Way Out Wednesday: The Peter Pan Pop Singers and Orchestra, “The Unicorn”

Written by Music, Way Out Wednesday

As you can see, this children’s album is performed by the Peter Pan Pop Singers and Orchestra, as opposed to just the Peter Pan Singers and Orchestra. I’m not sure when this came out. I’m thinking around 1969-1970 judging by some of the songs on here. So how does the pop version of the Peter Pan singers handle current hits for their young audience? By turning everything into a march. How well does it work? Well, take a listen and decide for yourself.

The first song we’ll feature is the title tune “The Unicorn,” made famous by the Irish Rovers. These guys score extra points for not trying to do phony Irish accents (as I’ve heard in other remakes of this song), and distance themselves even more from the original by having a woman sing the lead.

The Unicorn

Now here’s a song where the march tempo doesn’t really work as well, “Green Tambourine.” They also take out all the psychedelic trappings of the Byrds’ version of the song and add some jazz harmonies. The result sounds all right in an Up with People sort of way, but it pretty much strips the feeling out of the song.

Green Tambourine

In the same vein, here’s “The Mighty Quinn,” a hit for Manfred Mann written by Bob Dylan. Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Dylan has said the song’s title refers to Anthony Quinn, who played an Eskimo in the movie The Savage Innocents. Here’s another little tidbit for you: marching in snow can cause an avalanche.

The Mighty Quinn

A song that they should have known mustn’t be marched to: “Waltzing Matilda.” Although, come to think of it, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard “Waltzing Matilda” performed in 3/4 time. Dang, are you telling me I might have learned something from the Peter Pan Pop Singers and Orchestra?

Waltzing Matilda

Let’s end the festivities with an old song that became popular again for Tiny Tim, “Tip Toe Thru the Tulips.” If you don’t care for the falsetto voice of Tiny Tim, you might actually like this version better. But as with these other songs, there isn’t any tiptoeing going on here!

Tip Toe Thru the Tulips

And I couldn’t stop without calling your attention to this album cover. Is that not just the saddest picture you ever saw? Anyway, if you’d like to hear the rest of this album, you can find it here. I hope these selections helped you get your Sousa on. See you next time!