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Vibrant Vinyl: Children’s Records From Years Gone By

Happy Birthday

I recently attended an indoor flea market in a small town near Milwaukee. I bought a few pieces of holiday decor and then came across a box full of vintage records. I love old vinyl and since it was priced to sell, brought it home. There were some records from the 1950s and 60s – the kind I love to play since you can understand each and every word. (And you’re not embarrassed to sing them out loud with the grandkids around!) Way at the bottom of the box were four children’s records. Each one had delightful graphics that matched the song. I had not seen these in years.

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow

For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow

The first one I pulled out had Happy Birthday on one side and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow on the other. Our granddaughter is turning 10 next week and I wondered how she’d feel about seeing these old records. She would probably give me the stink eye for even showing them to her. She’s used to listening to iTunes and even knows how to get them loaded. So the concept of these old musical items would amuse her, I’m sure. The picture is adorable with the old-fashioned birthday party where little girls dressed up, with streamers and balloons and little clown dolls.

The second record I found had Skip to My Lou and the Mexican Hat Dance.  Another included Mary Mary Quite Contrary and Jack and Jill of down-the-hill fame. Once again, such charming graphics.

The last record I pulled out was the Night Herding Song and Home on the Range. All of these were from the Record Guild of America of New York.

The first “picture discs” were made in the 1920s, and then in the mid-1940s by Vogue. These were often in the art-deco styling, and many featured jazz recordings. The Record Guild of America started making children’s records in the mid-40s and continued through the 1950s.

While you might not want to use them as originally intended, it would be fun to frame them and display in a kid’s room, den or even a bathroom. They are not expensive, often found in the $5-10 range. They surely bring back some fond memories for me, and perhaps your guests as well.


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