Juicebox Heart: The Glups

In time for Chistmas, at least insofar as Christmas can be aligned with Jukebox Heart, is another installment of Juicebox Heart. Here, Jukebox Heart celebrates the most innovative, strangest, wackiest and sometimes scariest of the children’s records we have come across in our travels.

The records featured here are just a few of the magnificent works of the audio – visual design team Jim Copp and Ed Brown. The audio segment featured here is an excerpt of the trials of a fictitious family, The Glups as they travel their way across the lower 48 in an attempt to collect an inheritance. Photos of the albums reveal the ingenious visual design as the record sleeves unfold to form classrooms, magical theaters and, in the case of The Glups, trans-continental and trans-oceanic board games, complete with cutout characters and magic window inserts.

Sometime in the 80s as I was traveling through San Francisco, I had the privilege of meeting Jim Copp while hanging out in the Subterranean Records store, then on Valencia in the Mission. He was bringing a bunch of these beautiful unplayed records, hoping to sell them as remainders. I managed to get copies of the last four records in the series. These records are legendary in their execution and design as well as their ability to stimulate the imagination.

Copp and Brown recorded and released nine albums of stories and songs for children between 1958 and 1971. Jim Copp (1913–1999) wrote all of the stories and songs, and played and recorded all of the music. Ed Brown (died 1978) designed and illustrated all of the duo’s album covers. Both men performed the various characters’ voices, often with the help of tape manipulation and were among the first to devise and use multi-track recording for children’s records. Copp and Brown’s work has been compared to that of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Dr. Seuss, and Pee Wee Herman.

Photos and audio tracks are below. And of course, Record Geek history is below the cut.

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Selections from
“A Journey to San Francisco with The Glups”

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As promised, Geek history below the cut!
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Juice Box Heart: The Quintessential Children’s Record

Partly a spoof on Jukebox Heart and part legitimate new category on Jukebox Heart. I know it seems like a stretch for a category, but this is all about children’s records. Oh, not the run of the mill stuff – no Burl Ives or Marlo Thomas thrift store rejects here. No. But there are some children’s records that are unimaginably creepy and surreal. That’s what Juice Box Heart is all about. Some of these records have been produced specifically for children, but somehow the test of time has made them go horribly wrong. Other selections will be just so brilliant when taken at face value that they altogether transcend the notion of “Children’s Record” and become their own unique entity. Others, like the debut of this series, are about children and have their own unique irony about them.

And we start with 1962’s “Listen, Son…”, a collection of poetry readings by Philadelphia’s Jack Pyle. Jack Pyle was a morning AM radio host and minor celebrity in Philadelphia in the lat 50s. So it is no wonder this was released on Philly’s Cameo/Parkway imprint, the huge Philadelphia label that gave us Dee Dee Sharp, Chubby Checker, The Orlons and Bobby Rydell in the late 50s and 60s.

This record is just the creepy. From the jacket’s photo of a shadowy male silhouette standing over a sleeping little boy to the strains of the Hammond organ opening each piece. Billboard’s 1962 review referred to the cover image as “warm and touching”. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

Listen, Son

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8:26 | 7.72MB