2007   APRIL 27   #117

Wonderful Childhood, Vol. 1

MP3:
01 Milk Sandwich (0:49)
02 Wild Rose (1:26)
03 Toy Symphony (3:43)
04 Jasmine Blossom (2:00)
05 The Sun is Up (0:52)
06 Reverie (1:33)
07 Mama, Tell a Story! (0:51)
08 Little Snail (1:57)
09 Little Sister Leaves Her Doll Behind (1:12)
10 Tiny Stars (to the tune of "Ah! Vous Dirais-je, Maman") (1:16)
11 Butterfly (1:00)
12 I'm a Tiny Bird (1:05)
13 Lullaby (Wen Longxin) (2:03)
14 Clench Your Fists (1:03)
15 Back Massage Song (1:05)
16 Ten Soldiers (to the tune of "Ten Little Indians") (0:58)
17 Catching Fish (1:19)
18 Head Shoulders Knees and Toes (to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down") (0:45)
19 Cool Summer Night (lit. "Enjoying the Cool") (1:20)
20 Tricycle (1:11)

A few years ago a friend of mine, who likes some moderately unusual music and knows I like some exceedingly unusual music, gave me a box set of cassettes he found in a thrift store for Christmas. Most of the packaging is in an Asian language that we couldn't identify, so all we had to go on were the illustrations and the music itself.

As can be seen from the image of the first cassette, they are fairly old-the labels are discolored and they have no clear leader tapes. The set's case has spaces for six cassettes, and the booklet lists the contents of six, but only five cassettes were there. The first two are entirely instrumental. And almost every other track throughout is traditional Western classical music, possibly copied from Western recordings. I haven't included any of those. The rest of the tracks are... decidedly not traditional Western classical music. The sound quality has deteriorated in some places, and in others an occasional tapping can be heard, almost like vinyl skips-something I've never heard on any other tape.

Because I had no titles and little information, I provided scans of almost the entire booklet-with the exception of page four, which is identical to page two except for the cassette designations-in the hope that one of the Project's listeners could read it. Listener Brian came to the rescue. Not only did he translate the titles, but he did some independent research. "I wasn't having much luck figuring out when/where the recording was made, since the booklet doesn't say and the internet wasn't turning up anything, but then I thought to search through some library catalogs," he wrote me. "Sure enough, I found it! It's from 1982, and it was indeed published in Taiwan. I also found out a bit about the editors: Wen Longxin is an award winning composer who has scored a few films, and Su Shuying is an educator."

So there you have it. Be warned, there may be some earworms here. And thanks again Brian!

- Contributed by: Andrew Lander

Images: Booklet Cover, Booklet Page 1, Booklet Page 2, Booklet Page 3 (cassette #1 contents), Booklet Page 5 (cassette #2 contents), Booklet Page 6 (cassette #3 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 7 (cassette #3 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 8 (cassette #3 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 9 (cassette #3 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 10 (cassette #4 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 11 (cassette #4 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 12 (cassette #4 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 13 (cassette #4 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 14 (cassette #5 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 15 (cassette #5 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 16 (cassette #5 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 17 (cassette #5 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 18 (cassette #5 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 19 (cassette #6 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 20 (cassette #6 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 21 (cassette #6 contents and lyrics), Booklet Page 22 (cassette #6 contents and lyrics), Cassette #1

Media: Cassette Box Set
Album: Wonderful Childhood, Vol. 1
Label: Crystal Sound
Catalog: CS-9006
Credits: compiled by Wen Longxin and Su Shuying
Date: 1982