Thursday, September 29, 2016

Musical Stories for Children (Cricket Records)

This post is pure nostalgia for me, because recordings similar to the ones in it represent some of my earliest record-listening experiences. Cricket Records was a line of children's records introduced in 1953 by Cy Leslie (1922-2008) as the flagship label of the Pickwick Sales Corporation (later Pickwick International), initially as 10-inch 78s, then as 7-inch 78s and 45s. I had several dozen of these little records in both speeds between the ages of 4 and 8; the 45s were sold in department stores, and the 78s, which even at that age I preferred, could be found as late as 1970 at the Record Center at Broadview Plaza in Atlanta, probably as unused old stock. In 1959 Cricket marketed LP releases, most of them drawing from the singles line, including this one:

Musical Stories for Children, Vol. 1
Cricketone Chorus and Orchestra and Playhour Players
1. The Little White Duck
2. Jack and the Beanstalk
3. Hansel and Gretel
4. The Gingerbread Man
5. Peter Pan
6. Tubby the Tuba
7. The Tortoise and the Hare
8. The Three Pigs
9. The Toy Town Choo-Choo
10. Pinocchio
Issued May, 1959
Cricket Playhour CR-19, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 97.89 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 60.94 MB)

Most enjoyable of these tracks for me, at this remove of nearly fifty years, is probably "Peter Pan" with its zany little songs for Captain Hook and the crocodile, with the "Gingerbread Man" running a close second - the baked creature's silly laughing song is maddeningly memorable! I also find myself marveling at the creativity that went into the fairy-tale arrangements, all of which are rendered in verse and song, with a quartet of singers sometimes in unison, sometimes in harmony, and accompaniments in which wind instruments predominate, often with a bass clarinet on the bass line, and a rhythm section in the background. Even when I was young, records for children such as these were going out of fashion. The generation of kids after my own had nothing but Disney music marketed for them, and I pity them....


  1. Alternate links:

    FLAC -

    MP3 -

  2. Dear Bryan,

    Fascinating stuff - will look forward to listening to the discs.

    Thanks for sharing.


    Douglas (UK)

  3. Thank you very much, I look forward to enjoying this! Best wishes, Nick

  4. Thank you. If possible, please add more items like this one.

  5. So well done and so enjoyable !! THX Bryan.

  6. Children's records like these are wonderful, thank you for posting this.