Uncle Tom’s 80 Songs

I was fascinated by the fact that this one record boasts *80* musical stories, games, and songs. 80 seemed like an awful lot. Then I realized, it takes about 10 seconds to sing “London Bridge,” so it makes sense that each cut on this record contains 3-4 songs. Anyway, probably because of the short attention spans, Uncle Tom (though he always introduces himself as Uncle DON), introduces every track by saying something like “hello there, this is Uncle Don. Let’s sing a song today, shall we”? Maybe Mom played only one track for Timmy every day. Or, maybe kids forget what they’re doing over the course of 3 minutes. Who knows?

The thing that makes this entire record the aural equivalent of a giant “bad touch” to me, though, is how Uncle Tom/Don giggles semi-maniacally throughout and after each track. I can’t decide if he’s being held at gunpoint and trying really really hard to sound jovial, or if he’s just totally insane. I completely dig his use of the word “humdinger,” though. Plus, there’s a song called “I Love My Pussy,” but unfortunately, my record is way too warped to record it. This record is so warped, in fact, that I can’t play side 2 at all because the warping is so high the record doesn’t even touch the spindle on that side.

So, put yourself in the shoes of a child on a rainy day who enjoys reading books in your perfectly-styled hair and pajamas, surrounded by candelabras and sinister looking sock puppets. The scary thing is that I have the very book that the children are so intently looking at– it the ~some company you wouldn’t expect~’s (Firestone tires?) Treasury of Folk Songs. He’s on the page that’s “Joy To the World.” I know because we used to sing from that book all the time when I was a kid, and I was obsessed with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” probably because of its images of trampling grapes and its verse about “John Brown’s Body lies a mould’ring in the grave” (I was a morbid kid).

Look at the lower left-hand corner of the album cover. Santa Claus is embarassed by the fact that they say “cock”, “ass”, “gay” and “pussy” on this record more than on a whole season of South Park!

This track contains a fun little ditty about a man who gouged his eyes out on a thorn bush (Uncle Tom/Don explains why it’s funny at the end), a lesson in how domestic violence can be hilarious (as Punch and Judy have been demonstrating for hundreds of years), as well as a lengthy “This is the House that Jack Built”
domestic violence & other injuries

the Queen of Hearts tells children that stealing is wrong (“I Wouldn’t do that either, would you?”), while “The Sixpence” is a lesson in the joys of consumerism, matrimony, and fiscal responsiblity. Lastly, “The Vegetable Song” celebrates our unsung heroes– vegetables.
Materialism, singing to your food

This song is about “a funny little king” who lives on “Cannibal Isle.”
Margaret Mead is rolling over in her grave

A cool thing about this record is that each cut is *exactly* the same length:

He calls himself “Uncle Don” because that’s who he was. I used to have a 45 with “There Was a Man from Our Town,” which — even at age ten or so — I used to make fun of. And I reviled him as a fake, because I have an Uncle Don, and that wasn’t him.

This particular Uncle Don was a kiddie show host, and he’s most famous for something he probably never said. “This is your old Uncle Don saying ‘Goodnight’ — Goo-ood Ni-i-ight! We’re off? Good. That oughta hold the little bastards.” Demented ‘Blooper’ pixie Kermit Schafer thought this was a hilarious anecdote, so when he issued records of famous bloopers, he included a studio recreation of it by a soundalike. U.D. denied ever saying it, but thousands of people who bought the album (strenuously promoted on TV for what seemed like years) are convinced they heard him. I suppose he committed suicide by jumping into a bramble bush.

Damn. I haven’t heard “King of the cannibal island” since 5th grade. Damn.
Also, hangery wangery WTF?!?!