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Daily Picayune, February 18, 1881. Also known as a barrel organ, the hand organ was like a cross between a calliope and a music box. It opened up the busking trade to those without musical skills, but was not readily programmable, so some dudes just ground out a single melody throughout their careers as street entertainers.
“Star Spangled Banner” didn’t become the national anthem until 1931, and their was considerable controversy over the choice owing to the melody’s origins as a bawdy 18th-century British drinking song. It’d be interesting to know whether our patriotic sailor was serving in the U.S. Navy, as the latter, hard-drinking crew were early adopters of the song when the rest of the country still regarded “Hail, Columbia” as the patriotic default.

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3 Comments

  1. He attempted to brain John Lowry with a beer keg. Lowry responded, “It’s-a me, Lowrio!” and escaped up a ladder, then made too many sequels.

  2. Based on the photo , I doubt that I could do more than “foot” somebody with that beast.

  3. I’ve just confirmed via internest the Lowrey is indeed a maker fine , some might say cheesy , electric organs.


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