REVIEWS & COMMENTS
"David Bonner's fascinating look at the nostalgic world of Young People's Records takes the reader far beyond memory lane and into the political and philosophical worlds of those who planned them, wrote them, and performed on them. The complicated history of a host of record labels that sprung from those children's discs, which Mr. Bonner recounts, adds to the tremendous value of his book. Anyone who grew up with these priceless records must read what's on these pages."—Peter Bay, Conductor, Austin Symphony Orchestra
"I grew up with Young People's Records. 'The Funniest Song In The World' featuring Groucho Marx and 'By Rocket To The Moon' with Raymond Scott helped mold the mind of the boy who became Dr. Demento. Here's the whole story of how those and hundreds of other YPR favorites were created by some of the most progressive thinkers and artists of their times, how they became a target for those in the McCarthy era and later those who sought to repress and confine the minds of young Americans, and how their spirit of joy in knowledge perseveres."—Dr Demento, Syndicated Radio Personality
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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Pictured is the August/September 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association. On the cover is Judith Sidorsky in 1926. She was 14 years old at the time, when she recorded a piano roll (possibly two) for the Welte-Mignon company. Piano roll collectors were unaware of the roll's existence until 2007, when a dealer in Michigan unearthed one of them. When I found out about it, I contacted Judith's son Rob with the news. Turned out that he had in his possession the roll that Judith had been given back in 1926; it had been in the family -- unheard -- for all those years. So he sent the roll to me, and I took it over to a gentleman here in Austin named Ken Caswell, a leading piano roll expert who has a couple of the world's finest "reproducing pianos" for playing such rolls. It was quite a treat getting to hear the roll, 82 years after it was originally made, on Ken's LOUD, vintage Feurich piano.
I didn't receive Horace Grenell's 350-page FBI file until after my book was published. Unlike most FBI files, this one actually contains some interesting stuff. One thing that makes it different is that it is actually two separate files. There's the original file which was initiated in 1951, and then another file initiated in 1965 as part of a security clearance when Grenell was hired to do a recording job for the White House. So in addition to a new investigation, the 1965 file includes an historical review of the 1951 file.
To be continued...
Monday, January 21, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Tom Glazer (credited here by the pseudonym "Hopkins") made the first recording (for YPR) of the African-American spiritual "Go, I Will Send Thee," which he re-titled "Little Bitty Baby." The song was subsequently recorded many times, by many singers. This Columbia recording indicates YPR as the song's publisher.