Singing Wuenschel's (Sing Along With Cy????)
"LOOK, KIDS, I'M GONNA KEEP SINGING WITH YOU UNTIL YOU ALL GET HAIRCUTS...".
Here’s an ODD, UNIQUE LITTLE TREASURE. Hard to judge what this was gonna be when I found it. With a name like “The Singing Wuenschel’s” (what’s the apostrophe for, anyway?), and an old guy in a suit hanging out with kids - well, I figured it had “awful” written all over it. But before passing it over, I noticed all the kids were hippie-looking with guitars.... So I gave it a spin – turns out it’s a TOTALLY COOL, BIZARRE, JANGLY, LO-FI CHRISTIAN mostly ACOUSTIC FOLK-ROCK and FOLK-PSYCH VANITY CUSTOM PRESS by OBSCURE family band! So obscure, I couldn’t find any mention of the family (let alone the band) in any guides or on the ‘Net – and even dad's (Cy Wuenschel’s) name only appears once on Google.
This thing drips with CHARM, top to bottom. First, the title - what exactly IS the title?? The spine just says "The Singing Wuenschel's", but the labels read "Introducing The Singing Wuenschel's". Then, the top of the back cover shows "Sing Along With Cy and the SINGING WUENSCHEL'S". So who knows what the title is.
Next, the cover – love the hippie kids, contrasted with their dad, Cy (bottom right) in dress pants and jacket; plus the typos and bios on back. And speaking of the family – not only do we see the kids’ names are as biblical as you can get, we learn all about them from the bios (despite most of them looking like druggies, they probably didn’t have time to use between church, school and musical activities...). Maybe the hippie look comes from dad in his youth - he did get his Masters of Theology from a seminary in Berkeley, after all - and he also studied choral conducting in college, has performed with several light-opera groups, was musical director for several parishes, and even was a member of the prestigious Mendelssohn Choir in Pittsburgh.
Which brings us to the music - family bands almost always are charming and sincere, but this one’s more than most. Nice jangly, lo-fi recording gives it an ethereal, almost eerie quality. The songs are by Joe Wise, Ray Repp, Shel Silverstein, Dick Holler, etc. (As an added bonus, the back cover correctly identifies Dick Holler as composer of “Abraham, Martin and John”; but the label actually identifies the song title as “Dick Holler”!!! Talk about your homemade DIY blunders!). Songs are presented straightforward and unembellished and often in unison – sometimes haunting and stunning, sometimes strained – but always loaded with love. Most tunes feature the kids, either as lead or blending with Cy; and that’s a good thing, because Cy is like a fifth wheel here – with his background, you’d think he could carry a tune - but no matter, there’s enough love (and kids’ voices) to go around to cover up that little fact. Just A TOTALLY CHARMING LITTLE TREASURE!
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