Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Singing Science

I found the most hilarious collection of songs today, available for free download here. Here's how the website introduction reads:

Singing Science Records

When I was a kid my parents got this six-LP set of science-themed folk songs for my sister and me. They were produced in the late 1950s / early 1960s by Hy Zaret and Lou Singer. Zaret's main claim to fame is writing the lyrics to the classic "Unchained Melody" for the 1955 movie "Unchained", later recorded by the Righteous Brothers and more recently used in "Ghost". Three of the albums (the best three in my opinion) were performed by Tom Glazer, semi-famous 1940s folk musician and somewhat of a lyricist himself (he wrote "On Top of Spaghetti").

The Singing Science lyrics were very Atomic Age, while the tunes were generally riffs on popular or genre music of the time. We played them incessantly.

In February 1998 I found the LPs in my parents' basement. I cleaned them up, played them one last time on an old turntable, and burned them onto a set of three CD-R discs. In December 1999 I read the songs back off the CDs and encoded them into MP3, so now you can hear them on the web. They are available at either 32 Kbps (about half a megabyte each) or 160 Kbps (about two megabytes each). The higher-quality MP3 versions were encoded by Ron Hipschman.

These are among the cheesiest songs I think I have ever heard, but the tunes are catchy and my daughter, of course, is absolutely eating them up. My son, on the other hand, is asking me to turn down the volume so his own music in his bedroom will effectively drown them out.

My fellow fans of They Might Be Giants will instantly recognize the one about the sun (rememember...The sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace...)

I'm totally digging on this collection and, much to my son's dismay, will probably play them often.

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