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.

Credits:
Jim Curran – Director
Wendy Katz – Bass
Mike Kieffer – Drums
John MacEnulty – Professional Assistance
Tres Williams – Guitar
Kitsy Christner – Guitar

Dandelions
Dandelions

Tracklist:

01. Dandelions
02. The College School
03. Tuffy
04. War
05. They Call It Love
06. The Children Of Sunshine
07. Uncle Harry
08. If You Are Lonely
09. Talking
10. It’s A Long Way To Heaven
11. Harmony
12. Talking

23 comments

  1. nicci
    |

    so cool.

  2. Niklas
    |

    I’ve been a critic of this weblog in the past — one of my comments earned me the #5 spot on the Top 10 Negative Reader Comments of 2008 list — but the digital distribution of records like this and Anna Black make up for some of the trangressions.

  3. |

    […] Swan Fungus is to be thanked for bringing this gem to the world, and you can get the fuller story, more mp3 samples and the full album download here. […]

  4. |

    Agreed. Thanks, man!

  5. Molly
    |

    I should check your blog more often if this is the kind of shit you’re giving away for free. Many thanks.

  6. Mike
    |

    dude, I have the backstory on Tres, which you may already know by now. These clips are a wonderful gift to hear for me, so I’d LOVE to hear the whole thing. Enjoyed your blog.

  7. |

    Wow. This brings back memories!

    The John MacEnulty referred to in the liner notes is my dad. I believe that I have a copy of this at my mom’s house, though if it’s worth $400 i might have to go and get it from her.

    I’d also like to know where Kitsy & Tres are now. I went to the College school with them, and I remember seeing them perform. Jim Curran was also the man who introduced me to the guitar.

  8. Therese (Tres) Williams
    |

    This is Therese (Tres) Williams of the Dandelions album. We called ourselves ‘The Children of Sunshine’ back in 2970/71. I just updated/edited the Last.fm history on our album recorded in 1970 and released in 1971. We were both 10 when we wrote/composed all the songs and music. We both played guitar and sang all vocals. Yes, John, we remember you from The College School (also a title of one of the tracks)! We’ve been in touch with your dad. There is interest now in re-releasing the album after 40 years! Yes, Jim Curran was our guitar teacher and yours as well, all at The College School.

  9. Aric Leavitt
    |

    I hope I find a copy of this album (Dandelions) somewhere, sometime soon, that I can afford! I can’t possibly get the one listed on ebay right now. This is just the type of stuff I collect. I’m a folk enthusiast since age 3!!

  10. Therese (Tres) Williams
    |

    This is Therese (Tres) from the Dandelions album. We never called ourselves ‘The Dandelions’, we called ourselves ‘The Children of Sunshine’ and that was also the title of track 6 on the album. We were both 10 yrs old when we recorded Dandelions in 1970. We were both 11 yrs old when it was released in 1971.

  11. |

    Great to hear of The College School connection – I bumped into either Tres or Kitsy a few months ago when shopping for homes – made the connection to The College School and then saw this post surface. Very cool. Tres & Kitsy, come visit TCS. We’ve grown up some, but we are still the same wonderful school committed to experiential learning!

  12. |

    Just read the Riverfront Times article and here I am. Wow ! Just real good stuff . I was 6 years old in South St. Louis County at that time and it brings back memories of my 45 collection and the countless times playing records on my little 1 speaker turntable with the closeable lid. If Tres reads this, great name ! My sister’s middle name is Therese.

  13. |

    I have this album and it may be my favorite, up there with Peter, Paul and Mary in Concert. These girls were totally charming and talented. Producing the album was one of my senior year projects at the then Webster College. I have out-take photos from the album cover and their first College School concert. The field of dandelions is the front lawn of Webster Hall at Webster University. Because of the River Front Times article today, I am contacting Kitsy tomorrow. Jim Curran

  14. |

    I went to the College School with Kitsy and Tres and was peobably one of the kids who teased them about the album but I can remember being jealous of thier creativity and talent. You go girls! I hope there is a reunion!

  15. |

    Great album. These kids rocked. Tuffy is a most excellent track. I was that way back in the day,… always looking for a party.

  16. |

    Any chance to see the link back ?

  17. |

    I second that request… Can’t find this LP anywhere, apart from the samples on YouTube. I’d like to stroll around listening to this on my mp3 player, so a refreshed link would be absolutely brilliant.

  18. |

    hello , does it exist a reissue ?

  19. |

    Still hoping a reissue will surface! Anyone have any news on that front or the reasons why there has been a delay? Many thanks if anyone can help!

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