. The record that I found at the thrift shop – which appears to be their first, given its eponymous title – unfortunately has no date anywhere on it, but the album cover says that they “started singing country music as a family in 1967,” so it has to be at least a year or two later than that. At the time of the record, again according to the album cover, Joanne was 17, Debra 13 and Kenneth 7.
Here is the only song by the Post Family that I could find on YouTube. It’s not a song I know, and I don’t find it as interesting as the tracks on the album that I dug out at the thrift shop, but it’ll give you an idea of what they sound like:
I was tickled to death to find my Singing Post Family album. It wasn’t in great shape, but given that I paid something like a quarter for it, so what? It was the memories that it brought back that mattered – and boy did it bring back memories! This baby has a whole bunch of classic country tunes on it. They’re all (as far as I can tell) covers of songs that much bigger stars first recorded, but the Posts definitely have that old-timey country twang, and I have to say they lend the right spirit to material like D-I-V-O-R-C-E (made monstrously famous by Tammy Wynette, of course), Green Green Grass of Home (sung by everybody back in the day, like some other songs I wrote about here, but quite famously by Merle Haggard), and Daddy Sang Bass, which Johnny Cash and the Carter Sisters were known for.
Some of the other titles on the track list were not immediately familiar to me, but once I put the record on for a spin (yes, people, Raymond and I actually have a record player; would you have expected any less from such collectors of vintage stuff?), it all came hurtling back to me, WHAM! Man, did I know those songs! Songs like:
If you don’t love me, baby
If you’re not satisfied
If you don’t care, get on your horse
And ride, ride, ride.
– Ride Ride Ride, made famous by Lynn Anderson
Don’t it make you wanna go home now?
Don’t it make you wanna go home?
All God’s children get weary when they roam;
Don’t it make you wanna go home?
– Don’t It Make You Wanna Go Home, recorded by its writer, Joe South (who also wrote Games People Play – remember that one?), and Bobby Bare, among others
Her two little feet would come running into
Our bedroom almost every night.
Her soft little face would be wet from her tears
And her little heart pounding with fright.
She’d hold out her arms, then she’d climb in beside us
In her small voice, we’d hear her remark,
“Mommy and Daddy, can I sleep here with you?
‘Cause Jeannie’s afraid of the dark.”
– Jeannie’s Afraid of the Dark, written by the brilliant Dolly Parton and first recorded by Parton and Porter Waggoner
There’s a whole lotta people lookin’ down their noses at me
‘Cause I didn’t come from a wealthy family.
There was ten of us livin’ in a two-room shack
On the banks of the river by the railroad track.
We kept chickens in a pen in the back, and everybody said we was po’ folks.
– Po’ Folks, made famous by Bill Anderson
(Here is a fun little dissection of the Posts’ version of that last one, by blogger Graham at The Vinyl Resolution [thevinylresolution.blogspot.ca], who, like me came across their record by happenstance.)
Anyway, now I’m not sure whether I recognized those songs, and others like them on The Singing Post Family, because of the original versions that would have been on the radio and on other people’s LPs and singles back in my childhood – or because of the local renown and well-known repertoire of the Singing Post Family.
Whatever, I have to reiterate that Norman, Joanne, Debra (I think she was known locally by the familiar Debbie) and Kenneth (ditto: Kenny) had a great old-fashioned, down-home country sound, and I think they totally deserved whatever fame they found, locally or further afield. Their music sounds thoroughly retro to the modern ear. But hey – what’s wrong with that?