"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


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ofslager book

In 1957, Norman Ofslager took 20 Music Treasures of the World booklets and hand-bound them beautifully into a hardcover book. He also created an ingenious table of contents in his own meticulous handlettering, which he printed and bound into the book (see picture above). I know all this because on the inside back cover it is written: "Handbound by Norman Ofslager 1957." Thank you, Norman, whoever you are!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tom Glazer poetry book

This is fun, especially if you like lines like:

"So you're off to Macchu Picchu
So far away I can't ricchu"

Actually, I'm partially responsible for one of the doggerels here -- an untitled verse that Tom inscribed on a baseball that I arranged for him to autograph for the Dylan aficionado Mitch Blank. It begins:

"Here's a ball for a nice guy, Mitch
Who for balls has a very deep itch"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

American Young People's Theatre

YPR's theatre company. (Click to enlarge.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Music Treasures mailer

A 4-page direct mail circular for Music Treasures of the World.

Monday, February 11, 2008

CRG Western Union

(Click on picture to enlarge.)

While touring South America in 1950, Walter Hendl became desperate for money, so Horace Grenell, courtesy of the Children's Record Guild, sent him a check via the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Legend has it that Hendl, a notorious ladies man, once had an affair with Eva Peron, the famous wife of the famous Argentine dictator. I wonder if that had anything to do with this. I hope so!

We Shall Overcome original

Recorded by Horace Grenell and Ray Hagerty. Cover design by Ajay.

We Shall Overcome reissue

Folkways/Broadside reissue of the original. (See above.)

Festival Record Club

This is what Music Treasures of the World looked like in South Africa.

Tall Fireman Paul

This, like ON THE RANCH (see previous entry), is quite rare. Brad Levy from San Francisco says: "I (or my parents) had that record when I was two years old back in 1961. I must have played it forty times a day for a couple of years. I LOVED that record! I still remember the story and the tune. My wife and I recently had a baby daughter, and it was then that I remembered about this record...."

On The Ranch

Folk scholar D.K. Wilgus called this record an "atrocity," but I think it's pretty good. (How can any record be an "atrocity"?) I think this might've been Cisco Houston's final recording.

Charity Bailey rhythm kit

Charity Bailey's "Rhythm Kit" was packaged in a container very similar to a board game box. This is a picture of the lid.

ARS Colonial

1952 American Recording Society reissue of the New Records original.

Colonial reissue

1965 Folkways reissue of 1952 American Recording Society title (see previous entry). Folkways also reissued another ARS title that same year: EARLY AMERICAN PSALMODY / MISSION MUSIC IN CALIFORNIA (itself a reissue from the obscure New Records label). For Horace Grenell's reluctance to release these tapes to Moe Asch, see letter "Grenell to Stevenson re Asch" (posted elsewhere on this site).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chesterfield Music Shops

Some day I might get around to posting a history of Chesterfield.

Your Hit Parade

Thanks to Irene Malvin and Ray Charles for identifying many of the names.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bernard Ades

YPR's lawyer-accountant Bernard Ades (pronounced A-diss) is the central character in Joseph E. Moore's book MURDER ON MARYLAND'S EASTERN SHORE. (Clipping purloined from Moore's website,

Philharmonic Family Library ad

Someday I might get around to posting a history of supermarket records.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rocket away!

Here's the recording, on Raymond Scott's self-owned label, of the composition of which parts were used for YPR/CRG's Rocket to the Moon.