Just when time pressures looked to keep me from having the time to record, improve the sound as necessary and scan, from out of the ether of the internet (or perhaps it's a series of tubes - I've heard that's what it is), came an wonderful two sided hit produced by our friends at Film City. Since this was offered up by a correspondent, and is not from my collection, I don't have label scans, but I think the material itself will prove its worth.
And I'll leave it to each of you to determine if you deem this a song-poem. As it is sung by a child, and written by another person with the same last name, it seems likely that this was written by the singer's parent, or at least a family member, and then produced by the fine folks at Film City, in what seems to have been one of their last releases (#4091, in a series that is not known to have run beyond #4200, to my knowledge).
So was it a song-poem in the sense that someone at Film City wrote the music, or is it not so much, in that perhaps they only arranged the backing for a song which was already fully written? There's really no way to tell, I suppose.
Both sides are quite well done, but while one song is better suited for today (being a Christmas song), I'm going to lead to the one I much prefer, which would be a better fit in two weeks, given that it's a look back at a year which is about to end.
The singer is Beth-Anne Haves, accompanied, of course, by the Film City Orchestra (aka The Chamberlin, very likely operated by Rodd Keith). I really enjoy "I Liked the Old Year", both because I enjoy hearing untrained, naturally on-key kids singing as much as just about anything in the world, and also because the lyric is inspired. While a few of the lines sound nothing like anything a kid would say ("it gave me time to grow"), far more of them sound to me not only like a kid's thoughts, but exactly how a kid might phrase them. And on top of all that is the wonderful Chamberlin arrangement, featuring a variety of voicings, all of which fit the song perfectly:
The flip side, "Oh Dear Santa Claus", is bittersweet, and more than a bit maudlin, but still most excellent in arrangement and performance. Last Christmas was great, but daddy's has left the family in the time since, and all she wants is for him to return. Again, the wizardry on the Chamberlin stands out here.