November – Turn On Your Radio

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When I was growing up, my father was an avid radio operator. Not the kind of radio for listening to music, but the kind for talking to people far away. When the weather was right, a cloudless night sky, he’d say, “Propagation’s good!”, power up his equipment and scan the frequencies for friends, most of whom he had never met in person. He talked to people as far away as Russia and deep into the southern hemisphere.

It's hard to see, but there's a tall radio antennae to the right of the ukulele. He's wondering how far it's signal reaches!

It’s hard to see, but there’s a tall radio antennae to the right of the ukulele. He’s wondering how far its signal travels!

In the room where he stored his radios, my father had a world map that showed the distant places he’d contacted. My favorite was the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Rocks. I thought the name alone was funny, but it was also as remote a place as I could imagine. My father showed me a black and white picture of it; a few barren stones in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Back then, the internet was limited and it wasn’t easy to communicate. I showed the map and picture to my friends because I was proud that my father talked with people so far away.

During the holidays, my father turned on his radio and it sounded like the skies were alive with good cheer. We heard celebrations taking place all over the world. Friends and strangers wished us a merry day and we returned the joyful salutations. It made the world seem like a friendly place. Even though the US and the Soviet Union were waging a “cold war”, I realized I had something in common with the people outside of my country. I learned that the only way to really know someone was to talk with them.

All of these instruments are different, and the cello doesn't trust the banjo all of the time, but for the most part they get along!

All of these instruments are different, and the cello doesn’t trust the banjo all of the time, but for the most part they get along! Without each one, this song wouldn’t be the same.

Folks, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday this year. I know it’s a busy time, but it’s also a time to reflect on how much we have in common with everyone else in the world. Most people like to hum a tune and share their happiness with the people around them.

This month I was very lucky, Robert Cantrell helped me with the percussion parts in the song. If you hear an awesome “THUMP” during the verses, or a little razzle-dazzle during the last chorus, you’re hearing the fun, skill and energy that he brought to the part. If you’d like to sing or play along with us, here are the chords and lyrics!

6 thoughts on “November – Turn On Your Radio

  1. Hank says:

    Very nice tune! I remember Jack talking about your dad’s ham radio.

    1. Josh says:

      It was extensive! The antenna was so large people would stop and stare at it, and then come ask what it was for.

  2. xiaobai says:

    Dear Josh, the tune, the lyrics and the play are wonderful. Who is the singer ? I like the articulated accent too. Frank must be very proud of you. I didn’t know he played with Ham radio.

    1. Josh says:

      Thanks so much! That’s me singing. You’ll have to ask Frank about his radio days. He was really into it. We had a huge antenna over our house. It was so big people would stop and ask us what it was and what it was for!

  3. Michael says:

    Hey Josh, we love this song and having a lot of fun listening to it. Carlo even looked it up later on his device, because he likes your version but isn’t interested in the original. Definitively a welcomed surprise that you have picked a piece like this!

    1. Josh says:

      Glad you like it! I hope my German was OK!

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