Vintage Children’s Favourites – 48 original mono recordings from 1926 to 1959
CD 1:
1. Puffin' Billy (Children's Favourites Theme), The Melodi Light Orchestra
2. The Laughing Policeman, Charles Penrose
3. The Song Of The Prune, Frank Crumit
4. The Wedding Of The Painted Doll, Layton & Johnstone
5. Barnacle Bill The Sailor, Frank Luther & Carson Robison
6. Hansel And Gretel Dance Duet, Manchester Children s Choir
7. The Runaway Train, Vernon Dalhart
8. The Teddy Bears' Picnic, Henry Hall
9. Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?, Henry Hall
10. The Old Sow, Leslie Sarony
11. Grandfather's Clock, Harold Williams
12. On The Good Ship Lollipop, Shirley Temple
13. I'm Popeye The Sailorman, Billy Costello
14. Ragtime Cowboy Joe, The Hill Billies
15. The Owl And The Pussy Cat, Stuart Robertson
16. Heigh-Ho, The Seven Dwarfs
17. Balloons, The Ovaltineys & Monte Rey
18. The Dicky Bird Hop, Gracie Fields
19. The Bee Song, Arthur Askey
20. Three Little Fishes, Maurice Denham
21. We're Off To See The Wizard, The Ken Darby Singers
22. Run, Rabbit, Run, Flanagan & Allen
23. The Grasshoppers' Dance, Alfredo Campoli
24. Christopher Robin At Buckingham Palace, Ann Stephens
25. Vespers: Christopher Robin Is Saying His Prayers, Ann Stephens
26. Tubby The Tuba, Danny Kaye
CD 2:
1. Swinging On A Star, Bing Crosby
2. Big Rock Candy Mountain, Burl Ives
3. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, James Baskett
4. The Woody Woodpecker Song, Danny Kaye & The Andrews Sisters
5. Me And My Teddy Bear, Rosemary Clooney
6. The Thing, Phil Harris
7. I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat, Mel Blanc
8. The Ugly Duckling, Danny Kaye
9. The King's New Clothes, Danny Kaye
10. Little Red Monkey, Joy Nicholls, Jimmy Edwards & Jack Bentley
11. How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? Patti Page
12. He's A Tramp, Peggy Lee
13. The Happy Wanderer, The Obernkirchen Children's Choir
14. The Little Shoemaker, Petula Clark
15. Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen By The Sea, Max Bygraves
16. Coronation Scot, Sidney Torch
17. In The Middle Of The House, Alma Cogan
18. Nellie The Elephant, Mandy Miller
19. Little White Bull, Tommy Steele
20. Sparky's Magic Piano, Henry Blair
21. Little Man, You've Had A Busy Day, Paul Robeson
22. Goodnight, Children, Everywhere, Vera Lynn
RETROSPECTIVE RTS 4162 [79:03 + 78:57]
If you want to revisit your childhood – or someone’s childhood if not your own – you might do worse than consider this packed twofer of Children’s Favourites. It’s something of a mixed salad of things, exclusively Anglo-American, and spanning a period of over three decades from 1926 to 1959.
A few highlights should give the flavour of what’s on offer. Charlie Penrose’s The Laughing Policeman was always a firm favourite but it’s probably not as well remembered that there was a vogue for laughing songs that went back almost to the earliest days of recorded history. Frank Luther and Vernon Dalhart feature nicely – the latter was a would-be opera singer christened Marion T Slaughter – and they singly or together offer plenty of fun. The Runaway Train is a deserved classic of course. Henry Hall’s Big Bad Wolf resounds down the ages but I wonder if Leslie Sarony’s compendium of pig’s farts ever made it to the BBC’s transmitters. The piece is called The Old Sow.
That splendid singer Harold Williams essays Grandfather’s Clock whilst the patrician tones of Stuart Robertson are to be heard in The Owl and the Pussy Cat – probably more for adults really, as are the two AA Milne pieces sung by nine year old Anne Stephens. Talking of whom I’m sure quite a few adults got thoroughly sick of listening to Arthur Askey’s The Bee Song, but remember that its composer was actually Kenneth Blain, who plays the piano for Askey in this famous disc from 1938. We hear a swinging arrangement – very much of its time – in the case of Three Little Fishes, where Maurice Denham is supported by the agile Brain Lawrence and his Lansdowne Orchestra. Flanagan and Allen have to be here and they are – it’s still a great song – and so is Campoli in a pre-War light frame of mind.
Tubby the Tuba is here and he inaugurates a largely American domiciled second disc. Andy Williams is with his brothers supporting Der Bingle in Swinging on a Star which he sings far less snazzily than Frank Sinatra. Cartoon and film items start to appear around the end of the War, and increasingly so did whimsical conjunctions. I must congratulate the programming maestro who set down Coronation Scot next to In the middle of the house; in the latter a train crashes straight through the house. EMI released a disc of all the Sparky tracks back in 1992. Here we have the most famous, Sparky’s Magic Piano with its talking piano. And so, gently, slowly we wind down with two final tracks from Robeson and Vera Lynn, ushering in a pleasing sunset glow over these childhood memories.
Jonathan Woolf