Monday, September 14, 2015

A Few Minutes of Songs and Jokes with Randy, Bobby and their Family


First, the bad news. My tape recorder has a minor problem, but one which I cannot correct myself, and one which renders it useless. I will be at the mercy of whatever time table my trusted neighborhood electronics shop uses to get it fixed. I hope to fill that time with whatever pieces of tape I've digitized for my own entertainment (or future use), but if it takes longer than expected, posts here may slow down a bit. Let's hope not.

And now, on with the countdown:


Today's feature is a (mostly) charming little visit with what sounds to me like a southern family, from (I'm guessing) circa the mid-'60's, given the multiple references to the Batman TV series that shone so brightly and fizzled out so quickly.

Only two children are identified by name, Bobby and Randy. There's a third child present.

The first minute or so features a few adults chatting about bullfrogs and illness, among other things - this isn't terribly interesting, but I thought I'd include for the sake of completeness. It only lasts 75 seconds.

At 1:20 the real show begins. Randy sings a rather tuneless song which seems to consist of the same phrase over and over again, then sings "Santy Claus" an equal number of times. Bobby is a bit older, and sings a Halloween song, followed by what he terms "Batman Jokes", but which largely seem to be simple facts about their lives. Then there is a bit of acting out of a Batman episode.

The adults don't want to talk, so Bobby continues his Batman episode, which includes some very minor crime reports (a few torn up books??), plus, a fantastic Joker impression.

A weird bit, sounding like nothing so much as off-kilter coffee club poetry and guitar, follows. It's only 30 seconds, but boy, is it odd.

Next is a brief hymn by the third child, who knows a few actual Batman jokes, and Bobby gives the answers. The second one is aggressively juvenile but made me laugh out loud.

This same child sings two songs I'm sure we'll all agree share many qualities, "Cottonfields" and "Hanky Panky", again helpfully dating this tape to 1966-67. Bobby tries to get an old children's rhyme in before the tape runs out, but only part it gets recorded, and the tape ends.

<Note: up there I included a modifier, and said the tape was "mostly" charming. I want to acknowledge that I've edited out about 45 seconds of racist material - a song and a joke - because I don't want to be guilty of spreading that sort of thing out into the ether. I recognize that there is another argument to  be made for sharing the tape completely, in admitting the attitudes of the place and the time. I'd be interested in hearing what readers/listeners think about this.>

Download: A Family At Home


  1. Thanks for sharing this. As to your question on the edit, I would have included the cut bit. Certain things from days gone by are difficult, but wishing they didn't exist hasn't really been a solution. We can't watch Song of the South or the unedited Fantasia or even certain Bugs Bunny cartoons now even with context and hindsight, but are we better off for that? Yes, certain backwards individuals may find additional fodder for their hate, but they're going to find it whether they can locate unedited media anyway.

    I'm not sure that I'm making much of a case, but it's early and I've only had one cup of coffee. It's your blog and I trust that you will do what you feel to be proper. Thanks for sharing all you do.


  2. Just leave her right thar, the way it was.............
    All this futile lying & bickering about what is now termed P.C. is KILLING ME, LARRY!!!!!!!!!!

  3. No need to spread racist crap. People who want it will find it, but why be a purveyor? "Discretion is the better part of valor. Of dinner, dessert."


  4. Since you asked, it's my own preference to hear vintage recordings as is. Context is everything and we can't really wax nostalgic w/o the stark contrast of values and attitudes then compared to present time.
    On the other hand, I agree about not wanting that can of worms in re spreading hate and other old fashioned "fambly values."
    An easy solution (at least in my eyes) is to offer both versions. You've already made time and effort in doing the edit, after all.

    Thanks for your recordings, Bob!

  5. Count me in as one that wants these tapes uncut. It's a given when handling historic materials that there is going to be insensitive material on it. Cutting it out dis-acknowledges that those times existed. Context is everything.

  6. I'll add my voice to the millions clamouring for an uncut version. But I think offering both versions is a fine idea.

  7. To cut or not is up to you but I think you should note it in the blog.