Dream Lake Ukelele Band

Dream Lake Ukulele Band is a Lost in the Grooves exclusive. Click to sample the music or purchase.

Dream Lake Ukulele Band
Dream Lake Ukulele Band
(Crest, 1976)

What do you get when you cross twenty-seven ukuleles, a Little Marcy record, and the Langley Schools Music Project? The result is a bizarre hybrid called the Dream Lake Ukulele Band, a Florida school group whose performances are documented on Crest Records, a New York vanity label. The back cover shows twenty-seven grade school aged students, all wearing white shirts and red vests, the boys also wearing neckties. Sound boring? Not when every kid is smiling and holding a ukulele.

The lead-off, “There’s So Many, Many Ways,” is one of the more charming Christian songs around, but I’m sure my opinion is altered by the sheer innocent joy of twenty-seven children’s voices singing in harmony while strumming their ukuleles. That spirit changes a bit though, when the songs veer off into the Bicentennial patriotic songs that fill the rest of Side 1. Such lyrics as "My Sunday school teacher loves me when I am never late" preceded by "God loves when I learn to shoot the gun" makes one wish that the band director would have been cool enough to be teaching the kids David Bowie songs.

Fortunately, Side 2 has the perfect antidote, for that is where the children present and sing their own original compositions. Compiled under headings such as "Wish Songs," "Name Songs," and "Music Songs," each features a progression of five to ten kids strumming and singing solo. These aren’t loud bratty kids singing "Tomorrow" at the top of their lungs, but more often small waif-like girls singing with very timid voices.  My heart melts whenever I hear one girl who sings, "I am Mary, I like to play the ukulele" or another girl whose verse starts by saying her parents are always busy, and then proceeds with "Daddy is a band director, Mommy is a piano teacher, I love them." This record is listed as being Volume Seven, which definitely makes me wish that I also had volumes One through Six. (Vern Stolz, from the book Lost in the Grooves)

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