A recording to glorify the voices of WWII era "Banner" Gibsons and the women who made them.
It was the worst of times and, well, really just the worst of times. Just before the holidays, we had suffered a devastating attack on our shores. Evil incarnate was swallowing Europe. We trembled when we heard the (hopefully) just-for-practice air raid sirens. At night, we turned off all of our lights so as to deprive the enemy of a visible target and cowered with our loved ones and hoped for a glimpse of daylight on the other side of our darkest hours.
But, life went on and a purveyor of musical instruments, certainly the most frivolous of goods at this point in history, decided to embrace the future and produce a whole new line of guitars. It was a moment in history when superlatives trivialized our ultimate goal simply to survive. So, the manufacturer, the Gibson Guitar Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan, adopted a modest slogan that trumpeted the “good enough.”
Given Wartime raw materials restrictions, Gibson had to resort to improvisation, the scrap heap, and a “nearly all” female workforce. But, the company swallowed its pride, whined in private about the burden of the gender of its crew, and denied in public that it was doing what it must do both to survive the cataclysmic challenge of the times and to try to maintain its reputation as a maker of fine musical instruments. So, while the company commissioned advertising art promising that it would await the return of “the boys” before producing another instrument, it reluctantly and perhaps under the cover of darkness shipped out some 10,000 girl-made guitars. It graced the headstock of each of those guitars with a small, golden, silk-screened banner emblazoned with “Only a Gibson is Good Enough.” When those boys did return home to retake most of the jobs held by women, good enough apparently became insufficient and the banner disappeared.
This CD will be the audio companion to my book that tells this story: Kalamazoo Gals: the Story of the Extraordinary Women (and a few Men) Who Built Gibson’s WWII “Banner” Guitars. (in press at Michigan State University Press and scheduled for publication in the fall of 2012). American roots songster Lauren Sheehan will play a different Wartime Banner Gibson on each of these dozen tracks. One of the dozen women I found and interviewed who appeared in Gibson’s 1944 workforce photograph will introduce each track. This recording is dedicated to their craft and, for those who did not survive to see the completion of this project, to their memory.
So, please join me in this historic and extraordinary musical journey.
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A CD autographed by artist Lauren Sheehan and producer and author John Thomas.Estimated delivery:
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A CD autographed by artist Lauren Sheehan and producer and author John Thomas and the book, "Kalamazoo Gals: the Story of the Extraordinary Women (and a few Men) Who Built Gibson's WWII 'Banner' Guitars," autographed by John ThomasEstimated delivery:
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An autographed CD, autographed book, "Kalamazoo Gals: the Story of the Extraordinary Women (and a few Men) Who Built Gibson's WWII 'Banner' Guitars," and a t-shirt bearing an image of the book's cover.Estimated delivery:
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An autographed CD, autographed book, "Kalamazoo Gals: the Story of the Extraordinary Women (and a few Men) Who Built Gibson's WWII 'Banner' Guitars," a t-shirt bearing an image of the book's cover, and I'll be your best friend for life.Estimated delivery:
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