Booster Songs, 2021 Edition

— by Kim Davenport

Back in 2017, which feels like a lifetime ago after the epic journey that was 2020, I shared a talk at The Swiss (RIP) about “booster songs” written in honor of Tacoma during the period 1890-1920. A musical form of boosterism and advertising, the songs are fun to explore for their beautiful cover artwork, entertaining lyrics, and peeks into a variety of stories from that era of Tacoma’s history.

The great folks at Grit City Magazine reached out to me recently to revisit that research, which I was delighted to do for what ended up being an article in Volume 10 of their beautiful hard-copy magazine.

Ever looking for things to keep me busy and positive during the pandemic, I realized it was a great time to revisit the talk and record a few of the songs. Thankfully, a fine young musician with whom I’ve been collaborating was game to lend his voice to the sometimes awkward rhymes (thank you, Drew!)

With a few short videos produced and uploaded to YouTube, I’m able to share the updated research talk again, this time virtually rather than as a pub talk (thanks, pandemic). This short post is my way of sharing with my followers a few of those links…

First, here are the songs themselves: You’ll Like Tacoma (1909), Watch Tacoma Grow (1906), and Tacoma: The Rose of the West (1910):

With thanks to the We Art Tacoma podcast, here’s my appearance there to talk about this topic, and my larger project of researching Tacoma’s musical history.

And finally, thank you to Tacoma Historical Society for hosting my talk at their January 2021 virtual meeting, which you can view below. My remarks begin at 9:38, following some THS business at the start of the meeting.

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