Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hap Palmer - Walter The Waltzing Worm - 1982

Picked up this record a while back not knowing anything about Hap Palmer. I just knew i loved the cover and the thought of a song about a waltzing worm sent my mind spinning.

As you might have guessed Hap Palmer writes children's songs. And some of them are quite catchy. I did a little research into Hap and found that he is still actively performing. In fact he's got some performances coming up here in the LA area. Check out his website fir details.

Hap studied music in school and while working at the Hollywood YMCA began singing folk songs for kids. He tried his hand at writing songs for adults, but found that writing for children was far more liberating. When you think about it is quite true. Most pop songs are only about a couple topics. Falling in love and breaking up. Sure there are a few other topics like partying or social issues, but you don't hear many songs about worms or parts of you body (unless is it breasts or booties). The one biography I read inferred that one of the innovations Hap brought to his children's song writing was to write songs that incorporated movement for the kids. He figured why fight against a child's need to move. Use that energy to get them involved in the song. My gut tells me that he wasn't the first to think of this, but he has obviously been successful with the formula.

This record sounds like an 80's record (lots of cheap synths) and I would have bet dollars to dimes that this would be out of print, but it isn't. You can find new and used copies on Amazon and I bet Hap is hocking them on his website too.

So if you are going to check out these tracks, you of course must check out "Walter the Waltzing Worm". Also the opening track "What A Miracle" and "A Genius Of Course" are quite catchy too. I also like some of the songs about jumping and stretching and such near the end. The music though is sooooo cheeseball. Reminds me of walking by the old organ stores that were in malls in the late 70's and early 80's with the guy playing along with programed rhythms at the front of the store.

The last comment I want to make about the album is about the last track. It kind of stands out as a real misfit. It doesn't sound like a children's song at all. It gets real dissonant and after the main part with lyrics it sounds more like a soundtrack to a thriller from the 70's. I can't imagine what a kid thought when listening to this record. You have all these upbeat songs about twisting and jumping and moving and then at the very end it gets super dark like you're watching a Hitchcock or perhaps even a David Lynch movie. Strange. But it's yet another reason to check this out.



01 What A Miracle.m4a
02 Walter Te Waltzing Worm.m4a
03 A Genius Of Course.m4a
04 Slide Whistle Suite.m4a
05 Flick A Fly.m4a
06 Song About Fast, Song About Slow.m4a
07 Swing, Shake, Twist and Stretch.m4a
08 All The Ways Of Jumping Up And Down.m4a
09 Surprise Song.m4a

Hap Palmer - Walter The Waltzing


BigBirdFan said...

Can you please re-upload this one? Thanks. Bob

BigBirdFan said...

Can you please re-upload this one? Thanks. Posted again sorry I wanted to be sure to get follow up comments e mailed to me. Bob

Spencer said...

I just reconnected the link to the zip file. I'll leave it up for a few days. Let me know when you get it if you can.