Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"If you wanna know if you've written a hit, play it for kids" 

Having talked of great covers a couple of days ago, I finally followed up something I've been meaning to find for ages, which is a CD of the remarkable Langley Schools Music Project. In 1977, 60 school children from the Langley region in British Columbia gathered in their school gym to sing arrangements of classic pop songs by the Beach Boys, the Eagles, Paul McCartney and David Bowie, among others, accompanied by simple piano, guitar and Orffian percussion. The music which they produced is often imperfect, and I'm not so in thrall to the 'innocence of youth' as to say their sweet voices make me forget when they're out of tune, but the final product is pretty special, nevertheless.

This is particularly true on some of the solo voice tracks, such as Desperado, but also where the full chorus enthusiasm sweeps all the children along and into the music, as in Space Oddity, and even where everything becomes completely chaotic, as the children trash Beach Boy harmonies in Good Vibrations. There's something delightful in that, and it's altogether a very fine addition to any music collection, and a good talking point for any collector of the oddball...

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