“Why do you like children’s records?”
I have been asked that question more times than I could count over so many years. Okay, a mild exaggeration, but nonetheless more than enough. “Do you listen to any other kinds of music?”
Well – of course, I do. Mostly through other people. And in movies, television, and of course, the ads. But they don’t hold my attention as much as this particular genre.
So, why do I like children’s music?
Easy. Because they’re just plain fun. And they make me happy.
Let me give you some examples:
This was my very first record as a kid: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears – 5 Favorite Stories”. Yes, I know – not exactly what a little boy would expect to get. I could only pick one record – Mom’s rule. But it was the graphics by illustrator George Peed that drew me in, plus all that blue – my favorite color! Then, the pièce de résistance: hearing the stories with the songs and music – truly a magical time that stayed with me forever.
At first, I was not a fan of all the superhero stuff; that was my younger brother’s thing. My speed was more surreal with the likes of “The Vault of Horror” and “The House of Mystery”. But one day Mom dropped off a new LP: volume 2 of “The Six Million Dollar Man”, which was my brother’s favorite show at the time. I gave it a listen, and was taken in with all the action, the music, the sound effects, like hearing a radio program. What soon followed was a new-found interest in hearing (and seeing) the superhero, monster and sci-fi adventures through Power Records. Thanks, little brother!
Even though I was considered a little too old for “Sesame Street”, I still got a kick out of this album. How can you deny the simplistic yet sophisticated fun of Joe Raposo’s music? “C is for Cookie”…it’s good enough for me!
In kindergarten, this was my introduction to classical music, and the story of “Peter and the Wolf”, as narrated by the versatile Disneyland Story Reader, Robie Lester. Loved the story, loved the graphics, loved the music.
The one other thing that made it all the more interesting was the back cover (or in the case of a read-along, the pocket on the inside cover) that contained pictures or a list of other titles that were available in the series. Your mind starts to wonder: what does this particular title looks like? What does it sound like? What are the “other songs/stories/favorites” included? Until you’ve managed to obtain that title, you would never know.
Eventually, I grew up. But my love for the medium with the music and all that came with it has never wavered, even through all the times in my life when I have been told to let it go. I can’t. I won’t. I didn’t. So I still listen, then and now. And I believe I’m a better and happier person for it.
Brian Washington is a vinyl collector, writer, commercial artist, composer, and voice artist. Follow him on Twitter to see more of his impressive record collection.
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