The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Monday, October 08, 2007

Children's Music...? #2

10-08-07 Children Music…? #2

So, Friday got us up to The Beatles. There were other records in my home that I heard before The Beatles – my mother liked original cast records, such as the Broadway cast of “My Fair Lady” (Rex Harrison!). There were other original cast / soundtracks in our home, but “MFL” was the one that caught my ear. I also remember an Arthur Lyman LP, but I do not recall the name of it. Couldn’t say for certain when I first tried to put all of the LP’s in our home into an order – but almost definitely by age 5 or 6, I was asking what each and every record I could get my hands was. I could ask my parents or my sisters and brother.

My father took me to visit his mother – my grandmother (my mother’s mother had already passed away by the time I was born). My grandmother had LP’s by George Wright (“Encores” Hi-Fi R-702) and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. She also had a wooden colsole that played 78 rpm records – but I do not remember hearing any of them. One place I did hear a lot of “old time” songs was at our next-door-neighbors’ house – they had a ‘player piano’ – where I first heard “Barney Google” et al.

So, back to the topic of children’s music. We had a Burl Ives record – with “Little White Duck” and possibly “Froggy Went A-Courtin’”. There were some Disney LP’s. to be sure – but I only really remember “Alice In Wonderland” – with it’s gatefold cover and colorful stapled-into-the-cover booklet. I also recall having a “Mickey and the Beanstalk” Disney LP – but I doubt that LP even made it all the way to the 70’s. Phonograph record mortality was rather high, where the under-10 set was / is concerned. Will kids born in 2007 take care of their CD’s or iPods? “My First iPod”! “Baby’s First Download” etc. What with record stores becoming scarce – will the children of tomorrow have the thrill of thumbing through tightly-packed bins of LP’s or CD’s – or will that just be something in the history books?

We’re already been giving our friends who are having kids now some children’s music on CD. First one I handed over was a cool Folkways label collection – lots of lefty kids’ music – Pete Seeger etc. I also have a Japanese (English language) CD of “Mother Goose Songs” that was licensed from Alshire (the “101 Strings” people) – but I am not sure who’s going to get that one just yet. Can’t forget my girlfriend’s favorite Peter, Paul & Mary’s masterful children’s album “Peter, Paul & Mommy”.

What children’s records did you have (and like) when you were a kid? Do you know of any current ones that you would particularly recommend? Browsing at Canterbury Records in Pasadena, I saw some goofy stuff – “Rolling Stones Songs – as Lullabyes” or thereabouts. Is the first Sesame Street record on CD? You know, the one with Big Bird singing “ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ”! Can’t forget the Dutch children’s project (with Mam and The Nits) “Kinderen voor Kinderen II” (Varagram 846720.2). When I visited Canada, I read that Martha of Martha & The Muffins / M&M was making children’s CD’s.


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: "What with record stores becoming scarce – will the children of tomorrow have the thrill of thumbing through tightly-packed bins of LP’s or CD’s – or will that just be something in the history books?"

C'mon, Ron! The scourge of tightly packed bins only hastens my resolve to get the hell out of a record store! If you can't browse easliy, you can't buy. The optimal bin condition in a record store is about 90% full to facilitate easy flipping of discs! Tightly packed CD bins are THE WORST! Nothing causes more disrespect for me than having to remove product from the bins so that I can browse! Of course, I only do this if I am given sufficient "bait" for my search - seeing titles I already own and love that are less than common, or even records that I want to buy!

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

C'mon Ron, what are YOUR record store Turn-offs? You must have a list of factors that will make you leave a store? Mine are:
1) unorganized stock
2) filthy stock
3) tight bins
4) bad in-store music
5) fat, smelly people who obviously have not bathed recently
6) preponderence of "bootleg" material

All of these have at one time caused me to bolt from record stores or record shows in spite of my insane attraction to the flat, round spinning things!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...


The thing that gets me out of a record store the fastest is a collector mentality that tells the store, "Don't price the records, wait until the potential buyer picks it up, THEN price it" - happened to me in PDX, summer '06. Also happened (with attitude) in Toronto '05.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

Several points to address-

As a child there were a few records in our house but I don't remember them being played frequently. My earliest memories of my parent's taste would have been Lawrence Welk or MOR pop singers like Jerry Vale or Perry Como. Like many others my age, music didn't light a fire under my pants until 1964 with The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. We always watched his show as a family. So I saw the first appearance, but I seem to remember him showing a film of them playing "You Can't Do That" sometime before the February debut. I was hooked from the first note, much to my father's dismay. It should be noted at that point I was eight, so that was pretty much ground zero for my musical journey. Over the next few years I do remember Herb Alpert and the TJB being one artist my parents and I could agree on.

I haven't really shopped around in a record/CD store in ages. eBay or LaLa is pretty much it for me these days. Without a doubt my biggest turn-off would be bad in-store music which is almost a given these days.

And finally, as a parent of a nine and eleven year old making their own music decisions and purchases - no, they will never have the thrill of thumbing through bins in the same way we did. Music is just one of many entertainment products for them to consider. Both have iPods and seem satisfied with downloads, although some artists they like have special editions of their CD at a place like Target which have DVD content or other bonus features which prompts them to buy a "hard copy" (which they immediately transfer to the iPod!). We've tried to expose them to as much of "our stuff" as possible and it seems to be paying off as my kid's collections are rap-free, relatively tuneful, and over all positive pop music. It could be so much worse...

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...


Re: your children's musical taste

You have done well, my son. But I suppose the acid test will be when adolescence comes a knockin'. As a child there were no records in our home but I got my first 3-5" stack of 45s, dating from the late 40s through the british invasion at age 6 [along with an original RCA 45 player!] to listen to them. I was buying my first records soon after with my first record on a birthday wish list [7th birthday] being Joe Tex's super James Brown ripoff, "I Gotcha."

5:20 AM  

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