Saturday, November 17, 2007
Get on Down With The Kids!
The 3 Simmons - You Are My Dream (School Time)
The 3 Stars - Jersey Slide (Pt. 1)
Today's post piggy-backs on the great post that O-Dub did at Soul Sides about Numero's comp Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul. Once the Jackson 5 topped the charts in the late '60s, everyone who had children with any inkling of talent seemed to rush them into their local studios to cut records. Although some kid acts did do well, such as the Five Stairsteps, the Sylvers and, as O-Dub notes, the Ponderosa Twins Plus One, many - whose talent levels were generally less than the acts named above, some significantly less so - faded immediately into obscurity. All of the acts featured on Home Schooled fell into the latter category, although Jr. and His Soulettes' sole album, Psychodelic [sic] Sounds, was reissued on CD over a decade ago. Two of my favorites from Home Schooled are featured today.
The 3 Simmons' "You Are My Dream (School Time)" and the 3 Stars' "Jersey Slide (Pt. 1)" demonstrate the cuteness but also the technical limitations that most kiddie soul records faced. "You Are My Dream" is actually a cute little love song in which the start of a new school year is also the renewal time for a puppy love relationship. Although the vocals (both lead and background) are a bit shaky, it actually works. "Jersey Slide," were it recorded by adults, would be a very good dance record that would probably be in high demand among rare soul collectors, as it features a great groove. The execution of the vocals, however, leave quite a bit to be desired. It's clear the group was going for a Five Stairsteps and Cubie approach, but the end result is that the lyrics (which mix dance instructions with a "Grazing in the Grass"-inspired hook) are delivered adequately by the older members of the group but the younger members just aren't there (although the squeaky "don't just sit there, doing nothing" in the second verse is cute). Although as a whole it doesn't completely "work," the groove is boss and the tune is worthy of occasional plays.