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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Thursday, March 11, 2010
From 1948, this might have been the first time that jazz was ever presented in the context of music appreciation -- certainly the first time on a children's record. And with the heavyweight lineup of Canada Lee, Kenneth Spencer, and Teddy Wilson's quintet, it has never been surpassed.
As with the Chisholm Trail record (see next entry), this one benefits from the downhome narration of Will Geer. The two stars of this story, Hank and Tex, are portrayed by Ernie Lieberman and Fred Hellerman, two years prior to the formation of the Weavers. They both do some really fine singing here.
Unlike her records for Folkways, or her first two records for YPR, More Playtime Songs -- and its companion Singing in the Kitchen -- present Charity not as a classroom teacher, but rather as more of a pop singer, accompanied by the small orchestral arrangements of Henry Brant.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
This 2-disc set of YPR's Horace Grenell conducting the Jefferson Chorus was one of only a few titles issued on Moe Asch's Union Records label. Extremely rare, this specimen was originally in Ron Cohen's collection (thanks for the cockeyed scan, Ron!), and is now in the archive at Chapel Hill, I believe.
The Folkways "soundtrack"* to the groundbreaking Little Fugitive movie. Top: Credit detail from liner notes. Bottom: LP cover art.
Ray Ashley is one of the many pseudonyms of Raymond Abrashkin, who wrote lyrics and scripts for many Young People's Records.
Lester Troob, then the recently-departed president of YPR, not only supervised the sound and music of the film, but also supervised the editing of the film itself, with Ruth Orkin doing the actual "fingerwork."
*The music on this LP is not actually the soundtrack from the movie, but rather a new recording of Eddie Manson performing some of the music. (Manson also recorded for YPR.)