There is so much going on with this Mercury Records/Childcraft album about social acceptance and crowd-following jubilance, so I’m going to jump right in. Childcraft was the result of a White House-held national conference discussing the need for new materials for parents to help “direct” their children toward “well-adjusted, happy adulthood.” Where the hell was this record when I was growing up?! Anyway, here we go…
Here, we have Jimmy Jazz and Sally Walker, two kids completely oblivious to the sheep-like connotations of social line dancing. Jimmy finds himself in deep concentration in keeping in step with the song, The Hinkey Dinkey Square Dance. The sheer terror of missing the beat with his finely tuned Chicken Dance has forced Jimmy into a Jedi-mind-like Zen state. Jimmy is clearly the room’s best dancer, and unbeknownst to him, is a ladies favorite. Sally is hopelessly in love with Jimmy, and has been since the song, The Irish Washer Woman. She often flaunts her backside in the hopes that one day she will catch his eye. Sally has self-esteem issues for beyond that of a normal five-year-old.
This is Harriet. Say hello, Harriet. Harriet is smart, but freakishly unpopular. It’s not her fault, really. Her father is one of those conspiracy theorist, and as a result has shielded Harriet from many of the simple (read government controlled) pleasures of a budding childhood. Harriet is an only child, which has caused her to grow up too quickly, something that she will regret later in life. Harriet follows along to the song, Patty Cake Polka, and scans the room in the hopes that someone will befriend her. Harriet feels bad for Sally’s need to parade her tukis in front of the boys for attention, but doesn’t say anything for fear of falling further down the social ladder. Harriet is often sad, and could use a hug.
This is Everett. He too is in love with Jimmy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everett’s confidence in his green socks gives him superhero-like abilities (or at least he thinks so). He learned to tie a bow tie when he was three, and is rarely seen without one. Everett has many bow ties with varying patterns and colors, but his orange bow tie with yellow trim is his favorite. Apart from being “the bow tie kid,” Everett is sometimes knows as the “cut-off shorts kid.” Everett took scissors to all his jeans, mainly to show off and self-promote his legs, as seen here as he dances to Charlie is My Darling. His mother was none too happy about this and has since been saving up for a new pair of Buster Browns for her ornate, and joyful son.
And here I am… back, and in the corner, away from the crowd, looking at records. I’m cool with it though. Line dancing to Oh That Strawberry Roan just isn’t my thing. Please notice the boyhood wonder painted on my face. It goes well with my green striped sweater, don’t ya think?
Let’s All Join In (except for me) is a swift, roundhouse kick to your funny bone, and should be celebrated by children of all ages until either the Sun burns out, or we all run out of trees.