Thursday, December 3, 2009

Miss B Discovers Vintage Children's Music

The Creepiest Record of the Lot-- "Ring Around A Rosy"

I recently got access to a bunch of vinyl records from my childhood; including some classic children's records from the likes of Mr. Rogers and Disneyland Records. I ended up playing bits and pieces from this collection on my radio show a few weeks back and was very curious to see what DJ B would think of this material.

I hadn't heard these records for decades and I was struck by a few things. The instrumentation on many (especially the Disney records) reflected popular sounds of the day, so it was a treat to hear beatnik bongos and crazy dour organ. At the same time, some of the records (especially "Ring Around a Rosy") had creepy un-PC moments best kept shielded from young ears.

I had Miss B take a listen to the tracks that I played on my radio show. When she heard some selections from "Ring A Round A Rosy," she smiled immediately, saying, "the mulberry bush!" as she recognized some of the songs. She listened intently to the music while eating a snack and added, "this is the book I's the mulberry bush. I have this book."

I'd actually enticed DJ B to listen to the music by promising the song "Fuzzy Wuzzy," and Miss B remembered, asking me, "When is Fuzzy Wuzzy gonna come?" She then asked, "Who likes kid music? Tell me who likes kid music?" I then asked her, "Do you?" and she shook her head "no" and again asked me who likes kid music.

When "Farmer in the Dell" came on she again smiled and bounced in her chair. Then "Fuzzy Wuzzy" finally made an appearance and DJ B screamed "Fuzzy Wuzzy!" I asked her if she liked the music and she just stared at me.

As the sounds of Mr. Rogers emanated from the speakers, Miss B leaned in close to listen. Then came Mother Goose and Miss B got the most excited, saying, "I have Mother Goose stuff!" She then kept requesting that I replay the Mother Goose stories, saying that she wanted "the dog want a bone." She danced and sang and followed along with her Mother Goose book. She particularly enjoyed "3 Little Kittens" and swayed back and forth while listening. After that song ended she said, "Get me little kittens. I want the loud kittens. Meow!"

Today I played the entire "Walt Disney's Treasury of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes" album (from 1965) for DJ B and she sang along to her favorites.

So, although I generally avoid children's music like the plague, I have to admit that I've enjoyed revisiting these records from my youth with DJ B.

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