recess radio program

Vintage Travelling Music
    by John Cech


It may be a really risky programming decision, and you may get hooted at by every in the car, but here's your chance, on the next family road trip, to help correct the sad fact that our kids have never heard those great and strange songs that we grew up on, let alone the tunes that were staples of our parents' and grandparents' musical diets--in the days before rock, techno, and rap--when the muzzy speaker of a radio or a scratchy turntable gave you the sweetest sounds, sounds that still play on late-night movie channels and in our memories at the most unexpected times. Remember this?

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That's Maurice Denham's swing version of "Three Little Fishes," It's one of the songs on this new CD from England, Vintage Children's Favourites, from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. Some of the songs are very British--like "The Laughing Policeman" and "The Teddy Bears' Picnic"--and a few are real clunkers, a couple are just slightly politically incorrect, some are pretty campy, but most are familiar to an American audience and quite wonderful--there's Danny Kaye's incomparable "Tubby the Tuba"; Phil Harris' hit, "The Thing"; The Seven Dwarfs from "Snow White" weighing in with "Heigh-Ho"; and Bing Crosby "Swinging on a Star. " I can't think of a better way to mosie through the Southwest than with this on the stereo: Sound clip. Or how about gliding into the sunset on the blue highways of summer to the miraculous voice of Paul Robeson and the song that ends each day's trip:

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Copyright 2004 John Cech

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July 2004
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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."