Dandelions – Dandelions [1971, KBK Label (Private)]
I consider this to be something of an exclusive. I don’t know if you could call this record a “holy grail,” but it is certainly getting a lot of exposure amongst a small group of people right now. Only one copy of this record has ever surfaced for auction on eBay, and it occurred this past week (final bid: $480). It is one of those hard to find records that collectors will go to great lengths to uncover. I spoke to two people who own it, and their stories literally mirrored each others. Never doubt the ingenuity of a record collector. They are a cagey bunch. This vinyl rip is courtesy of one of those collectors. It was originally recorded as two tracks (side A, side B), but I cut it up into 12 and amplified the sound a bit. Still, it’s ripped from vinyl so there will be a bit of surface noise and maybe some pops here and there. Be grateful!
Anyway, this is a 1971 original 12-song album of real-people folk music, recorded by Tres Williams and Kitsy Christner, who were 10 and 11 years old at the time. Great album of all originals by the girls, who also play guitars. They are backed by bass and drums. The songs are totally catchy and charming! One person I spoke to this week called it “The Shags, but with more musicality and talent.” The eBay auction seller said they “Nail the indie nerd vibe of 20+ years later with all the would-be charm and none of the pretension.” I listened to it yesterday for the first time and can’t really think of a good musical comparison, but the songs are actually really cool, and the recording doesn’t smack of kitsch in any way.
The back cover reads:
It was just two years ago when we met each other — that’s when it all started. Jim CURRAN started giving us guitar lessons. After a while we always played together at the shows at school. Then we had a photography class with Frank. He taught us how to develop pictures and what a photographer should know. One day it was very nice out so we went over to the college to ake pictures and there was a great big dandelion field and so we thought why don’t we take pictures here. So we all picked some dandelions and posed in them. Frank took our picture and we developed it. In a few weeks we were together at Kitsy’s home for the weekend and Uncle Scott and Aunt Judy were there when we started to make up some songs. Uncle Scott said, “Why don’t you two make an album since you’re so good?” We said, “O.K.!” So we started making up songs and Kitsy came up with the idea of using the picture of us as the album cover. We figured out how it was going to look and everything so we made up a whole bunch of songs. Some of them we forgot and they weren’t any good and so we had to make up new ones. Our new ones turned out pretty good. Then we had singing lessons with some of the teachers at our school. Before we could record we had to practice doing our songs, so Jim said we should have a show of our own for the school just to get used to crowds. We did and we sang all our songs. Finally we had a whole bunch of rehearsals for the album and we had background people like Wendy and Mike — Mike played the drums and Wendy the bass. It really started to sound good so we had our first recording sessions. On our first recording session we recorded 4 songs but we only used two: “Dandelions” and “Tuffy”. In our second recording session we were tired of rehearsing and recording so we decided we were going to do them all that day. They all turned out good. The following Monday night at 8 o’clock we chose which songs we wanted to do which finished the album. We had everybody who wanted an album at the College School send in $5.00 to us. When we got pretty much money we finished the album and that made us very proud.
We’d like to say “Thank you” very much to Jim CURRAN, Wendy KATZ, Mike KIEFFER, John MacENULTY, Uncle Steve (Uncle Harry?) and all the people who helped us make our whole album. TRES and KITSY
I really wish there was more information about this record. Where are the girls now? Do they still play music? Did they ever record anything after this record? So many questions…but that is usually what happens with tiny private label pressings. It’s often impossible to find out what happened to these people. Think about all the small towns in America that had a little place people could go to press a record cheap. Think of all the people in those towns who took advantage of that opportunity. So many artists’ stories remain untold after all these years. It’s a damn shame, as some of them were so much more talented than their more-popular peers.
Jim Curran – Director
Wendy Katz – Bass
Mike Kieffer – Drums
John MacEnulty – Professional Assistance
Tres Williams – Guitar
Kitsy Christner – Guitar
02. The College School
05. They Call It Love
06. The Children Of Sunshine
07. Uncle Harry
08. If You Are Lonely
10. It’s A Long Way To Heaven
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