Montague Michaels began life on the edge of Boston Bay. As soon as he could walk, he was helping his father catch crabs at the water’s edge to sell to the fine restaurants along the harbor. When his father bought a fishing boat, young Monty would help throw out the lobster traps, then haul them back in. Once in awhile stray sea beasties would be found in the traps instead. The most unusual stray Monty found in one was a large ribbon fish, which had silver scales but moved like an eel. It was a masterpiece of fish design! He and his father were surprised when The Wharfside Inn paid twice as much for it as a lobster. From then on ribbon fish were considered good luck.
Although Monty loved the seaside life and helping his father support their family, by the time he reached the age of 18, the urge to roam hit him. When he heard about the gold rush in California, Monty was determined to go there and make his fortune. Hitching a ride with a religious wagon train, he headed out west.
To pass the time and to remind himself of home, Monty began singing his seafaring songs on the trail. At night around the campfire, the guitars, banjos, fiddles, and harmonicas came out, resulting in some red hot jam sessions. Even the animals provided accompaniment with the horses chomping and the trail dogs barking. The audience loved the music. Young, doe-eyed maidens giggled and blushed at the musicians.
After weeks of popular nightly jam sessions, the group began talking about trying to earn money through playing their music once they reached a town. With Monty as the singer, they couldn’t go wrong. Monty was excited and inspired and starting jotting down lyrics and melodies. Once written, the band would try them out on their audience. His song, “White Mountains, Blue Moon” was a masterpiece and the crowd went wild for it. Jimmy Joe, the fiddle player said one night, “Boys, we need a name for our band for when we make our first record.” As Monty was the songwriter and had “the voice as big as a mountain,” they decided to call themselves, Montana Blue and The Mountain Boys. They were one of the few bands in those days with a percussionist, who continued making the chomping and barking sounds, among others, including clip-clop horse walking and the rainsssssssssssssssssstick.
The band did go on to play and make money in the western towns, and they did make records. “White Mountains, Blue Moon” is still a fan favorite.
Sarah is the host of Mindlovemisery Menagerie’s Saturday Mix. Sarah says:
This week we are hearing things, as we explore the use of ONOMATOPOEIA. You will need to use the THREE onomatopoeic words in your response – which can be poetry or prose.
Our three words, using onomatopoeia are:
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