It’s the week of the 4th; therefore, happy 242 everyone! We thought it appropriate to pick an appropriate oddball this week. Americans are oddities and goofballs who, despite our tendencies to be loud and aggressive, love to laugh at ourselves and enjoy the informal way of life. It is with this in mind that The Public Records happily presents its album of the week of July 4th, 2018: Strike Up The Band “Stars And Stripes Forever” And Other Sousa Marches by The Eastman Wind Ensemble conducted by Donald Hunsberger (Philips, 1976; Dutch pressing).

Now everybody knows that John Philip Sousa is ‘The March King’ for his massive catalog of military marches and for the direction he led in the creation of the sousaphone – that big ol’portable tuba that only the coolest of cats play in marching band…but there is a lot more to the man.

Sousa, a first generation American, was born in 1854 in Washington D.C. His mother, Marie Elisabeth Trinkaus who had been born in Bavaria, met and married a Portugese Spaniard, John Antonio Sousa. John Antonio was a trombonist in the United States Marine Band and the young John Philip was taught music privately at an early age. At age 11 he made his debut as a violin soloist and at age 13 enlisted in the Marines as a child musician to work with his father in the band.

In 1875, at the age of 21, he obtained his discharge and the next year joined Offenbach as a musician on his American tour. He then began working with a theater group doing light opera. He was asked by the Marines to come back and direct their band and began his career with them in 1880. For the next 12 years Sousa directed and composed many of his famous marches until he was approached to create his own civilian that would be financed by someone else – who could say no? This career choice was no mistake; between 1900 and 1905, four European tours were made and from 1910-1911 and thirteen month world tour was undertaken.

The man was prolific. He wrote around 140 marches and numerous operettas as well as three novels and many musical treatises; oh, and he was a talented equestrian as well. So, yeah.

This week be sure to enjoy fire flies and fireworks, hot dogs, hambugers, and bean burgers. Stay safe and wear tons of sunscreen. Be sure to stay hydrated; but most important of all be sure to get down to The Síbín for Blanton’s neat and enjoy the fire of a great brass section washing over you while you enjoy the heat bourbon washing you out!