As Mother’s Day approaches, we revisit one of our favorite books and a Journal post honoring mothers. Our friends at Dust-to-Digital released Never A Pal Like Mother: Vintage Songs & Photographs of the One Who’s Always True in 2011. The forward is written by friend, mother, Alabama Chanin ambassador, and master lyricist Rosanne Cash.
In May of 2021, The School of Making partnered with Rosanne for Swatch of the Month, releasing an exclusive swatch design inspired by Rosanne’s book Bird on a Blade with artist Dan Rizzie.
Shop the “Bird on a Branch” Poncho, T-Shirt Top, and Swing Skirt DIY kits featuring the May 2021 Swatch of the Month design.
Work your way back through our 2021 Swatch of the Month subscription here.
Learn more about Dust-to-Digital and read Rosanne’s forward below.
And Happy Mother’s Day to “the most important person in the entire lexicon.”
Dust-to-Digital is a unique recording company that serves to combine rare recordings with historical images and descriptive texts, resulting in cultural artifacts. We have previously written about several of their collections that resonate so well with our brand. We believe in preserving traditions, and Dust-to-Digital truly speaks to that with their historically rich albums. We share one of their books, Never A Pal Like Mother: Vintage Songs & Photographs of the One Who’s Always True, for Mother’s Day.
Compiled by April and Lance Ledbetter, founders of the Dust-to-Digital label, the 96-page hardcover book features vintage black and white and sepia-toned images of mothers and their children interspersed with poignant lines from popular commercial recordings of the early twentieth century, each one dedicated to Mom. An essay by Sarah Bryan accompanies two CDs of 40 recordings from 1927 to 1956.
From Rosanne’s essay and the Dust-to-Digital site:
“We can feel our American past here: how we lived, how hard we worked, how we were a nation of travelers and wanderers, how we held fast to our faith, how great our losses were, how quickly death came, and how often our mothers were the rock and the lighthouse, the home inside our hearts. These songs could never be written in the age of jet travel, therapy, delayed adolescence, the internet, nor could they survive current popular ideas of human psychology. They are pristine and deeply wrought sonic images, unfiltered through modern expectations, and are all the more refreshing and thrilling for being so. Those of us who treasure American roots music are listening to the very center of its essence in this anthology: a nearly century-old collection of songs about the most important person in the entire lexicon.” — Rosanne Cash, from the introduction to Never a Pal Like Mother
The book itself, contents notwithstanding, has the beauty of a treasure chest, the CDs tucked neatly inside pockets on the front and back covers. The back cover displays the song list in a vintage-inspired typeface that invokes the memory of an old record, perhaps one played on a phonograph of one the mothers depicted within the pages. A digital version is also available. Any mother would be proud to count this album among her library of cherished tomes (while ballads celebrating her heroism play in the background).