The Simon Sisters: Sing Songs For Children (2008)
Wynken, Blynken and Nod
The Owl and the Pussycat
Sleep Baby, Sleep
The Lobster Quadrille
Who Has Seen the Wind?
I Heard the Bells on Xmas Day
A Red, Red Rose
A Pavane for the Nursery
Previously released on Columbia Records as "The Simon Sisters Sing The Lobster Quadrille And Other Songs For Children" in 1969 and "The Simon Sisters Sing For Children" in 1973 (CR-20439)..
Music Composed by: Lucy Simon
Music Arranged and Conducted by: Sam Brown
Original Columbia Records Producer: Arthur Shimkin
Engineering: Fred Plaut and Roy Segal
Add'l 1973 Recording & Mixing by: Tim Geelan and Jim Timmens
Creative Consultant: Greg Ehrbar
Special Thanks to: Bill Smith
Reissue Producer: David McLees
Business Affairs: Dave McIntosh
Product Manager: Paul Rocha
Remastered by: Bob Fisher at Pacific Multimedia
Package Design: Art Slave
Production: Jeff Palo
Artwork / Package Supervision: Joe Garcia
Editorial Supervision: Dorothy Stefanski
Project Assistance: Robert Kim, Dean Schachtel
Special Thanks to: Carl Shimkin, Bob Emmer, Garson Foos, Richard Foos, Derek Dressler
There was always music in the Simon home, especially on Sundays, when family members and guests were invited to grab whatever would produce music and “join the dance.” In the midst of all this, Lucy and Carly Simon blended their voices in song. Lucy’s bell-clear soprano melded with Carly’s striking contralto, and the effect was magic. By 1962 Lucy convinced a reluctant Carly – whose juxtaposition of shyness and exhibitionism continued throughout her adult life – to join her in forming a folk duo.
The Simon Sisters proved successful enough in clubs to sign with the Kapp label to record two albums. Though the albums included several lullabies, as well as Lucy’s hit-charting adaptation of Eugene Field’s nursery rhyme “Wynken, Blynken And Nod,” the discs were not created specifically for children.
By 1969 Columbia Records has resumed producing children’s records actively for the first time since the post-WWII baby boom days – when kid disc pioneer Hecky Krasnow brought hit after hit to the label, from “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty The Snowman” to “Peter Cottontail” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” That same year saw Columbia on the brink of the explosive Sesame Street phenomenon, just months away from a blockbuster TV cast LP and its hit single, “Rubber Duckie” (which hit #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart).
Arthur Shimkin, who had founded and guided the renowned Golden Records line to multimillion-selling success, was brought in to oversee the Columbia Children’s Record Library. The imprint offered brand-new albums and singles featuring classic and original children’s stories and songs written and performed by a who’s-who of experienced artists, including renowned talent such as Burl Ives and Leonard Bernstein. (The record line evolved into CRA-Children’s Record of America, then Sesame Street Records and, today, Sony Wonder.)
Despite the fact that the Simon Sisters had effectively retired from live performances in 1966 – when Lucy married and started a family – Shimkin brought them back to the studio to record their first children’s album, featuring songs from great literary works set to music by Lucy.
Things had come full circle in a sense, since their father, Richard Simon, had cofounded Simon & Schuster, the publishing company associated with Shimkin’s Golden Records in its early days. Sam Brown’s sparkling arrangements for Lucy and Carly’s album seem to suggest the mellow Golden Records sound of the early to mid-1960’s.
Lucy’s memorable melodies are shared by the duo for most of the songs, with two outstanding solos by Lucy (“Calico Pie” and “Who Has Seen The Wind?”) and one by Carly. In her book Girls Like Us, Sheila Weller described the recording session in this way: “When Carly took the microphone in the studio and sang, ‘My love is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June…’ (master guitarist) Danny Armstrong thought, She sounds like an angel. So moved was he by what critics have called her ‘low, earthy and subtle voice on that song that for decades he ‘heard’ her singing it.”
Lucy Simon, of course, went on to be a Tony Award – nominated composer for such hit shows as The Secret Garden, and Carly’s career as a singer/songwriter has maintained meteoric proportions. Yet both returned to their roots, recording for children with success on Grammy-winning In Harmony records, both including remakes of songs from this album.
By Greg Ehrbar, 2008 (Mr. Ehrbar is the coauthor of Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records)