One of the most grown-up review sites around

2020
53,992 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements


Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

 

Recordings of the Month

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan

September


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Schubert Symphony 9

August


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE


Enescu Ravel Britten


Debussy Images etc.


53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)

 

 

 

 

 

Support us financially by purchasing
this disc through MusicWeb
for £5.99 postage paid world-wide.

Sparky’s Magic Piano - Children’s Classics: 23 Original Hits
see end of review for track listing
ALTO ALN 1945 [76:44]

There are quite a lot of these Children’s Classic discs on the market and a number of them feature the title track, the story of Sparky’s Magic Piano, seventeen-minutes dedicated to the elevated art of getting children to practice the instrument. One thing that can distinguish these discs, at least for Anglophones, is the demarcation between British and American items. Splendid chap though he is, Bernard Cribbins’ Right Said Fred is not a natural transatlantic hit. Indeed it’s arguable whether Max Bygraves’ You’re A Pink Toothbrush should ever have left the studio cutting room. That said, both have long since entered into the nostalgia library of our collective mind and are difficult now to de-accession.
 
Puffin’ Billy is a more known quantity. The Laughing Policeman is a classic but comes from a long vogue for laughing songs that dates back, largely, to the acoustic studios of the American East Coast. British listeners may well be surprised by the breadth of such things and the inter-dependence of Music Hall and Vaudeville material. Champion the Wonder Horse and Bill Hayes’ The Ballad of Davy Crockett are certainly part of my childhood. You would never guess from Patti Page’s wretched Doggie how good she really was. We all know the Happy Wanderer but very few would name the Obenkirken Children’s Choir as the ensemble responsible.
 
The rather formally titled Children’s Marching Song is helpfully bracketed as ‘This Old Man’, which makes it all the clearer - Cyril Stapleton does the honours in 1942. Woody Guthrie is heard in folkloric material and doubtless Mr Salmond sings himself to sleep each night with the tales of the Scottish Soldier, sung, inevitably, by Andy Stewart. Nellie the Elephant was - interesting fact - produced by George Martin. Mairzy Doats gets some wartime swing with Andrews Sisters styled vocal. Great to have Spike Jones’s cornball Old McDonald Had A Farm to offset the kitsch. I didn’t know that Nina and Frederick, who sing Little Donkey, were a Danish-Dutch duo. I can confirm that the song is still a regular in children’s concerts. And so, without any sign or sight of Tubby the Tuba, we have Sparky - I’ve already reviewed a disc with both Sparky and Tubby so I’m grateful, to be frank, that it’s absent.
 
There are some pleasant notes - more than I was expecting, I have to admit - and the transfers are reasonable.
 
Jonathan Woolf  

Track listing
Puffin’ Billy - Melodi Light Orchestra [2:3]
You’re A Pink Toothbrush - Max Bygraves [3:24]
The Laughing Policeman - Charles Penrose [2:32]
Champion the Wonder Horse - Frankie Laine [2:16]
Right Said Fred - Bernard Cribbins [2:19]
The Ballad of Davy Crockett - Bill Hayes [1:41]
How Much is That Doggie in the Window - Patti Page [2:27]
I Taut I taw a Puddy Tat - Mel Blanc [2:56]
Happy Wanderer - Obenkirken Children’s Choir [3:07]
Teddy Bear’s Picnic - Henry Hall and Orchestra; vocal Val Rosing [2:51]
Children’s Marching Song (This Old Man) - Cyril Stapleton [2:20]
Buckingham Palace - Anne Stephens [2:23]
The Car Song - Woody Guthrie [1:50]
The Mole in the Hole - The Southlanders [2:04]
Scottish Soldier - Andy Stewart [3:28]
Nellie the Elephant - Mandy Miller [2:29]
Puff the Magic Dragon - Peter, Paul & Mary [3:28]
The Ugly Duckling - Danny Kaye [3:04]
Mairzy Doats - The Merry Macs [2:44]
Old McDonald Had A Farm - Spike Jones and his City Slickers [3:15]
I Known an Old Lady - Burl Ives [2:40]
Little Donkey - Nina and Frederick [3:14]
Sparky’s Magic Piano - Henry Blair [16:51]