Six Brown Brothers:
When Aunt Dinah's Daughter Hannah
Bangs On That Piano

(recorded 1918)

Collecting Notes:

It's a wet and windy spring day when, after quite a bit of driving, my wife and I finally arrive at Granny and Grumpa's Antiques, out in the flat, fertile area of Fraser Valley farmland called Sumas Prairie. Its' a collection of massive barns, having been purpose-built as a dairy farm.

No one is around, but the doors are open. We're the only ones in there, often losing sight and sound of each other in the cavernous halls, while the rain pounds down on the metal roofing high above. The barns hold an eclectic collection of anything and everything from buttons to fire engines.

I zone in on a long wooden custom-made rack stuffed with 78s, many of which have French-Canadian titles. I pick out three or four, including this mint-condition Victor (apart from the fact it has a crack) because I'm intrigued by the title. Later I find out this is a novelty group from the vaudeville era who often performed in clown suits; not quite the jazz or blues I was hoping for.

Grumpa himself eventually makes an appearance. He tells me the whole collection, lock stock and barrel, is to be auctioned off in the coming fall, as the farm has been sold to a neighbour and the barns are to be returned to their original purpose of housing herds of dairy cows . . .

site map  /  more collecting stories