AOL’S CRITICS CHOICE

This review is from the Music & Concerts section of America Online’s Critic’s Choice
by Rick Anderson

I don’t usually review children’s albums, but these Copp & Brown discs are an exception to just about every rule. Originally recorded and released in the late ’50s and early ’60s and distributed poorly on Copp and Brown’s own label, these bizarre, quirky and thoroughly charming songs and stories entertained only a fortunate minority of boomer and post-boomer children. (My father discovered the records in our local library when I was a child and brought them home, where my brothers and sisters and I fell in love with them. But I have never known anyone else who had ever heard of Jim Copp and Ed Brown.) After languishing in the Playhouse vaults for years, these recordings were resurrected with the help of a young fan named Ted Leyhe, who called Jim Copp at his home and convinced him to re-release the original albums on cassette and to put together these two CD compilations. (Brown passed away in 1978.)

All of the music and voices are performed by Copp and Brown, and they’re probably unlike anything you’ve heard before. Brown specializes in a weird sort of nasal squeak, while Copp usually intones his lines in a resonant, grown-up baritone. The stories have titles like “The Dog that Went to Yale” and “Miss Goggins and the Gorilla”–Miss Goggins being a schoolmarm caricature sure to delight any grade-school child and any parent who can remember grade school. Songs like “Can’t Dance” (a two-minute education in the names of obsolete dance steps) and “We’re Off On a Lengthy Trip, We Are” will delight children with their bounce and wordplay, while adults will be charmed as well by the hidden complexities of Copp and Brown’s dry humor. If the duo’s strange vocal approach puts you off at first, stick with it; this stuff will grow on you. Chances are your kids will have no such trouble.

Call 1-800-613-6968 for ordering information. Or write to Playhouse at P.O. Box 20547 Oakland, CA 94620

(C) Copyright Critics’ Choice 1996. All Rights Reserved.