Monday, 28 May 2012

Snips N' Snails Sugar & Spice - Peter McLean (1973)

Snips N' Snails Sugar & Spice is another Australian children's folk record from the seventies. This one is by folk singer Peter McLean on whom I can find little to no information. All I can really deduce about the guy is that he either had a lot of money to spend on this record, or he was friends with some very good musicians; amongst the many players on the album are names such as Errol Buddle and Warren Daly. He also had the budget to put a lovely colour booklet as part of the cover featuring the lyrics and pictures of adorable children wearing very seventies clothing.

Although I was a little put off by the lyrical content at first - outside of it's original context, this whimsical seventies artefact can seem a little creepy - the quality of production, arrangement and the songs themselves are really very good. Like Shirley Jacobs, McLean inserts a little of that famous seventies social consciousness into some of the songs (although nowhere near to the degree of Jacobs). One of my favourite tracks 'If I Were A Child' contains the amusing refrain 'I'd wonder why they make me fight their dirty, stinkin' wars' delivered with utmost sincerity. The album also seems to have some connection with autistic children as there is a brief piece of text on the last page of the LP's booklet that mentions the Autistic Children's Association - although that's all it is, a mention, there's no further information or context, so who knows what McLean was trying to convey.

Occasionally embarrassing lyrical moments aside, this is a great children's folk record with strong melodies accompanied by a lot of instrumental layers; string sections, recorders, flutes, and choir vocals make this a very enjoyable listen.

Label: Cherry Pie
Released: 1973. I was able to work this out as one of the tracks 'Tom' was released as a single and is recorded as entering the charts at 48 in this year.
Players: Peter McLean - vocals
Peter Martin - electric guitar, acoustic guitars
Dave Ellis - bass
Jim Kelly - guitar
Warren Daly - drums
Dick Holland - electric piano
Lindsey Doyle - drums
John Harding, Cliff Hanney, Shirley Beauman, Nancy Clements, Janet Harvey, Francis Swales and John Lyle - violins
Nathan Waks, V. Vidler, Hans Gyors, Lal Kuring - cellos
Errol Buddle - concert flute, recorder
Col Loughnan - concert flute
Doug Foskett - alto flute
Dave Rutledge - alto flute
Warren Judd - baritone vocals
Ian Caldwell - tenor vocals
Lyndria Maywald - 2nd alto vocals
Lynne Martin - 1st alto vocals
Jan Judd - 1st soprano vocals
Jenny Parr - 2nd sopranos
Angela Cowl - 2nd sopranos


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting. Peter McLean became a singing teacher in Christchurch, New Zealand in the 1990's. I had the privilege of being taught by him in 1997. Would love to know where he is now.