Walt Disney Presents- Peter and The Wolf/ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

I got this for the Peter and the Wolf side.  The other side, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, conducted by Leopold Stokowski will go unmentioned for the most part during this blog.  This was $1.

Peter and The Wolf was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid and one of my favorite pieces of music. Sergei Prokofiev wrote the work in 1936 after being commissioned by the Central Children’s Theater in Moscow to write a symphony for kids.  The point of the work was to a)introduce kids to musical instruments and b) illustrate the virtues of vigilance, bravery, and resourcefulness.  Each character is given its own instrument and theme.  The work proved to be quite popular and has been adapted many time, most notably perhaps, the 1946 Walt Disney cartoon this album is taken from.

Narrated by Sterling Holloway, this is a pretty straight adaptation of the work with some slight differences.  The character’s all have names except for the wolf.  That is kind of messed up.  Maybe if he had a name, he wouldn’t be so vicious.  In the Disney version, the Duck turns out to be alive at the end. For a sample. I went with the last part of the work. It features a lot of the character themes as well as the hunter’s music (which is among my favorite) and a triumphant end theme for Peter.

Satisfactory.

 

The Chipmunks- Chipmunk Punk

dscn5532This was 80 cents.  Been holding on to this for a year, waiting for a good opportunity.  Well, better now than never.  Kind of a seminal record, in terms of the Chipmunks work.alvin

Actually, this is a comeback record of sorts.  Its orgins start from a mere DJ in Los Angeles who played Blondie’s “Call Me” at 45 RPMs and called it the new Chipmunk record. Based on this joke, many requests came in for the new Chipmunk material.  By this time (circa 1979), the Chipmunks were run by Ross Bagdasarian Jr, who took over the brand after his father, Ross Sr’s death. in 1972. Bagdasarian and his partner, Steve Vining rushed out and recorded this album between 1979 and 1980.  It was released in the Summer of 1980.

This was the first Chipmunk’s record under Jr as well as the first release since 1969.  It also came at the start of the rebirth of the Chipmunks.  A year prior, they returned to television with a Saturday morning cartoon show of old clips.  The album received mixed reviews from critics but sold well and helped boost the Chipmunk’s 80’s resurgence.  It also went Gold. Three years later a new show would run on Saturday mornings on NBC.

Despite being called Chipmunk Punk, this record is actually more New Wave than anything.  It features “Call Me” from Blondie, the song that birthed this record.dscn5533

It also has songs by the Cars, Queen, Tom Petty, Linda Ronstadt, and Billy Joel.  It also features three songs from The Knack, featuring this pop music  footnote.

For a sample, I went with Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”.  I really liked both “Refugee” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, but ultimately went with this song because it reminds me of a dead friend of mine.  Alas, poor friend who will remain unnamed for this story.  I went to his funeral service at which they played Billy Joel.  It was this song and “Only The Good Die Young”.  I asked my friend next to me if the deceased liked Billy Joel.  He said no.  Apparently, the deceased’s wife hijacked the service and made it about her.  She was a classy lady indeed.img_show

Otherwise, as far as this album goes, meh.  There is nothing really great about this album.  At least the Urban Chipmunk had some interplay between country recording artists.  But I guess it is a good effort to get back in the entertainment game. It it did work as the Chipmunks were hugely successful in the 1980s as well as the 2000’s.  The 1990’s. not so much I believe.

Uncle Tom- Children’s Sing Along

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This was a dollar I think.  I could not imagine it would be any more.  I also think it was the semi-offensive name of the singer that made me buy this. I also think I thought the cover was funny enough. First off, what is going on with the cover? It looks like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is freaked out by Mouse Santa and his sleigh pulled by crickets. And despite the somewhat Chrsitmas theme, there are no Christmas songs on this album. And who is this by? The cover credits the somewhat off color Uncle Tom while the album lists the Cricketeers. The singer on the album identifies himself as Scotty McGregor. So again, who is this?

Well, the album is a collection of kids songs. I actually listened to this.  I was planning on posting this during Christmas, but as noted above, no Christmas songs killed this idea.  However, upon listening, I ran across this collection of popular New Year’s tunes including “Auld Lang Syne”.  The rest of the songs are really just kids song.  None are really what I would call radical, even by kid’s song standards.DSCN3630

So here this is for your New Years celebration.  Don’t mind that they are calling this “The Birthday Song”.  Enjoy.

By the way, this album is definitely Meh.

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VA- Best of Christmas Vol. 2

DSCN3592This was one dollar.  It is a collection of mostly easy listening Christmas music.  Between Liberace, Ferrante and Teicher, and Lawrence Welk, this leans heavily on the cheesy side.  The glaring exception or perhaps the worst example, depending on how you stand is the inclusion of The Chipmunks.The_Chipmunks_(60s_version)

That is of course the old school Chipmunks and not the current incarnation.

 

And it is indeed, the Chipmunk’s “The Chipmunk Song”.  It was their first big hit.  It is also my favorite Christmas song.  I mean, Alvin really wants that hula hoop.  Especially in the cartoon.

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Glamorgan Elementary School Choir- World Today, Hello Tomorrow

DSCN2255This was a dollar.  It had decent songs on it , plus it was Canadian. It was also sealed.bannerGlamorgan Elementary is a public schools serving the Glamorgan community, a south-western neighborhood of Calgary, AB.  It was opened in 1958.

Glamorgan Community Association

This is a collection of songs sung by the school choir augmented with monologues from kids.  While most of the credits on the album go to Mr Kuzmar, the conductor, I wondered more about Mrs Slaught, who I assume is the overworked and underappreciated music teacher who played the piano on this.  Poor Mrs Slaught.

The theme of the album is peace and unity between all people.  It is strange now, just how optimistic this album is.  I am not sure when this came out.  I am guessing late 70’s/ early 80’s.  Regardless, this was made during the Cold War and it sort of makes one misty thinking about the kids’ message of peace.  On the other hand, how could we live thru the threat of nuclear annihilation only to have these current times, where despite the threat of mass extinction being diminished, the dream of unity among people is now further than ever?  That is because there was no internet during the Cold War. If there was, we would most likely have nuked the planet silly.

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For a sample, I went with two popular Broadway numbers which were put together; “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof and “Impossible Dream” from Man of LaMancha.  These are combined with a monologue from a Valerie Miller and one from a Kathy Buck.  Additionally, “Sunrise” has a solo from Heather Gargan.

This is satisfactory for the price and for a kids record.  I have heard a lot worse.

 

Bert- Bert’s Blockbusters

DSCN1881The cover snagged me on this. It seemed very grandiose.  It was $3 less 20%.

Tomtom-bertandernieThis album showcases the hits of Bert.  All the classics are here from “La La La” to “Doin’ the Pigeon” to “Pat, Pat, Patty Pat”.  Bert also showcases his lead administrative functions with songs such as “The National Association of W Lovers”.  maxresdefault (1)

Bert is joined on most songs by Ernie.  He also guests with Big Bird, his nephew Farley, and Herbert Birdsfoot.  But it is the songs Bert performs alone that make the album.

DSCN1882The sample I used is “Stop”  which showcases Bert for the sadistic prick that he is.  Here Bert takes great joy raining on other peoples parade and shutting down their fun.  Unsure of his own enjoyment of the song at first, Bert finds that stomping on others fun is quite amusing and for him, quite enjoyable.lras-1211-04-o+sesame-street-themed-gallery+bert

Meh.  The fun of the album wore out quickly.  invincible_bert_kevin_skinner

 

The Chipmunks- Urban Chipmunk

DSCN1132This was $4.00.  I think I had this album as a kid.

This album, released in 1981, went Gold.  It would reach # 56 on the Billboard Top 100 and # 23 on the Country charts.  It would be the second Chipmunks album to go Gold behind their previous effort, Chipmunk Punk (which by the way, is not punk).  Apparently, Chipmunks in Low Places, their 1992 country album, sold more and charted higher.the_alvin_show_appreciation_post_by_boredstupid100-d6q5agw

As one would suspect, there was some editing of lyrics.  In “The Gambler”, for instance, instead of having a cigarette, the Gambler “bummed a Twinkie and offered me a bite.”  Furthermore, “The Coward of the County” , a song about Tommy, a mild mannered man who avenges the gang rape of his wife, is altered.  In this version, Tommy’s best friend is beaten up by the Gatlin Boys.  “This one’s for my buddy”, Tommy said as he watched the last one fall.  The album has a good cross section of country hits that were popular at the time.  Lot of Willie.  “Luckenbach, Texas”, in particular is worth pointing out.  There is also a good mix of notable country session musicians, engineers, and producers.  Bob “King” Moore, who worked with Elvis, and Billy Sherrill, who helped define the countrypolitan sound, have this album on their resume.DSCN1133

Singer Brenda Lee and producer Larry Butler contribute guest vocals as well as the man himself, Jerry Reed, whose tune I used as the sample, “Lunchbox” (although I keep thinking of Jay and Silent Bob when I hear the title).  Jerry is a good choice as he already likes talking over his songs.MI0002748846

Meh.  I prefer the early Chipmunks catalog.  At least it is not the recent crap.  Either way, the novelty wore off after a few listens.  Also $4 is a bit steep.