Rosemary Clooney

Clooney Tunes/Bongo/The Adventures of Piccolo, Saxie and Company

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DRG Records combines three sets of children's recordings from the vaults of Columbia Records on this compilation. First, there is the entire contents of the 1957 Rosemary Clooney collection Clooney Tunes (the title a play on Looney Tunes), combining singles Clooney recorded between 1950 and 1954 of children's standards like "On the Good Ship Lollipop" and "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" and some less memorable compositions. But no matter the quality of the tune, Clooney and such conductors as Percy Faith and Paul Weston treat the material respectfully, resulting in an excellent set of '50s-style pop recordings. Moving back to 1947, DRG resurrects Dinah Shore's studio recording of Bongo, which she also narrated and sang for the Walt Disney animated feature Fun and Fancy Free that year. Shore is an enthusiastic story-teller as she recites the tale of a circus bear who escapes his cage and has adventures in the forest. She also finds time to sing a few songs. (The CD adds a brief fluffed outtake discovered on the acetate disc master.) The collection closes with "The Adventures of Piccolo, Saxie and Company," presented by Victor Borge, which is nothing less than a 25-minute account of how the symphony orchestra came into being (at least, from a child's perspective), as "the String family" heads out to meet the other "families" that make up the various elements of the orchestra -- saxophones, brass, percussion, etc. The story isn't as funny as some of Borge's efforts, but it can help explain to young children what the various parts of the orchestra are and how they work together. These recordings may have been between 46 and 56 years old when they finally saw CD reissue, but they have a timelessness that could make them entertaining to kids of the early 21st century.

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