When I was about ten, Mom joined "Record of the Month Club" to expand her collection of classical records and to expose her five young'uns to some culture. When she missed sending in the selection card, we received some interesting records. I was introduced to folk music with a Peter, Paul and Mary album, but nothing influenced our family like "The Greatest Hits of Johnny Horton." This album must have been played a gazillion times by my three younger brothers, and the fate of the alligator in "The Battle of New Orleans" always made them giggle.
A few years ago, we discovered that all five of us children had bought the cassette and introduced these songs to our children. It's a favorite for road trip singalongs. Three generations of Bishops know the words to North to Alaska, Sink the Bismarck, Ol Jim Bridger, and, of course, we know to hold our fire... to send the bloody British...where a rabbit wouldn't go.
This morning, while watching my great-niece (2 years old) and great-nephew (3 months old), I held them spell bound with a couple of Johnny Horton songs. She just looked at me with her mouth open and he laughed and laughed. Welcome, fourth generation, to a music tradition.