First, I wanted to point out to anyone who read my previous post, about the mysterious rock and roll songs, thall ALL of them have been identified. The updated post can be found here. And now, on with the countdown:
I was lucky enough to come across this album last year, the locally produced soundtrack to a show held at Stanford in 1968, and titled "Spring Sing: 'The Rights of Spring'". In different ways, this album is entertaining, eye-opening and not much short of astonishing.
I was only seven in the spring of 1968, but with the history I'm aware of, it seems likely to me that, aside from perhaps the first three weeks of that season, it was not a very happy, lighthearted spring season. No doubt the murder of Dr. King on April 4 of that year more than took the wind out of the country's sails.
And yet here we have the recorded evidence of a celebratory college show, held at Stanford that Spring. My strong guess is that it took place after Dr. King's death and most likely after the most extreme of the reactions and fallout from that event (given that most schools hold an even of this type close to the end of the semester), and if that's the case, I find the lighthearted nature of much of this material more than a little surprising. The bottom line is that I found myself listening to this album just short of shocked at how little it seems to reflect the issues of the day.
Well, now, not all issues. The first track, "We've Got Trouble" contains some biting words about the privilege of being White, and makes several jabs at this and related issues, so clearly the problems of the day were not unknown to these young people.
The other issue touched on, though, in several tracks, is the relationship between the sexes on campus. While the soon-to-be coming of co-ed dorms is excitedly mentioned multiple times, I was more taken with the tracks which casually, with attempted good humor and complete acceptance, make light of the possibility of co-eds getting drunk and being taken advantage of, or just in general the question of when and how will the lovely young lady get home. And this occurs without critical comment in songs by both men and women's groups on the album. Looked at through today's lens, I can't imagine that these songs would have made it into the show in these forms, or that if they somehow did, heads wouldn't have rolled the next day.
That's not to say that this album is a horror of unabashed sexism and cluelessness, just that nearly half the time, there seems to be only one thought on the performers' minds, and it is expressed in a way that I don't think would fly today. There are plenty of nice moments, funny moments and enjoyable musical moments here. On the other hand, there are a few straight numbers, uniformly dull and uninspired (one is labeled "Renditions of Simon and Garfunkel", but could have just as well be labeled "Sounds of Silence" as that's all it is).
A few other notes: The track "My Lord and Master" is the second track on side two, as indicated on the label, and not the fourth track, as indicated on the cover. And there is no mention of the little speech the ends the album, on the cover or the label. What's odd here is that the person speaking seems to be introducing the next act as he finishes speaking, except that.... that's where the album ends!
Here are the covers and the labels:
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