Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Blue Tail Fly

A "kiddie record" this time with very gaudy "politically incorrect" cover found in a charity shop a few years back. Plays at 78rpm but only 7" across.

Kiddie Rekord King says -

"The end of the 1940's saw a proliferation of companies producing seemingly countless series of kiddie records. Some of the larger producers started releasing the more popular records e.g. Christmas carols, fairy tales, bestsellers) as parallel issues in both 78 and 45rpm formats in the early 1950's. The cover artwork was usually identical in both. Eventually after 78s were phased out entirely, the 45's continued to be released into the 1980's until they were phased out in favor of CD's and cassettes.

One of the most famous children's series from this era was launched in 1948. Golden Records, a part Simon & Schuster, publisher of the famous "Little Golden Books", started issuing small (6"), almost indestructible yellow plastic records. This series was an immediate hit with both parents and kids. They were available at almost any grocery market for 25 cents. Most of the first issues were musical story renditions of Little Golden Books. The child could read the book and follow along with the record. The series continued well into the 1960's, and to this day remains as probably the largest of all kiddie record sets. Sadly, Arthur Shimkin, the founder of Golden Records, visionary and personal friend, passed away on December 4, 2006.

RCA Victor's youth series that began in 1944 became known as the famous "Little Nipper" series in 1950. Many of the popular Disney stories, which were made into movies, as well as the more popular TV shows of the day (e.g. Howdy Doody, Tom Corbett Space Cadet) appeared in this series and today are among the more valuable and popular of all kiddie 78s.

A few companies became known as strictly "children's record" producers. In addition to those mentioned in the previous paragraphs, many readers will remember: Peter Pan, Cricket, Columbia Playtime, Record Guild of America, Voco, Young People's Records/Children's Record Guild (a division of the Book of the Month Club), Mercury Childcraft and Playcraft, Red Raven (picture discs). Then there are those small companies that produced few kiddie records, let alone any others. Unfamiliar as the following are, they, nevertheless, contributed to the plethora of products: Pied Piper, Rocking Horse, Pilotone, Melodee, Toono, Belda, DeLuxe, Winant, Allegro, Magic Tone, Karousel, Twinkle, Color Tunes, Musicraft, Little John, Little Pal, Merry-Go-Sound, Mayfair, Musette, Caravan. This is a small sampling of some of the lesser-known labels of the post WW2 era. In addition, an entire section of my book will focus on educational, instructional, and religious series of children's records. Most of these are not avidly collected, but are, nevertheless, part of the legacy of kiddie 78s.

Besides standard records, a large number of picture-discs came out, including several that could be cut out of the back of cereal boxes. With a picture disc the whole record is a graphic image or photograph. The grooves are either cut right into the picture, or on a clear laminate of plastic that is affixed to the picture disc. One places the needle right on the record's picture. As a rule, picture discs are more valuable than standard records. "

Kenneth Lynn - Blue Tail Fly

Chorus - O'Susanna/ Camptown Races

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