Educating you so you don’t educate yourself

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little red 1little red 2A remarkable relic from China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Songs of the Little Red Guards is a 10″ album from the late 60s with a similar package to the Ella Jenkins and Pete Seeger records American children were putting on their Fisher Price players at the time.

Although sung by a children’s choir, the songs reflect the turmoil of the times, in particular the re-establishment of Mao-ist orthodoxy. Titles such as “Let’s Help Pick Up the Rice Left in the Fields” and “Growing Vegetables for the Armymen’s Families” hint at the legacy of the famine which followed Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Foward while others enforce the Communist Party’s doctrine.

One of the most interesting songs is a tribute to Lei Feng, a relatively unknown soldier whose memoirs were published after his death in 1962 as Lei Feng’s Diary. The book expresses his admiration for Chairman Mao Zedong and the sacrifices he has made for the revolution in the form of selfless acts. The soldier was the subject of a propaganda campaign, and his story became part of the compulsory curriculum in schools.

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An iconic poster of Lei Feng

The Red Guard was a student movement which began in 1966 in the middle school attached to Beijing’s Tsinghua University. After receiving recognition from the CCP the group quickly established itself in nearly every school in China. With the Chairman’s personal endorsement at a rally that summer, the group became an essential part of his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Party leadership in Beijing struggled to control the Red Guard, which became increasingly divided into factions as it grew, potentially out of control. The campaign against Capitalist or bourgeoisie remnants became violent in places, where assaults on Chinese cultural relics quickly became assaults on individuals. The People’s Liberation Army began suppressing the Red Guard’s most radical elements in 1967, and it was entirely eliminated, often with brutal force, by the summer of 1968. The Chairman, whose enormous personality cult was greatly enhanced by the Red Guard, was alleged to have a tear in his eye when he last spoke to Red Guard leaders.

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A Red Guard poster featuring the watchful Chairman

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“The Golden Sun Never Sets”

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“Study Hard for the Revolution”

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“I’ll Take Up the Gun Too, When I Grow Up”

If you’d like to learn more about the Red Guard or start such an organization in your own school, you will likely enjoy Carma Hinton’s 2003 documentary about the Cultural Revolution, Morning Sun. If you still think it’s a good idea, we have a little red book for you.

The fact that these two records ended up in the same crate by the time they got here is one of those things that makes this job so interesting.

husbands frustrated housewife

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Selection from Husbands, Love your Wives by Gene Jakubek, S.J.

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“Frustrated Houswife” by Ava Aldridge

SingThe Carpenters’ first single from Now & Then, “Sing,” reached #3 on the Billboard chart — not a bad performance considering their label and management expected it to tank. Karen and Richard Carpenter had predicted the song would be a hit the first time they heard it.

It was written by Joe Raposo, a staff writer for the Children’s Television Workshop — the public television organization that produced Sesame Street. Raposo and his frequent collaborator Jefferey Moss are often cited here on the Hymie’s blog as a primary influence on our musical taste.

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“Sing”

rubber duckeySesame Street made several surprise appearances on the Billboard chart, starting with “Rubber Duckey” in 1970 — credited to “Ernie (Jim Henson),” the song reached #16 — losing the Best Children’s Recording Grammy to the album from which it came, The Sesame Street Book and Record.

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“Rubber Duckey”

sesame street 1

Sesame Street originally released the albums through Columbia Records, but soon saw the potential in creating their own imprint — Sesame Street Records eventually produced dozens of titles, focusing on specific themes or characters (ie, Let Your Feeling Show or The Count Counts). Each Sesame Street album, like their books, contained a message about their mission:

With this record, Sesame Street is only as far away as your record player. Now your child can visit his Sesame Street friends at any time of the day and discover the same combination of entertainment and education found on our television programs.
Children familiar with the Sesame Street characters will delight in hearing their favorites again and again. But even those who have never watched the show will be able to enjoy, and learn from this album.
Workshop revenues from this project will be used to support the continuing production of Sesame Street.

We have already posted some of our favorite Sesame Street titles, including My Name is Roosevelt Franklin and Grover Sings the Blues. We have also posted this next album, which surprised the recording industry by reaching #74 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1977.

sesame street fever

Sesame Street Fever features Robin Gibb (“courtesy of his children, Melissa and Spencer Gibb) and some pretty good disco. It was probably inspired by the popularity of “Cookie Disco,” a single released earlier the same year with a hilarious sleeve picturing Cookie Monster decked out like George Clinton.

cookie disco

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“Sesame Street Fever”

artless motives

A public service message from this awesome album I bought at a basement show about twenty years ago. These guys were great. A while later they sent me their complete works on a 60 minute tape, pluse a live recording of their acoustic set and it was dubbed over a Curious George story tape.

There used to be a “Bleachman” comic, too, but I guess I’ve lost it.

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A few years ago we posted what has to be the least sexy album ever made (here). On the inner sleeve of that record was an advertisement for this one, and we speculated about how awesome it must be. Finally we’ve found a copy.

lessons in love

Helen Gurley Brown may have become famous as the author of Sex and the Single Girl, but she was happily married for more than a half a century. For a lot of those years she was the editor of Cosmopolitan.

Lessons in Love is split by its sides. One for the men:

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“How to Have an Affair — And Live Happily Ever After!”

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“How to Behave at Home — If you’re Misbehaving Away from Home”

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“Getting the Most from Your Secretary”

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“Little Man You’ll Have a Busy Day

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How to Say No to a Girl”

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“How to Love Your Wife and Nobody Else”

And one for the ladies:

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“How to Love a Man if You Aren’t Pretty”

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“How to Say No to a Man”

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“Unfaithful Wives’ Tales”

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“How to Love a Boss”

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“How to Talk to a Man in Bed”

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“How to Love Your Husband and Nobody Else”

get off

This is a classic album by the National Association of Progressive Radio Announcers – each of its more than forty short spots encourages radio listeners to “get off” hard drugs like heroin and barbiturates. The well-known performers were recorded on location, while touring or recording.

get off 2get off 3

 

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Brewer & Shipley

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Al Kooper

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Harry Chapin

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Jim Croce

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Alice Cooper

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Loudon Wainwright III

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“Star Trek”

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Dr. John

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Elvin Jones

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Phil Ochs

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Ravi Shankar

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Ringo Starr

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Sha Na Na

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Sylvester

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Frank Zappa

a knock at midnight

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