Thursday, June 25, 2009

School's out completely

So that’s it – school’s out forever. Our son took the last of his ‘A’ level exams yesterday (a Maths extension paper, for three hours it was just him and the invigilator in a large exam hall). Our daughter is a bit older and already two years through University.

I can’t believe both our children are now through the school system. It seems like yesterday that we were walking them to primary school for the first time and full of the hopes and fears that I’m sure all parents have for their children as they enter school. Looking back, my school years seemed to go on forever (and were mostly enjoyable). I’m sure our children feel the same way. But as parents that time has gone in a flash, just another example I suppose of how time seems to speed up as one gets older.

In the circumstances this single from Cindy & Playmates picks itself due to the title. I bought this back in the 70s and for years have known nothing about it. I was guessing that it dated to about 1972 but then read this from the Numero Group’s notes on their “Home Schooled” compilation, discussing producer Jim Porter (ah – so Jay Pee) which may date it as early as 1969:

... 1969, he issued a crop of singles on his Jay Pee label, including a funky reworking of “Here’s Some Dances,” awash in kid-breaks and eerie vocal lifts. As the group grew locally, New York’s Perception label took note and eventually purchased their contract from Porter. The move spelled the end of their playing days as Perception brought in a team of session men for their only album. This same fate would bestow the Jacksons upon arrival at Motown. The LP and ensuing singles charted decently, but the Sudduth and Gogins family stopped short of pulling their kids out of school to take them to the next level. Years later Wendell would comment, “It was for the best, I think. I got to play baseball and be a normal kid. Michael didn’t.”
At the same time that Jim Porter was reconfiguring the Soul Impacts, he was also dabbling in a pre-teen girl group across town. Cindy & the Playmates, led by Cindy Redd (later of the Voices) and backed by Wanda Cunningham and Manesbia Pierce issued two singles on Jay Pee while in their early teens. “Now That School Is Through” is a classic kid concept song, yet still strong enough to have post-adolescent appeal. The uncredited male during the fade out captures the sentiment perfectly with “I think I’m just… just gonna lay around… take it easy.”

“Now That School Is Thru” may not be the greatest single ever made but it has a quirky charm. On the other hand The Dells “All About The Paper” is a bona fide classic. Its lyrics make it appropriate here too. Also, our son has been listening to the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show a lot recently whilst revising and this song was a stand out for him recently.

Cindy & The Playmates – Now That School Is Thru (mp3) 197?

The Dells – All About The Paper (mp3) 1980

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